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Champion of Mental Health and Addictions Treatment

August 06, 2008

Glenn Maynard sat facing a new client with a 20-year history of severe addictions, a man who had worked with numerous accomplished psychotherapists in prestigious programs–and failed, repeatedly, to conquer his demons. Perplexed, Maynard wondered what he could possibly do to help.

After two years of serious therapeutic work, his client found the strength to put his life back together, return to work, and reunite with his family.

The difference this time around, he told Maynard, was that he finally gave up all hope of having a better or different past.

“That’s really the nature of the work we do as counselors,” says Maynard, “helping people come to terms with the past and find a way to let go and move forward in a positive way.”

Maynard directs the Avel Gordly Center for Healing at Oregon Health & Science University, where he is also an assistant professor of psychiatry and maintains a clinical practice.

The clinic offers state-licensed programs that help about 700 people each month with a wide range of addictions–including drugs, alcohol, and gambling–and a variety of behavioral problems such as mood and anxiety disorders.

Maynard’s career path seems to mirror his approach to life–ambitious and compassionate. With boundless energy and enthusiasm for helping people, he began the journey as a caseworker for the welfare department in Astoria, then in southeast Portland.

Deciding to transition from social work to counseling, he earned a master’s degree from Lewis & Clark’s Graduate School of Education and Counseling in 18 months.

He went on to develop Living in the Community, an intensive program designed to help people with chronic mental illness move from state-run hospitals back into society. It addressed housing, crisis intervention, medication management, life skills training, vocational training, and substance abuse counseling and became a national model.

Later, he served in several high-level positions for Providence Health System, directing addictions treatment services and developing the Crisis Triage Center, which provided centralized mental health crisis services in the Portland metropolitan area.

“One of the things I’m interested in now is mentoring and supporting the next generation of counselors,” says Maynard, acutely aware of the difficulties therapists face dealing up close with trauma every day.

“My youngest daughter is embarking on a career as a high school counselor,” he says. “On a personal level, it’s exciting and gratifying to watch her enter the profession.”

And to foster his own mental health, Maynard and his wife and a group of friends are planning a long-distance recumbent bike trip in August–a big loop from Amsterdam through Holland, Belgium, Germany, and the Czech Republic.

–by Pattie Pace

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