Hi, my name is Bonnie Leggo. I’m an LCSW and a CSAC, a Gottman Educator, an endurance cyclist, an on again off again yogi (when schedules allow) and, last but not least, a mom and wife.
The term LCSW, or Licensed Clinical Social Worker, denotes a mental health provider who renders services to children and adolescents, adults, and older adults. We are required to have a master’s degree from an accredited school of social work and two years of postgraduate work experience in a supervised clinical setting. After the work experience is satisfied, we are able to sit for a second examination in our state. This exam is similar to the test given to Licensed Professional Counselors. The difference is that LCSWs take a second exam after our two years of clinical experience is completed.
LCSWs are trained in therapeutic theories, much like graduate students in Psychology or other Human Services tracks. An important aspect of our training focuses on the NASW Code of Ethics, “intended to serve as a guide to the everyday professional conduct of social workers.” We’ve learned about the profession’s mission, core values, recognizing ethical issues in practice, and finally, the principles that guide our practice. I am proud to be a social worker, and to have earned my LCSW in the state of Wisconsin.
I’ve been working with individuals and families for about twenty years, initially as an intern working with the Philadelphia Committee to End Homelessness and Philadelphia’s Department of Human Services, with families working to maintain custody of their children. My early professional experience working in child welfare, both as an intern and after graduation, motivated me to learn more about the effect of trauma in its many forms on both parents and children. This is when my interest in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) began.
Since moving to Wisconsin in 2003, I’ve worked in a residential treatment facility for women and children in Milwaukee called Meta House, as well as Aurora’s Dewey Center with adults and adolescents. Before beginning a private practice, I also worked in West Bend, with adults seeking mental health or AODA therapy. I was also offered the opportunity to work with youth in the Washington County Jail. I was trained in EMDR throughout 2014, attending two weekend trainings as well as participating in ten consultations with an EMDRIA consultant. Mindfulness is an interest of mine, and I find that visualizations and “calm place” exercises first learned in EMDR can be helpful for many people, not just those dealing with a history of trauma. I have not experienced a therapy that effects change the way that EMDR does, especially for acute trauma.
I became more interested in working with moms (and partners of moms) after becoming pregnant with my daughter. Words can’t touch the changes inherent in the process as a woman becomes a mother in pregnancy. Hormonally, emotionally, socially, physically, professionally.. My first extended trip away from my daughter at 7 months old was to attend the Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders Training offered in the Midwest once annually by Postpartum Support International. They offer a great deal of online (and warm line) help for women both pregnant and postpartum.
Recognizing that men are not excluded from many of these changes in their own lives was something I learned through experience, watching my husband and my best friend both deal with becoming expectant fathers at the same time. Recognizing the need for support for dads motivated me to seek out training through the Gottman Institute. For more information, you can click on the Bringing Baby Home tab on the header menu. I’ve also blogged about my experience at the training on this site.
I am passionate about working with adults – with or without children – to help rediscover strengths and resiliencies and to rely upon them to do the hard work that change can require. I have witnessed profound courage and change in the people I have been fortunate to work alongside of. Deciding to enter therapy requires courage. Learning from experience asks for genuine commitment to ourselves and offers tremendous growth. Making the choice to take care of yourself is the first step on the path of growth.