Welcome to Vanguard Behavioral Health Consultant’s first blog. By way of introduction, my name is James Wagley and I have been practicing social work for the past 39 years in Arkansas, Georgia and now back in my home state of Louisiana. I began my journey as a client back in the 60s and became interested in social work when I was a freshman in college. My first job in the field was director of a walk-in positive alternative center for at-risk youth. I knew that I had a calling to help people but truly did not have a clue about how to pull it off. I did have a desire to learn and many excellent teachers and mentors along the way. Since that early start on my path as a helper I have been blessed to work in some wonderful programs and have learned from some of the best in the field. My experience includes outpatient, day treatment, group homes, long term psychiatric residential, acute hospitalization, state youth serving agencies and schools, grant writing, program development, consultation and training.
For the past 16 years I worked in a rural school system where I was fortunate to be able to design and manage after-school programs, Coordinated School Health, School-based Behavioral Health, multi-system human service centers and Comprehensive Learning Supports, a program designed by the UCLA Mental Health Project. During this 16 years, I was able to rub shoulders some of the most skilled, compassionate and accessible behavioral health professionals that I have had the good fortune to work with during my entire career . As we worked together to develop a full continuum of care for our little “flock” of children, youth and families residing in a rural parish in Northwest Louisiana, we often discussed, dreamed and planned to unite as a team to meet the needs of clients, their families, the agencies and communities that make up the context of our neighbor’s lives.
Through my experience with children, youth families and adults, I have come to adopt a set of assumptions about human beings. First, human behavior is determined by the context in which it resides. This includes the social milieu, the individual’s mental processes and the individual’s ability to observe those processes and make choices that lead to a meaningful life. Secondly, all behavior has a purpose. We don’t always know what that purpose is, but as we gain awareness we are able to meet our needs through behavior that works for us. Thirdly, symptoms are generally our attempt to solve problems brought on by life’s stressors. Finally, we are all parts of a whole; body, mind, spirit, residing in a soup of family, neighborhood and community. All parts are connected and can be leveraged to help us maintain optimum health and wellbeing. We all are on a journey in this life and we all have values that guide us on our path. At times we get thrown off the trail by events that may cause us pain. Often we lose our bearings and what is truly important to us. As we try to avoid the inevitable pain of life’s “slings and arrows” some of our solutions cause us to suffer. In this life pain is inevitable but suffering is optional.
The helpers at Vanguard are here to facilitate your getting reconnected with your values and back on your life path. What is interesting about this process is that as helpers, we have to “show up” in the present moment and work with our own issues if we are to be present with those who walk in our door for guidance.
The Professional Team at Vanguard has a wide range of experience and interest in working with children, youth, individuals, families, groups and organizations to assist folks in staying on their path to a meaningful life. Check out our website at www.vanguardbhc.com, call us at (318)517-6222, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or just show up.