Clinical Services Changes
An Important Note from Michelle Garcia Winner (founder of Social Thinking®) and the TSSV Board of Directors
What’s happening with Social Thinking Clinical Services provided through TSSV?
Michelle’s response: Twelve years ago I started providing private clinical services for people with social learning challenges in Silicon Valley. My original clinic, Michelle Garcia Winner’s Center for Social Thinking, grew in size and became a training ground for talented clinicians who delivered top notch services related to my core teachings. In 1999 these concepts were in their infancy and my therapy and travel load was manageable. As Social Thinking became internationally known, I became swallowed by an intense travel schedule, book publishing responsibilities and my own clients’ needs, and realized that something needed to change. In 2008, with the help of Pamela Crooke, we launched a non-profit dedicated to the core principles of Social Thinking - Teach Social Silicon Valley (TSSV). I donated much of my original clinic to TSSV and then helped to financially support this group as they established themselves.
It has always been important for me to stay active as a therapist, but I also needed to be able to focus on the many other important parts of Social Thinking (i.e., workshops, consulting, educational materials and therapy services). This led me to develop a small training clinic near Santana Row with my two colleagues, Stephanie Madrigal and Pamela Crooke. This mini-clinic has been functioning as a training site for professionals from around the US and abroad. The long range plan was to have one larger clinic in the community where families and businesses could donate to a scholarship fund for those unable to access Social Thinking services in our community (TSSV) and a smaller training based clinic at my center (Santana Row). The hope was that these 2 clinics could function as separate but collaborative sites.
TSSV Board of Directors’ response: The TSSV Board and therapists have always been committed to maintaining a close-knit clinical collaboration with Michelle and her group at Social Thinking in Santana Row. Michelle has been available for ongoing training of our therapists and has been supportive as we’ve established into a nonprofit. Unfortunately, the demands and challenges of managing a large clinic have become overly challenging during the course of the past few years. We continue to be dedicated to the Mission of the organization, but have decided to shift our focus to fundraising for scholarships, educational materials, and family/professional support. Therefore, we have decided to remove the clinical services portion from under the TSSV non-profit umbrella.
Michelle’s response: The decision from the TSSV Board meant that the nonprofit clinic would need to either: 1) shut down, 2) restart and be absorbed into my mini-clinic, or 3) start-up as an independent clinic. This prompted me, and others dedicated to Social Thinking services, to “go back to the drawing board” to determine the best course of action for the community at large.
My conference and book publishing business as well as working in our own mini-clinic precludes me from feeling I can successfully once more own and manage the larger Stevens Creek clinic.
However, I have asked Randi Dodge to step into this position as clinic owner and manager. Randi, who I originally hired as a therapist in 2002, has not only been a long term employee dedicated to providing Social Thinking services, but has more recently been interim director of the nonprofit clinic. We also agreed that we would like our two clinics to collaborate seamlessly; allowing families to apply to both clinics simultaneously. Therefore we have developed a plan whereby my colleagues (Stephanie Madrigal and Pamela Crooke) and I will provide ongoing training and support for the therapists at the Stevens Creek location. This will allow for all of us to share the most current strategies, while also problem solving client concerns and appropriate group placement.
Beginning in Summer 2011 we will function as two sister clinics operating under one administrative services department. My mini-social thinking clinic (we only provide services to 50 clients), will be referred to as Social Thinking Santana Row (STSR) and the larger social thinking clinic, (which provides services to 250+ clients) will be referred to as Social Thinking Stevens Creek (STSC). Both clinics will remain at their current locations (see this letterhead for the addresses) and all information about the clinical services for both clinics will be available at my main website: www.socialthinking.com. Each clinic will run as an independent for-profit business, so payments will be made directly to the specific clinic where the client currently attends. However, only Social Thinking Center Stevens Creek will be working with children this summer. Those who are planning to attend this summer session, please expect a letter further explaining the change in clinic ownership, even though the services and clinical staff will remain exactly the same.
Our hope is that this blend will help minimize confusion about Social Thinking services in the area. Families will only need to fill out one application for both clinics and the website and phone number will be centralized. Parents or adult clients will sign paperwork for services at either clinic and parking is plentiful at both locations. If a client needs to change his/her clinical group, it will be easier to consider an opening at either clinic, etc.
We are all excited to bring you this new development and see this as a long term solution; as well as one that allows for the Stevens Creek clinic to develop a range of alternative services.
TSSV Board of Directors’ comments: We will continue to exist as a non-profit exclusively for the purpose of raising funds and providing scholarships for Social Thinking services provided by private practitioners in Silicon Valley. If you or anyone you know would like to donate money to help our many families afford services in these recessionary days, please visit the TSSV website: www.teachsocialsv.com