Chemical dependency counseling is a second career for Case Manager Ginny O’Bryan. She started as a popular teacher, and that admiration is related to why she changed to counseling. Born and raised in Elgin, Texas, Ginny earned a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education from Texas State (formerly Southwest Texas State) University.
She then taught English and Spanish at Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks, Alaska from 1968 to 1990. After returning to Texas, she taught Spanish in Sulphur Springs, Texas. She also earned—while teaching fulltime–a Master’s Degree in Psychology, Counseling, and Educational Administration from East Texas State University (now Texas A&M at Commerce).
Acceptance by Students Leads to Advice
Ginny was a popular instructor. Her young students liked to visit with her in the classroom for more than instruction hours. “Kids were always in my room before school, during lunch, and after school. I was told I should be a counselor, so I decided to go for it.” In 1996, the Northeast Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse opened an outpatient treatment office in Sulphur Springs, and she volunteered, working with at-risk adolescents for nine months. (She also volunteered as a court-appointed special advocate for youth for seven years.)
The NETCADA supervisor suggested that Ginny become a licensed chemical dependency counselor. She followed the advice, became licensed, quit teaching in 1999, and worked for the regional agency for five years and was site supervisor for the last year.
Application Based on Family Connection
Ginny, who is also a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional and well versed in trauma recovery work, has been a member of the La Hacienda clinical staff since May 2005. Her decision to work here came as the result of a family connection. “My adult child, then 21-years-old, was a patient at La Hacienda in 2004. I applied to work at La Hacienda because the program impressed me.”
Making a Difference in People’s Lives
Seeing her patients become self-aware and change provides Ginny with satisfaction. “My work here has taught me to be patient, to practice self-care, to be deeply spiritual, and to let go of that which I cannot change.” “The awareness that I am serving God, that I am making a difference in peoples’ lives–and thus in the world–is what is most important to me about working here.”
Teacups and Teapots Aplenty
She and her husband Bob have raised four adult children. They have four cats (all rescues) and five registered dogs—three Chihuahuas and two Labs. Their favorite place to visit is South Padre Island, where they go twice a year. Ginny is a certified yoga teacher and certified yoga therapist, and she swims three miles a week at a local fitness center.
In her free time, she quilts, solves crossword puzzles, and runs a consignment booth at Blue Oak Trading Company in Kerrville. She collects teapots (more than 100) and teacups, specializing in collecting James Sadler teapots from England.