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Residential Experience at Sierra Tucson

In this episode, Resident Experience Coordinator Joan Barber and Integrative Service Consultant Uziel Garcia lead an interactive discussion focusing of their roles, and on the services provided to patients at Sierra Tuscon.
Joan Barber | Uziel Garcia
Joan works alongside residents whenever they have specific needs: concerns, guiding them to their next group or program for therapy, be a listening ear. She helps to build a sense of community for the residents through different programs and activities that are considered extra-curricular or incentivized for residents.

Current Position is Integrative Sales Consultant for our integrative department. My job is to help resident choose additional services that can benefit their mental and physical health. I go over information like body work services, Naturopath Medicine and Biofeedback. Each service that we cover in our consultation helps better understand how each one can significantly improve and bring balance to the mind and body.

Scott Webb (Host): Treatment at Sierra Tucson is not one size fits all. Rather, multidisciplinary individualized treatment with the goal of treating the whole self is top of mind for everyone who works with residents. And today I'm going to have a conversation with Uziel Garcia, Integrative Service Consultant and Joan Barber, Resident Experience Coordinator. And they're here to tell us what they do and how they help and inspire residents at Sierra Tucson to be their truest selves.

This is Let's Talk Mind, Body, Spirit by Sierra Tucson. Sierra Tucson, a leader in the field of behavioral healthcare since 1983. I'm Scott Webb.

So I want to thank you both for joining me. Today we're going to talk about the residential experience at Sierra Tucson. Just to learn more and, uh, address this first one to you. Uzi, what's your role at Sierra Tucson? And we're going to hear from Joan as well. And maybe you can talk a little bit about how you and Joan work together.

Uziel Garcia: My role at here at Tucson is with the Integrated Service Sales Consultants. I meet with residents to provide additional services in regards to like body work services, naturopath, as well as other neuroscience department.

Host: Yeah. And Joan, I'd like to have you talk a little bit about your role and how, uh, I know you and you, we were sort of having some laughs here before we got rolling. How you and Uzi work together, how you know each other and how well you get along.

Joan Barber: When I started as Resident Experience Coordinator, Uzi was already in that position. He since moved on to integrative services. Currently I work with Mary Montoya, who is also Resident Experience Coordinator. The residents and staff also call us patient advocates, cause we pretty much work for the residents. And Uzi trained me, taught me everything I know. So, we also do work closely. I'm constantly getting his feedback on continuing helping me throughout my role as Resident Experience Coordinator.

Host: Yeah. And despite you referring to him as Uzikins before we got rolling here. I am not going to do that to you, Uzi. And we're going to stay with Uzi or Uziel. No, Uzikins today. But, Joan, as you're describing your role there and what you do, maybe you can talk more about how you're helping residents during their treatment.

Joan Barber: We work for the residents. I always tell them, we do new resident orientation and I say we work for you. If you're having an issue with a roommate, if you're not feeling heard by your primary therapist or nursing or any problems, come to us. We are always a good sounding board. We'll get their message out. We advocate for them.

We also do have fun with them. Mary does a game night at night. She stays late, and I stay late and do a rhythm of the night, which is just a music based, turning your brains off, kind of relaxing from the hard day of processing. And then I also do something called brewed awakenings, which is for 55 and over.

And we just meet and talk about the differences in treatment of being older. Cause the vast majority are younger. We have a very small population of 55 and over. So it's a nice little intimate group that we do.

Host: Yeah. And you you mentioned that you used the word brew and I was thinking, oh, I hope there's a nice hot cup of Joe. A nice hot cup of coffee there, you know, and I'm 54, so I would be close to the 55 and older Group. And Uzi, maybe you can talk about some of the services that you provide while people are staying at Sierra Tucson.

Uziel Garcia: So our department works with massages, acupunctures, basically more of like the natural body work services, which helps with both mental and physical state of residents. A lot of people come from different types of trauma background. And the really beneficial part about this is, we've had people who don't want massages, but we offered different modalities that would be like cranial sacral therapy, some mad emotional dialogue. A lot of body work services that aren't really hands on, but it's more energy based that can really benefit them and calm the mind if you have like scattered thoughts. So it's very beneficial with that, as well as naturopathic medicine. Both Dr. Schwehr and Dr. Kums run a really great department here that offers residents another option for medicine, not just pharmaceutical, but as well as more the natural and supplements side of things.

Host: Yeah. And you know, and I know, uh, having hosted a number of these for Sierra Tucson and learned about adventure therapy and equine therapy and all the wonderful services there. Yeah and I know that folks are there for treatment, of course. But it sounds just really lovely. Like, it sounds like an amazing spa sort of scenario, you know, where you're sort of working and healing the mind, body, spirit and all of that, the Sierra Tucson model, and it just sounds really wonderful. I've seen pictures and videos and would really like to come to Arizona. Wondering from your perspective, Uzi, when you wake up every day, right, so you wake up in the morning, what do you tell yourself as you wake up and you're thinking about going to work?

Uziel Garcia: Well, when I wake up, I think about, you know, what difference I'm going to make today, and especially on Mondays not knowing who I'm going to be seeing, how my schedule's going to be filled out, cause usually on the weekend we have staff that does that for me. But the main part is understanding what the residents are here for and how you can get every detail from that and provide the best service for them.

And with that it can be, you know, understanding what the neuro pathways and how it affects someone's mind as well as body or how a simple massage or acupuncture can regulate someone's physical state. So that's my mentality is going into work, is understanding what I have before me and what's the best option I can provide for residents and their care.

Host: How about for you, Joan? When you wake up in the morning and you're like, okay, time to go to work, time to go to Sierra Tucson, what's on your mind and what do you look forward to?

Joan Barber: I always go to, I had a resident that drew a picture for me and it said, Joan gets sugar done. And I always think about that before I go in is, who am I going to be able to help today? Sometimes they just want to be heard, and I'm always trying to keep that positive attitude before I go in and not take anything personal.

They come to Mary and myself because they're having issues and sometimes they just want to be heard. And so, I'm a lot of times, just going to sit there and listen and tell them I hear you, I understand you, and yes, that's very frustrating.

Uziel Garcia: I think there is value in that as well. Is just listening to someone can make a huge difference, and that's what, you know, that's what we try to instill.

That's what changed our title before from patient advocate to resident experience, is understanding the residents experience and trying to help and provide the best option, which is what Joan adopted and basically ran with it as well as with Mary is just understanding a resident's concern and trying to provide the best solution as well as outcome for them.

Host: Yeah. Joan, when we think about the best outcomes and best solutions and things like that, you know, how do you feel like you inspire residents to be their truest self? What does that mean to be your truest self? And how do you help them as they're along this path, along this journey to really be and find their truest self?

Joan Barber: To be honest with themselves. I think that is one of the most important things they can do. A lot of times, they can't get that introspection and be honest with themselves, but after the 30 days, a lot of them can finally be honest with themselves and see themselves for who they truly are and apologize to themselves for being so hard on, on who they think they should be and who they truly are.

Host: That's really interesting. I'm sure you would echo that, Uzi, is just that, when someone finally gets there in this journey, right? And they're there for treatment and they're there for the help that Sierra Tucson can offer, I'm sure that's a major point of pride for all of you when you feel like you've helped them and enabled them to really be their truest self, right?

Uziel Garcia: Oh, that's correct. I mean, we've had people who have been to treatment multiple times and they make it known from day one, I already know these classes, I already know the process. But when they're honest with themselves, like Joan said, and be true to themselves, it changes. That, I think that's what separates us from a lot of other places is that we try and challenge that into residents to be true to yourself and really look deep within and say, you've been to treatment facilities, what can be the difference here? What can you get out of yourself that you did not apply to the other department or to the other facilities? And I think that's well put, is being true to yourself and everybody from different backgrounds.

You know, when they get that, it's such a huge weight off their shoulders knowing within 30 days, you know, average time that they're here, there's a massive change in them when they do see that point.

Joan Barber: And we'll often have residents that come in, first day, I shouldn't be here, I don't feel that I need this place. I'm not that bad off. There are people way worse than I am. And we'll tell them, stay. Stay in the process. And come back to us in 30 days, come back to us in 25 days, and the majority of the time, a changed person comes through our doors and says, thank you. Thank you for listening. Thank you for being there and encouraging me to stay in treatment. So it's a great thing to see the change in people.

Host: I'm sure. It's really awesome to learn more about what you both do and how you help folks at Sierra Tucson and Uzi, thinking about people who might be listening, right? So they're listening and they may be struggling with their own journey. What would be your, I don't want to you know, set the bar too high, but your words of wisdom, if you will. Like, what would you want to encourage them to take from this and then to do for themselves?

Uziel Garcia: I honestly would say not to compare your journey with other people. There was one resident who really sunk it in with their whole community where they said, I'm tired of people comparing traumas and the reasons they're here when you should focus on what you do here and what impact you want to make to yourself.

And that was about two years ago and it's still hits me pretty hard. And that's something that I always try and make the focal point for residents and those who are listening is to don't compare yourself with anybody else. You know, if you are feeling depressed, if you're feeling anxious, any kind of way, take the time to actually work for yourself. You deserve it. You know, as humans, we try to look to see who has it worse than us, so we don't have to address our concerns. You know, brush it under the rug, but that's not the case. Everybody deserves treatment. Everybody deserves to feel better about themselves, as well as feeling happy.

Joan Barber: And also it is, in the grand scheme of things, a small blip on your radar, 30 days is a small blip to take care of yourself, and you owe it to yourself to jump in and embrace the journey wherever that may be.

Host: Yeah. I think you're so right, Joan, that 30 days in the bigger picture, the grander scheme, for what can be accomplished in those 30 days. So thank you so much. You both stay well.

Joan Barber: Thank you.

Uziel Garcia: You too. Thank you.

Host: And for more information, go to sierra

And if you find this podcast to be helpful, please share it on your social channels. And be sure to check out the full podcast library for additional topics of interest. This is Let's Talk: Mind, Body, Spirit from Sierra Tucson. I'm Scott Webb. Stay well.