Interview with new faculty member Cathann Dragone-Gutierrez

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Interview with new faculty member Cathann Dragone-Gutierrez

Alex Thomas, Writer

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Cathann Dragone-Gutierrez is a new counsellor in the 10/12 division, working alongside Dr. Soisson and Mr. Marcus to help maintain the mental health and well-being of the Albuquerque Academy community. The Advocate interviewed her to learn more about her and how she’s enjoying her job.

Interviewer: So what are your first impressions of academy?

Dragone-Gutierrez: I am struck by the students, by their ability to articulate what’s happening to them, what they need what’s going on, the issues of today, how they are managing it, by their sense of self and how they’re doing at this stage of life

I: And how are you liking our campus?

D-G: I was joking that one of our really smart tech students that they need to fix the path, and the day that it was raining pretty hard I. did have some trouble getting to lunch without getting soaked.

I: What did you do before coming to work at Academy

D-G: Public schools 14 years Mostly elementary and middle exciting to work in high school, clinical director of an agency where I worked with families and children of all ages, supervised therapists and ran a division of the agency.

I: After being here awhile, what do you think are some problems you’ve met while adjusting to academy?

D-G: I wouldn’t say its a problem but about this era, I just want to make sure that I’m really current with the most up to date ways with helping older adolescents. So I’ve been taking various webinars online and I’m enhancing my skills around helping students with things around anxiety and depression.

I: How has the way kids cope with issues changed?

Its changed because we know more about neuroscience and what our brains need to regulate, so were not separate people were all one so the way we regulate our body our mind impacts all of our development. Whereas back a decade ago I don’t think we had the same neuroscience backing up how to treat anxiety like how we do today. So it’s not really the students that have changed it’s more the approach and our understanding that has really developed over the last decade.

I: What scares you about being here at academy? Especially as a counselor?

D-G: What scares me. My first thought is I won’t know how, the student won’t disclose or let me know how serious things are for them and I’ll miss it and I’ll miss something. So that’s intimidating, and umm I think with that comes a lot of ethical decision making in my role right, like someone in my position considering what to do in my position when I have a gut instinct that things are more serious than the student is disclosing, do I risk potentially hurting my relationship with the student by deciding that this is one of those times when I do need to break confidentiality because I think there’s a safety issue or do i withhold it because I think it can be an ethical challenge, it’s a real ethical challenge. And there’s ramifications no matter what you do, you have to accept that either way there’s some ramifications to what you do. As far as physical safety I feel this is a great place for physical space and I try not to rely on that too much, I think that that’s all how we all cope, I mean we’ve had what? 307 mass shootings in 311 days so I think we’re all coping by minimizing at this point.

I: And how do you find the staff here?

D-G: Honestly it has been a really easy and welcoming transition, from the first meeting i had with them first interview it has been very comfortable we were laughing joking, Mrs. Lenhart I find to be very personable and funny and really connected to both the staff and students so overall i feel extremely welcome and everyone has been really warm and friendly.