Elizabeth Ferguson is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Addictions Professional, and Certified Educator and approved supervisor for social workers seeking licensure. Ms. Ferguson received her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Central Florida in 2009 and CAP Florida credentialing Board the same year. She also received a Master of Education from Lewis University of Chicago, 1996 and a BA in Sociology, Loyola University of Chicago, 1987.
Ms. Ferguson began working with at risk children and their families 30 years ago in Chicago. During this experience she became comfortable with working with families from very diverse nationalities and ethnic backgrounds. She came to the Volusia County Schools 18 years ago and has served as a Case Worker, School Guidance Counselor, Teacher, Parent Advocate and Group Facilitator. She has served in the Student Services Department of Volusia County Schools for over 10 years and currently works in the VCS Alternative Education Department. She implements a rigorous behavioral modification plans for ESE and at-risk teens. She runs motivational groups. She has worked as a child and family advocate through the BRIDGES program. Although, she is very gifted and insightful when working with youth, she has also broadened her practice over the past dozen or so years to include adults and seniors.
Her work with adults has included various positions at Stewart-Marchman Act in Volusia and Flagler Counties and the Crises Center, which are the Baker Act and Marchman Act receiving point for both counties. She has been a Substance Abuse Counselor at a residential program and detoxification center. She has provided intake, screening, assessment and diagnosis for mental health and substance abuse services. She has facilitated out-patient substance abuse treatment groups and family groups for Drug Court. She has provided individual and group counseling for diverse dually diagnosed clients at Project WARM.
Ms. Ferguson asserts, “It is never too late to have a happy childhood!” She advises practical strategies to nurture your inner child and set yourself free from anxiety, depression, negative thinking patterns, self-destructive behaviors and dysfunctional relationships. She admonishes her clients, “Don’t give your power away!” by learning to set healthy boundaries with families and co-workers. “Claim your life of happiness joy and freedom,” which is your birthright. She has specialized in addiction, codependency, trauma, anxiety and depression among other maladies. She blends medical, psychological, mental health, and spiritual principles in her practice.
She credits Charles L. Whitfield for providing the most clear cut model of the effect of alcoholic and dysfunctional families on the development of the Inner Child. His book, Healing the Child Within clearly explains how these three areas of child research; psychoanalytical therapy, social work and the recovery movement are coming together to provide new breakthroughs in the conception, understanding and eventual treatment methods that heal the inner child.
This eclectic therapeutic approach is completely practical and achievable. It is based on the concept of the “Inner Child” coined by Dr. Charles Whitfield. This approach is completely practical and brings results. The concept of the child within was first identified by Sigmund Freud and began with his discovery of the human unconsciousness. His follower, Carl Yung called it the “Divine Child”. It has been called the “Wonderchild,” by Emmett Fox. Donald Winnicott described the specifics of the “Real, True Self.” As far back as 1979, Alice Miller a noted psychoanalyst began integrating the effects of child abuse and neglect into her work but the effects of substance abuse in families was not mentioned.
Most of the helping professions, until very recently, have not received training in the interaction of childhood trauma or substance abuse and the impact that it can have on the process of personality development. Another breakthrough occurred when visualization exercises that sought to heal the Child Within were part of successful cancer treatments. The development of a working spirituality is also crucial to the healing of the inner child. The recovery movement has used a spiritual component successfully to aid recovery from substance abuse. This is one reason why a social framework is more appealing to me than a psychological one. The field of social work seems to be more accepting of the role in spirituality in personal healing.