Danielle Knapp is a Clinician at Vanderheyden's Residential Treatment Center (RTC) in Wynantskill. Knapp grew up in Colonie, New York, and graduated from Russell Sage College in Troy with a Bachelor's degree in Creative Arts Therapy. She also received her Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Northcentral University in San Diego.
10 Questions with Danielle Knapp...
What is your role at Vanderheyden?
"I am a therapist working on campus with Cottages 2, 3 and 4. I provide crisis, individual, and group counseling for the individuals. I also do family counseling when needed."
What did you do before Vanderheyden?
"I worked for a while at the Center for Disability Services as a Rehab Therapist Coordinator organizing and facilitating OT and PT aquatic programs. I also worked for the New York State Education Department for several years in the Social Work and Mental Health Professionals board office. I would approve experience for Social workers and other mental health professionals to become licensed."
Why did you choose Vanderheyden? What appealed to you?
"I started here because I needed to get hands on experience for my graduate internship."
"Vanderheyden was the only organization that was willing to give me a chance. Since I was attending an online program and there are not a lot of Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT) in this area, many local places were skeptical of my skill level. I saw that Vanderheyden employed a MFT, Kristin, and I thought I would ask. Luckily, Kristin agreed to supervise me and I had a wonderful internship."
What do you bring to your job?
"My training has taught me to look at issues from a systemic lens. I try to consider all of the possible things that could influence a specific behavior. Most issues are not the responsibility of only one person, and our actions do not occur in a bubble."
"I also try to be genuine and consistent with the individuals. They've gone through so much in their lives already and it is important for them to see that the adults in their life here are honest and reliable."
What do you like about your job at Vanderheyden?
"I love the individuals I work with. I think one of the most rewarding things to see, as a therapist, is when someone you've been working with is able to self-regulate and make safe choices. I love seeing family members connect on a level that they couldn't before."
"I also happen to work with a group of awesome clinicians who support and build each other up. I know that if I need to express frustrations or brainstorm therapeutic approaches, they are willing to help."
Share a story or unique experience from here.
"One of the individuals recently moved to a different program. After everyone had a chance to share at her goodbye circle (which made most of us tear up), she asked to share something. She read a poem that she wrote that basically summed up her growth as an individual during her time on campus. It is incredibly rewarding for me to hear someone verbalize their progress in such a powerful way."
Share a story or unique experience from your life.
"Ever since I was in high school, I dreamed of owning my own coffee shop. When I was in college, there was a woman who owned a coffee cart in one of the education buildings. I asked her if I could shadow her to learn how to make the different drinks and run the business. Eventually, I was working next to her, helping with the morning rush between classes. She decided to open a second cart in the library in the evenings and offered to hire me to run it. That was successful and the school allowed her to open a coffee shop in the student center. She hired me to work many of the evening hours in the shop."
"I transferred schools, but I still dreamed of owning my own shop. When my husband and I bought our house, there was an empty storefront down the street and we decided to go for it. We ran the shop for about a year and a half before we sold the business."
"I discovered that while I loved my shop, it was not my career calling. But I have no regrets! One of my employees from the shop fell in love with the coffee business and now has a shop of his own that I have been fortunate to support. I also don't have to go through life wondering 'what if.'"
What can you say to someone thinking about joining our Vanderheyden Team?
"Working with this population can be very challenging, but it can also be very rewarding if you let it."
What accomplishments/hobbies/likes, etc. do you want to share?
"I love to be crafty. I love woodworking and power tools. I also love spending time with my family."
Bonus Question: What are you doing differently during the COVID-19 crisis than before?
"The COVID-19 crisis has caused a lot of anxiety for many people, even me. I always try to use the coping skills that I teach to the individuals on my caseload, but I find myself needing to use them more, and really focus on being mindful of what I am feeling right here and now."
"I have also found that I need to be more accepting of the fact that I'm not going to always know what to do next. I have to give myself grace and be more kind to myself. I hope that by doing this myself, I can show others how to do it as well. I am hoping that this crisis can help everyone just slow down and focus on what is really important."