In working to fulfill the commitment for additional mental health services, Grinnell Regional Mental Health added two new counselors to the team. Jan L. Walker, LISW, clinical social worker, and Beth M. Gallegos, LISW, clinical social worker, recently began providing care at the mental health clinic.
Walker brings 23 years of experience in the mental health field to the Grinnell clinic. She most recently counseled patients at River Hills Community Health Center, in Ottumwa. Her work experiences include positions with the State of Iowa, Johnson County Mental Health Services, Crisis Intervention Services, and Ottumwa Regional Health Care.
Her education background includes a BA in social work from Clarke College in Dubuque, and a master’s in social work from the University of Northern Iowa.
Walker grew up in southwest Minnesota, in the town of Wabasso. She shares her interest in social work.
“I believe people can heal from all kinds of hurts (the resiliency of people),” Walker says. “Sometimes people just need another caring nonjudgmental individual to walk alongside them for a while and perhaps give a different perspective on their life. Or, they may need someone to assist in building new skills and strategies.”
In the clinic, Walker uses cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, narrative therapy, and play and art therapy techniques when appropriate.
“Within play therapy, there is a subsection of sand tray therapy that is useful with those who are interested, not only children. I work with a variety of individuals from ages 3 to 103.” Walker adds, “I love that GRMC is dedicated to providing mental health care along with medical care, treating the whole person is so important.”
Walker and her husband, Lee, live in Barnes City. They enjoy being in the timber and caring for their cats. She also enjoys decorating, cooking, and music.
Gallegos brings 24 years of social work experience to the Grinnell Regional Mental Health Clinic. She moved to Grinnell from LaCrescenta, Calif., where she has provided management of a school based counseling program with Foothill Family Services in Pasadena. The majority of her two decades of experience has been working with children, adolescents, and young adults, but also has worked with adults and families. She also has experience and training in working with adoptions and foster care.
Gallegos earned her master’s in social work from the University of Southern California – Los Angeles, and a bachelor’s degree from California State University – San Bernardino. Her life experiences help shape her practice. She was born in Seoul, South Korea, as her father was a missionary, and moved to the Chicago area when she was 7 years old. Her family moved to Southern California where she has resided until recently.
“I wanted to explore social work after reading about Jane Addams and her work in Chicago during my high school days,” Gallegos says. “I believe that we are all in a constant state of growth and development and I learn from everyone with whom I have contact. My philosophy is also based on the concept that challenges are based on unmet needs and together we strive to find ways to meet those needs.”
Gallegos became interested in Grinnell when her daughter came to Grinnell College. She explains, “We seriously started considering life in Grinnell after visiting here and moving our daughter here. This community has so much to offer. When I learned of the open position on the GRMC website, I felt it was a great match.”
When not working she spends time with her family, which includes her husband, Carlos, and their two daughters. She enjoys being part of their activities and supporting their interests. She also enjoys gardening, baking, and traveling.
For more information about Grinnell Regional Mental Health Clinic, call 641-236-2347.