Options Counseling and Family Services Employee Reviews

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4.0
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Positive staff/support
LCSW/Child and Family Therapist (Current Employee) –  Salem, ORDecember 29, 2017
Services to children, teens, adults, families, special needs children, psychiatric services.
Excellent benefits.
Trauma-informed care, evidenced based practices.
Pros
Benefits
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Official response from Options Counseling and Family Services
January 4, 2018

Thank you so much for the four-star review. We are pleased to offer our employees an extensive benefits package. Specifics of our benefits package can now be found on our website under the Employment tab. Thank you for all you do here at Options!

4.0
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Great work environement
Clinical Social Work Intern (Former Employee) –  Eugene, ORAugust 7, 2017
Great place to work, very supportive and a place to learn a lot of experience. Also, helps to learn about community resources and enhances a supportive work environment.
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Official response from Options Counseling and Family Services
September 6, 2017

Thank you so much for your review! Options strives to be a great learning environment for interns and employees alike. It sounds like your internship was mutually beneficial. Best of luck to you in your future endeavors!

5.0
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Excellent colleagues, office culture, and professional development opportunities
Child and Family Therapist (Former Employee) –  Clackamas, ORJune 4, 2017
I only had the privilege of working with Options for just under a year, as I ended up moving out of state unexpectedly. I really enjoyed my colleagues in the Clackamas office, and the supervisory team for the agency as a whole was excellent. I felt comfortable approaching any supervisor with questions / consultation, and felt heard and respected by my colleagues.

I did take one star off for work life balance, and contemplated taking 2 stars away in this domain. I had a highly acute caseload of up to 20 families, and needed to be available for after-school appointments, leading to 11AM-7PM shifts most days, which left little time for me to have a personal life. I found it very challenging to be present in session, create complete and timely documentation, and conduct case management with schools, psychiatry, juvenile justice and other community agencies for my clients in the 40 hours allotted. As an exempt employee, I was not paid extra for overtime I had to put in to complete job responsibilities.

Overall though, I found Options to be a very supportive environment for me to grow and learn as a clinician and was generally responsive to my needs as an employee. They gave me opportunities for advanced training and to get to know my co-workers better through social events. If I had not moved, I would certainly still be employed there, and planning to be so long term.
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Official response from Options Counseling and Family Services
September 6, 2017

Thank you so much for your review. We are constantly striving to provide a well-rounded work-life balance for our employees and appreciate your feedback. It's reassuring to hear that even with the sometimes difficult schedule, you feel you would still want to be employed here if you hadn't moved. Best of luck to you in your future endeavors!

4.0
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Supportive place to work one of the toughest jobs in mental health
Child and Family Therapist (Former Employee) –  Clackamas, ORMarch 29, 2017
I will preface this lengthy review by stating that I have worked in community mental health for 6 years, under 3 different employers. Options has hands-down been the best experience.

Options Counseling provides primarily home-based therapy services to kids ages 5-18. They do see clients in the office as well, although if you work here, expect to spend the majority of your time out at people's homes or somewhere with wifi doing your paperwork. The fact that they primarily serve home-based clients is a good indication of the clientele you work with. Families are often in crisis and require serious interventions on a regular basis. Not everyone is happy to be receiving services, and parents are often also struggling with their own mental health issues, making effective interventions with children challenging at times.

That being said, if you work here, you are really helping folks who need it. You will see a wide variety of presentations and, if you can stick around, will become highly skilled in some really valuable therapeutic skills. I am 100% sure that I am a better clinician for having worked in this job. However, this job is extremely taxing on you, and burnout is inevitable.

There is no such thing as a typical day, because it can change so quickly depending on the acuity of clients on your caseload. You will assess some clients and never see them again. Others will be on your caseload for years. The one constant is paperwork. Because they serve exclusively high-needs OR Health Plan clients, there is WAY more paperwork than in a typical therapist job. And because
  more... clients and guardians are often volatile, best practice is to thoroughly document every single interaction (even texts) to CYA. This can mean that you are doing 3 hours of paperwork even if you only saw 3 or 4 clients that day. Add to the mix the fact that you are out and about all day without a consistent place to sit down and work between clients, and most people end up taking their paperwork home and/or working through the weekend to catch up. Management doesn't like this and will do their best to support you, but that is just a fact of life when you work a job like this. This job is very complex and requires that you are in constant communication with so many different people... schools, extended family members, juvenile justice, DHS, and most often - insurance reps. Expect to spend a lot of time on the phone between clients, and then add those calls to your documentation pile.

Options itself is undergoing some agency shifts. They used to be a very small team, and everyone knew each other on a very personal level. It was fantastic. They have expanded quite a bit in the past 2 years, which has of course made it more difficult to feel quite as connected to your co-workers. Managers do well to try to retain this close-knit feeling as the teams grow, but it just isn't feasible anymore. However, Options is well-known for being a very understanding employer and they really value employee feedback. Most everyone felt that they could be very honest about struggles they were experiencing during team meetings and supervisions. If you work in community mental health, you NEED a supportive team and supervisor. Options has this in spades.

Lastly, Options offers a very flexible schedule (you basically make your own schedule) and supervisors do not micro-manage you unless you directly ask them to help you manage your time. Pay is average for the job title across agencies; the places that pay more tend to serve even more acute clients (like Catholic Charities and LifeWorks). Benefits are overall excellent. I think I paid $30/month for everything. The deductible is really high though, however if you submit receipts they will often reimburse 80% of it back to you. They give generous time off accruals, and because you can flex your schedule, you often have more vacation time than you'd ever use. That being said, it is difficult to take vacations because of the acuity of your clients. Every time I went on a trip I would be guilted about it by at least one client when I got back. That's just the job though. Options never makes you feel bad for needing time off.

If you can handle the challenges inherent in community mental health, this is far and away the best place to work. If you read my review and aren't scared, you will probably do very well even if you are fresh out of school.
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Pros
Great benefits, highly flexible schedule, very supportive team, great place to learn highly sought after therapy skills
Cons
Very challenging client population, constant documentation, high likelihood of burnout, having to do therapy in sometimes unsanitary or otherwise unpleasant or non-confidential locations, having to regularly travel vast distances for rural clients (sometimes 30 miles)
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Official response from Options Counseling and Family Services
June 5, 2017

Thank you so much for your thorough and honest review. We appreciate you being an active member of our team. We are proud to be able to offer our employees flexible schedules and supportive teams. We hope to continue to find new ways to support our wonderful employees in order to minimize burnout.

3.0
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I am truly trying to be diplomatic but I can not lie...
Administrative Assistant/Receptionist (Former Employee) –  Portland, ORJanuary 4, 2017
I was excited when I found their posting on Indeed. I was eager to assist my community and thrilled to support LGBTQ youth. However I quickly discovered that all was not as it seemed. The job listed was entered in the 30k annual range but came to discover that in reality they paid little over minimum wage. I was not informed until after hire. They did however promise to give me a raise before December and then simply forgot to mention that they changed their minds. They also forgot to mention at the interview that my position would include answering a Pediatric Mental Health Crisis Line without any training. Somehow taking suicide calls from children and terrified foster parents while qualifying for Food Stamps was not the community service I expected.
The therapists however are truly wonderful people. They go above and beyond in their work. I felt very rewarded to support the work they do. Had I been able to support my family on the meager wages and lots-of-words-and-little-meaning style of communication I received, I may have stayed on longer just to support the efforts of those unsung heroes in the therapy rooms.

Bottom line: DO NOT WORK HERE IF YOU HAVE BILLS TO PAY OR PROBLEMS OF YOUR OWN. This is a place for super humans. There is no give and take.

I truly hope the CEO recognizes the scenario he has created with these wages and disproportionate expectations.
Pros
lots of PTO
Cons
Low Pay, poor communication, swiftly changing job roles/expectations, high stress, dangerous client scenarios, short breaks, LOTS of double standards.
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Official response from Options Counseling and Family Services
June 5, 2017

Thank you so much for your honest feedback. We agree that our Therapists are amazing, as is the work they do.

We are sorry to hear that your salary was not clear before you started. That is definitely not standard protocol. We have also developed a new position, so trained employees are taking those crisis phone calls.

We will remain working on these issues in the years to come, so we can continue to offer a multitude of wonderful programs to children and families throughout Oregon.

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Overall rating

3.8
Based on 6 reviews
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3.2Work/Life Balance
3.5Compensation/Benefits
3.2Job Security/Advancement
3.3Management
3.8Culture

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3.1Personal Development

3.8Career Opportunities

3.2Family Support

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