Carla Allen, LPC-S, LCDC, NCC
IOP Director, La Hacienda’s Solutions
Since October 2006, Carla Allen has directed the intensive outpatient program at La Hacienda’s Solutions in Austin. She began as Program Counselor, transitioned to Assessment Counselor, and was promoted to Program Director in September 2014. Solutions program offers group and individual counseling, educational lectures, and 12-Step program philosophy. “For many who complete the inpatient program at La Hacienda, it can be a step-down place to continue the work they began in Hunt,” says Carla. Other programs refer to Solutions for step-down care as well. “We also serve individuals who don’t need inpatient-level of care to help them find recovery.”
Meeting People, Witnessing Recovery
Carla enjoys meeting the wide variety of people who come to Solutions for assistance and seeing them recover from addiction or alcoholism. She also appreciates witnessing first-hand improvements made in the addiction treatment field over the years. Maintaining high treatment standards and seeking ways to improve upon techniques are essential, she says. “La Hacienda cares about doing addiction treatment correctly while maintaining high ethical and professional standards.”
Part-time College Job Leads to Engaging Career
While working on her master’s degree in Counselor Education at the University of New Mexico, Carla worked at the University’s Center on Alcohol, Substance Use and Addictions, assisting with the research of Dr. William Miller, a professor of psychology and psychiatry famous for his work on motivational interviewing. Miller’s techniques are useful in helping people working through issues including substance use disorders. “I learned all about motivational interviewing techniques and how they can increase change talk in patients,” says Carla. “I went into it with no interest in substance abuse.” She remained skeptical about entering the substance abuse field, but one of her interviewers reassured her that knowing about motivational interviewing was a good beginning.
“And here I am, 18 years later.”
Starts Career with Her Eyes on Austin
In 2003, with a master’s degree to complement her bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Carla went to work for Chestnut Health Systems, a treatment center in Granite City, Illinois, near St. Louis. A couple of years there were followed by a brief stint with the Brazos Valley Council on Alcohol and Substance Abuse in College Station. When the position with La Hacienda’s Solutions came open in 2006, she applied, interviewed, and got the job.
Raising a Family is Primary Activity
Life in Texas’ capital city offers many possibilities for activity, but Carla and her husband are currently focused on raising two young children. Prior to children, Carla enjoyed run/walking half marathons and playing in her church orchestra.