Springfield, MO

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Heather Mosley | SBJ

2022 Health Care Champions Therapist: Dawnielle Robinson

Citizens Memorial Hospital

Posted online

When a person goes through trauma, it often feels as if control is ripped from their hands, narrowing their life into survival mode. The Adverse Childhood Experiences study by CDC-Kaiser Permanente revealed that approximately 61% of children less than 18 years old have gone through at least one traumatic experience, with one in six enduring four or more.

These events happen on a graded dose effect, meaning the more ACEs a child has endured, the more at risk they become for numerous negative health outcomes.

Enter Dawnielle Robinson. As a mental health therapist at Citizens Memorial Hospital, Robinson’s goal is to help children, adolescents and adults who have experienced trauma reclaim self-efficacy as they are healing.

“I see my role in the overall picture of health care in the Ozarks [to be] providing mental health services for those underserved populations,” says Robinson.

“I have been a mental health therapist since 2005 and my goals have always been simple: Every day, help a kiddo and helping others to help themselves.”

Robinson has achieved this goal in numerous roles over the years – as a mental health technician intern at the Greene County Jail; an individual and family therapist at Applied Psychological Services PC; a trauma-focused therapist at The Children’s Center of Southwest Missouri; a patrol, school resource and D.A.R.E. officer for the Bolivar Police Department; and a school-based clinician at Burrell Behavioral Health.

“All of those seemingly random career paths all fit into the original goals of wanting to help others to help themselves and making sure every single day I am able to accomplish at least one thing to help our most precious resource: our kiddos,” says Robinson.

Her work involves performing forensically sensitive play therapy with children, treating adolescents and adults struggling with substance use, and providing trauma counseling for emergency responders.

During COVID-19 and after, Robinson saw the toll taken on the mental health of community service workers and health care providers. She became actively involved in “helping the helpers” so they could continue providing services in the community without sacrificing their own health and well-being.

Uniting her professions of law enforcement and mental health, Robinson received training in critical incident stress management and is working to create a CISM team for CMH co-workers. Robinson is also a volunteer reserve deputy for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and runs her private practice, Robinson Counseling LLC.

“The common theme amongst all populations served is underlying trauma which becomes a barrier,” Robinson says. “The solution rolls back to the initial goal of helping others process trauma and know how to effect positive change in their lives.”


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