Lori Harris, MSW, LSW
As a Therapist at Empowered Hearts and Minds Counseling & Psychotherapy, I provide trauma and family systems informed counseling for individuals and families.
My previous clinical experience includes working in community mental health with a diverse group of clients addressing issues such as depression, anxiety, trauma, life transitions, and grief. My experience also includes substance use/abuse treatment, working with both 12 Step Programs and medication assisted treatment programs (methadone, Suboxone, etc.). I trained as a Clinician at the Addiction Institute of Mount Sinai providing individual and group counseling in their opioid treatment program. My post graduate training and certifications are in the areas of Trauma/PTSD treatment, grief companioning and Complicated Grief, disaster mental health, family systems theory and family mediation. My clinical interests include co-treatment of trauma and addiction; understanding intergenerational trauma; and supporting the challenges individuals and families encounter due to death or divorce, including remarried families (stepfamilies, “blended” families, etc.).
I obtained my Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from Fordham University in 2013. Counseling is a mid-life career for me. My previous work history includes management and leadership roles in not-for-profit and business. I view my diverse professional background and life experience as an advantage, enabling me to appreciate the wide variety of professional and personal opportunities and challenges that clients confront in their everyday lives. My clinical interest in the field of trauma began when I worked as an administrator in the earliest days of the 9/11 recovery effort. I gained additional insight during my many years as a volunteer advocate for sexual assault victims/survivors. These experiences inspired me to pursue my graduate degree in clinical social work. I chose the social work profession because of the profession’s commitment to high ethical standards and evidence-based practice. Also, in clinical social work, the client is respected as their own “expert” who determines their own course. In other words - it’s absolutely your ship, it’s my job to help you navigate it.
Prior to joining Empowered Hearts and Minds, I was the Program Director for VOICES of September 11th. I oversaw case management, clinical programs, and CDC funded outreach focused on meeting the long-term needs of 9/11 families, survivors, and first responders. I provided training on traumatic grief and disaster mental health and presented at NJVOAD and NJEPA Conferences on the long-term needs of trauma victims and on mitigating vicarious trauma for staff and for first responders. I grew up in a family of firefighters and appreciate the unique culture of the first responder (and military) community. I hope to continue in private practice supporting this community (and/or family members) with the challenges of operational and post-traumatic stress and issues including substance use/abuse, relationship issues, depression, anxiety and/or avoidance, and disability.
In addition to clinical work, I volunteer as a grief group facilitator for a NJ based organization providing support services to grieving children. I also volunteer as a Confidential Sexual Assault Advocate and Board Member for Family Service League/SAVE of Essex County. And, if I’m not working or training or volunteering? I’m on the beach, on a boat, or staying up too late watching a classic film.