The wonderful Shalanda Williams recently joined the Triad team. Shalanda is a graduate of West Point and was honorably discharged from the Army in 2020. Driven with a passion for helping others, she obtained her counseling degree from Liberty University in 2023. Shalanda is a Christian Counselor, specializing in addiction and substance abuse therapies, as well as helping veterans transition from military to civilian life. To introduce her to the community, I sat down with her to talk about her work.
Dave: So what drove you to go from the military into counseling?
Shalanda: Counseling was something I was always interested in doing, even before entering the military. While I was in, I enjoyed my duties as a logistician, but knew that it was not something I would like to do long term. I much preferred the one-on-one aspect and the ability to help and encourage my peers and subordinates alike to go above and beyond. Once I left the military, I finally decided to pursue my counseling degree with the support of my family.
Dave: Why is substance abuse a specialty?
Shalanda: In reality, my initial desire was to work almost exclusively with families. However, I know that it was not a coincidence that at the point when I needed to find an internship, the only available position that met all my university requirements was at a substance abuse treatment center. I took the position with some apprehension, but quickly grew to love it and the clients I worked with. My clients became my teachers as I learned about humanity’s undying need for connection, and how a sincere connection is needed to help intercept and disrupt destructive cycles that have the potential to destroy generations. To have the privilege of connecting with others at such a critical point in their lives ignited a passion within me that I did not know was there. I felt as if I had tapped into my purpose. While addictions are complex and unique to each individual, there are always common patterns. These common patterns generally emerge in early childhood, whether it be environmental, behavioral, spiritual, or genealogical. Thus, discovering and exploring these patterns are the crux of my approach.
Dave: Tell me about your desire to help veterans transition back to civilian life?
Shalanda: This one hits close to home, as when I think about it, I also see myself. After being discharged from active duty in 2020, I really struggled to connect with others and build my own community. I searched, but often found only fleeting moments of fulfillment outside of spending time with family and talking with my friends who were still in active duty. It wasn’t until late 2022 did I feel as if I was finally beginning to settle in, thanks to a new friend of mine who introduced me to the church I now call home. A few months after joining my church, I was blessed to find an advertisement for Triad Psych, to which I quickly applied, and here I am. Therefore, my desire to help other veterans transition is born from my own journey.
Dave: Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself?
Shalanda: Not about myself, but I would like to address the readers. Since my short time at Triad thus far, I have seen a spectrum of different concerns ranging from substance abuse issues, depression, anxiety, suicidal ideations, etc, and one of the main things I recommend upfront is for clients to begin to SPEAK LIFE to themselves, their circumstances, and their situations. We often start from a position of defeat simply by what we daily confess about ourselves, often without even realizing it. I encourage and challenge every reader to be more mindful and intentional about how they talk about themselves and others. You are already victorious, now you just have to walk in it.