Liza Gold is a New York-based clinical social worker, currently working at Comprehensive Therapeutic Services as the Clinical Supervisor & Operations Manager.
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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I work as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a background in Psychology and Social Work. Although my practice is clinical in nature, a social work background has shone a light into environmental and societal factors that contribute to individual wellbeing and distress.
Upon completion of my Masters degree, I faciliated group therapy at an outpatient substance abuse treatment program, and then transitioned to the outpatient behavioral health facility of a New York City hospital.
At present, I work for a large private practice, Comprehensive Therapeutic Services, where I not only serve as a clinician but also as a Clinical Supervisor and Operations Manager. In that respect, I fulfill both clinical and administrative duties.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
Life has been altered radically since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and I’ve had the fortune to be able to work from home. As you ask about a “recent” workday, I’ll open a window into what that looks like.
Yesterday, I “met” with six patients, some via Zoom and others via the telephone, whichever they prefer. I had my first patient at 8:40am, and my last of the day at 2:00pm. I then hosted a Zoom meeting for a young therapist I supervise.
Typically, these meetings would happen face-to-face, in a comfortable office setting. I also participated in a couple of calls with coworkers in upper management to brainstorm ways that we can improve upon working conditions for other clinicians working from home. We want to ensure that our staff feels heard and supported.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Absolutely. In fact, I typically see patients only two days each week, and work from home the other three days. Because much of my work is administrative, I can comfortably work remotely.
I love the balance this creates, as I thoroughly enjoy seeing patients in the office, but I also take pleasure in working from the comfort of my own home.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Work-life balance is something I consistently strive for, and I’m satisfied thus far with my ability to achieve it.
As a mental health practitioner, we face the risk of burn-out, or compassion fatigue, and I feel largely safeguarded from these problems because my clinical caseload is balanced out with other professional responsibilities.
Additionally, I work with an exceptional supervisor, and her support and guidance has been instrumental. Social workers are well acquainted with the term “self-care,” and we’re taught early in our education to incorporate it with regularity into our lives.
In essence, we’re taught that the degree we can care for ourselves is commensurate with our capacity to help others, and I closely abide by this principle. To that end, work-life balance is a top priority. I’m either in work mode, or self-care mode.
5) What do you think are some of the best habits or routines that you’ve developed over the years to help you achieve success in your life?
That’s a great question, and I suppose it’s helpful to define success: professional success? Interpersonal success? Financial success? I feel successful insofar as my career is rewarding and my home life is rich.
I am passionate about my work, and I’m grateful to have a loving husband, supportive family, and wonderful circle of close friends. Others may define success differently than I do, because I prefer to reflect and ask myself: am I content? If I can answer yes, then to me, this feels like success.
As for habits and routines, I never procrastinate, and I have a system for everything I do, from the gym to grocery shopping to staying in touch with loved ones to completing work-related tasks. I’m a list-maker, and it’s always served me well.
I wake up early because I’m someone who needs and benefits from a leisurely morning (I’m talking sitting on the couch and watching the news for an hour with a cup of hot coffee). This grounds and centers me, and prepares me for the day ahead.
I also exercise regularly, as I believe it is critical for mental health.
6) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?
The first book that comes to mind is The Road Less Traveled, by Scott M. Peck. Although originally published in the late 1970s, it remains a bestseller, and it’s a goldmine rife with wisdom and critical life insights.
7) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
Self-care! Every day, I strive to fit in as much self-care activity as possible.
Yesterday, between patients, I exercised for 15-minute intervals. I read fiction, I try new recipes, I mindlessly browse the Internet, I educate myself on new subjects, I call family members, I reach out to friends, I review vocabularly words that I don’t want to forget.
The list is endless, but when I practice self-care, I endeavor to do things that bring me joy.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
I have tremendous respect for successful businesswomen. I’d be curious to read interviews by Oprah, Arianna Huffington, or Sheryl Sandberg.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
It’s a luxury not everybody has to enjoy work, and I encourage those who are unhappy to determine what they might need to feel more satisfied. I also encourage people to soak as much joy out of life as they can, when they aren’t working. Life is short!
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