“It’s a Gift to be Here”: Tzipporah Gerson-Miller's JF&CS Journey

March 23, 2022

“It’s a Gift to be Here”: Tzipporah Gerson-Miller's JF&CS Journey

Tzipporah Gerson-Miller's journey at JF&CS began back in 2007 as an intern in clinical services. Tzipporah was pursuing a post graduate degree in expressive art therapy, and was immediately taken with the environment at JF&CS, sensing it was a place she would always want to return to. Over the next decade, Tzipporah would continue her schooling, earning her master's degree from the University of Georgia and becoming certified in yoga therapy.

Social work is a rewarding career that requires a lot of education and experience. You start by earning a bachelor’s degree in social work, and to work independently as a therapist, you have to follow a few more steps, which includes 3,000 hours of direct service work, a master’s degree from an accredited university, and earning a license. The license needs to be renewed every two years, and therapists also need to take 36 hours every two years of continued education courses.

“Part of why I love being a social worker is the challenge,” Tzipporah says. “I appreciate the challenge of complex cases. It’s an honor and a privilege to be trusted by people with their intimate stories, and to see people move from a place of deep suffering to a place of thriving. Being a social worker also keeps you grounded in reality; we see a lot of suffering, with a lot of the pain being universal. But we also get the see the inspiring resilience of the human spirit.”

During her time away from JF&CS and during her master’s program, she worked in the clinical field at many different places, including a domestic violence center, a hospice, and even a hospital. But her heart was always at JF&CS. In 2017, Tzipporah said she felt “ready to leave” her current position, as she felt she had gained a better sense of who she was as a professional and what she wanted to do. She reached out to a contact she had made at JF&CS back when she was an intern, hoping that there was an opening in their clinical department.

As luck would have it, there was an opening. And on January 2, 2018, Tzipporah began her position as a full-time clinician with the Shalom Bayit Program at JF&CS, a program that helps provide resources and support to those affected by domestic violence.

“I still remember the exact date that I started, because starting back at JF&CS felt like salvation,” Tzipporah says. “I felt safe, I felt seen, and I felt like I could do great work. I felt a level of stress that was lifted from my life, and I felt like I was home again.”

She says that social workers are more important than ever now today, and that there are many common misconceptions on how it works on a clinical level. Tzipporah is a LCSW and specializes in complex trauma, maternal mental health, mindfulness, and other areas.

“It’s important to educate people, especially children and parents of children, about expectations and what is realistic when it comes to therapy,” Tzipporah says. “People are misled about therapy, and told it is supposed to ‘fix’ you. But it’s about restoring people’s sense of empowerment, and teaching them that good things take time. People want results in three or four sessions, but just because you don’t see results immediately, that doesn’t mean it isn’t working. You don’t see grass growing, but you know it is.”

“As social workers, we are agents of change,” Tzipporah continues. “We go where we are needed, and anywhere there is a human being, we are there.”

Tzipporah says that the clinical team at JF&CS is full of wonderful and supportive people, with a low turnover rate among staff, many who have been with us for more than a decade.

“JF&CS is a place where leadership is supportive of and prioritizes the mental health of its staff,” Tzipporah concludes. “It’s a gift to be here.”

JF&CS is always looking for new social workers to add to our family of clinicians. We have opportunities in areas ranging from mental health, to psychotherapy, to other areas of expertise. To learn more about clinical career opportunities at JF&CS, please visit our Careers page.

Sign up to receive the Feel Better Letter from JF&CS Clinical Services.