Vanessa Sommer is a Lead Family Therapist in Caron’s Family Education Programs. Using thoughtful awareness, she develops a calm, supportive therapeutic process and offers practical tactics to help family members restore healthy boundaries and connections.
Since joining Caron in 2004, she has worked extensively with families impacted by substance use disorder, co-occurring disorders, and relapse, by developing an understanding of family dynamics and addressing each family member’s specific needs when coping with the disease of addiction. Vanessa created a distinctive program for family members coping with their loved one’s opioid addiction, launched family programming for the Young Adult Program and established a tailored program for the families of patients in the Healthcare Professionals Program. The core of each program includes giving family members a voice in treatment and providing education about the impact of addiction.
Vanessa also has expertise working with the families of older adults and the challenges of being a caregiver to aging population. She is an experienced public speaker and presents on addiction as a disease, recovery and relapse, family dynamics, family self-care, communication, and boundaries.
She began her career working as an in-home family counselor, assisting families in rebuilding their relationships after extended separation events. In that role, she developed parenting programs, facilitated peer trainings, and implemented specialty family workshops.
Vanessa is a certified advanced alcohol and drug counselor and an internationally certified advanced alcohol and drug counselor. She has a Master of Arts in community and applied clinical psychology from Rosemont College and a Bachelor of Arts in clinical psychology and addiction counseling from Alvernia University.
Treatment is the beginning of the healing from substance use disorder. Even if hopeful, that beginning can be challenging to the family and how it functions. Members need help and support to make those changes. Family education and the family work at Caron helps families speak to their own experience, seek out solutions, and create healthier boundaries for their own self-care. Families learn that recovery is an active process that all can participate in, not just the client. Supporting family members as they learn what recovery can do for them and how recovery reunites the family is my passion and fulfillment.”