Dr Sheila Ikaria Sheila, DPA, Gabriela Mira discussed on Drugs and Stuff

Drugs and Stuff


Mm-hmm. Welcome to drugs and style a podcast from the drug policy alliance. Blue and welcome to another episode of jugs and stuff the podcast from drug policy alliance. My name's Gabriela Mira's, I'm the manager of multimedia design here at DPA, and I'm so excited to welcome my colleague, Dr Sheila Ikaria Sheila is a researcher at the office of academic engagement here at DP. A and she has such an interesting background. She started as social worker and moved into academia and finally ended up here at DP. A and she's an incredible asset to the organization. Thank you so much Sheila for taking the time to speak with me today. I'm happy to be here. Thank you. Great. So Sheila, you have a really interesting background kind of the road that you took to get here. So I'm just going to dive right in and ask, you know. How did you end up in your current role at DP like what's the road that got you here? Wow. Well, that's a big question. I feel like in. No way was it a straight path or one that I could have envisioned or imagined for myself. I feel like when I look back and try to leave a cohesive narrative to really understand how I got here. I I sometimes have to stop and reflect and think about what was going through my head when I made that decision because actually my background is in clinical practice. So when I was growing up, I thought I was going to be therapist. And so in thinking that believing that seem natural to me to choose a bachelor's degree in clinical and social psychology and to dig deep into these different theories of human behavior to learn different clinical counseling skills because that really just felt like where I wanted to be. I wanted to help people wanted help people solve problems, and I wanted to build relationships with people, and so clinical psychology seemed like the best fit. I had lots of internships over. For the summers. When I was in college at different clinical placements, I had his summer internship in London at the detox at the Florence Nightingale hospital, which I was really formative for me because I think it was really my first exposure to working with people who use drugs and people who are trying to figure out how to live lives without drugs. And prior to that, I really hadn't had much personal personal exposure to drug use let alone perhaps problematic or chaotic drug user addiction. And I felt like it really opened my eyes. I and so many different kinds of people received services that detox all different walks of life, all different kinds of experiences, and here they all were receiving treatment together. And although it was a really interesting experience. I still hadn't even after that experience necessarily decided which population I wanted to work with clinically. But it definitely was one of those things that stuck with me. And then it was time to go to grad. The school because unfortunately, at least in the US, you can't really do much counselling or clinical work with a bachelor's degree. And it was then when I heard of social programs that I realized that a lot of my internships, actually were with social workers MSW's people who were doing the clinical work, I was interested in, but who are also committed to addressing social Justice issues who understood the role of race class gender structural oppression and various other systems, and it seemed like social work was the way to go. And so I got my MSW and again funny enough my second year, internship, ended up being in drug and alcohol treatment setting where I was working in an outpatient modality and folks were coming in for treatment. And I was there to do a Susman's in groups and again very much in the clinical work. And then realizing, you know, why it maybe maybe working in the field of addiction is actually something that I'm actually really interested in maybe these are my people, and I did that. But the challenge of working in that setting for me was that I was realizing that most of my clients were mandated to treatment and being mandated to treatment and meant that they were often choosing treatment over jail, and or often choosing treatment over having a lose their kids or choosing treatment because it was a way to get access to the social services that they needed, and I realized that that wasn't really choosing treatment at all. And that people aren't really being given choices and that I was complicit in systems that we're using treatment as as a means for control and part of how we were also providing treatment was really grounded in twelve step orientation, and there's nothing wrong with twelve steps. And a and a However I felt like that was the only tool in our toolbox for teaching people how to think about their drug use and their experiences, and I really struggled with being provider who was telling people they had a disease and that the only way to address their disease was through. Rendering and accepting their powerlessness and going to meetings, and that they could never use any substances ever again. And I was really getting disenchanted,

Coming up next