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Erika Martin – Staff Spotlight

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Erika Martin, counselor at Madonna House

Erika Martin enjoys bringing splashes of creativity to her work as a counselor at Madonna House. In the group therapy sessions she holds, she has implemented role playing, aromatherapy, and art therapy. This choice in treatment is deliberate on Erika’s part since she understands that choice often drives engagement. “I ask the residents what they like,” she says of where she gets her ideas.

The creativity of residents at Madonna House often surprises Erika, as well. “They have a lot of strengths,” said Erika. She makes it a point to help guide the residents to find their potential. “They often come in thinking they’re not good at many things. Once you bring out their strengths, they use them to make positive choices.”

Erika has been with the agency for nine months, though she has held previous positions in the mental health field. In fact, her master’s degree, which she obtained from Medaille College, is in Mental Health Counseling. Since beginning her career with us, she has taken the opportunity to become involved in Trauma-Informed Care as she is one of our mentors for the transition. This has helped her to see which of her practices are already trauma-informed. Meeting with Trauma-Informed Care mentors throughout the agency provides her with the chance to receive advice, as well.

Along with fostering creativity, Erika is motivated by the stellar communication at Madonna House. “We really work as a team,” she said of her colleagues. “Each of us has our own strengths that we bring to the table.”

In the future, Erika hopes that Madonna House can continue educating family members about trauma while also breaking down the stigma that’s often associated with recovery. While there’s much work to do, Erika is able to find meaning in the little moments throughout her day. “There are days where you leave feeling very fulfilled and you know you made a difference,” she said.

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