My Flipped Clinic: Warming up to a new challenge

By Jessica Cuttic

For the last several months, Flip the Clinic has been working with the Children’s Integrated Center for Success (CICS) to truly flip their clinic. CICS team member, Jessica Cuttic, explains what it’s like to roll up her sleeves and incorporate the elements of a Flipped clinic to enhance their service to patients and each other.

I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in my fifth year of professional practice, specializing in anxiety disorders, depression, and trauma treatment with clients of all ages. The main reason, among many, that I chose to become a counselor is my fascination with growth. Whether it be my own, that of others, or the growth of the plants in my garden, I always want to be an active part of the process. I believe the human capacity for change and healing is infinite, and I approach this work with a collaborative and creative spirit.

Like many on our team, I was brought to The Children’s Integrated Center for Success (CICS) by a close friend and colleague who knows me well and felt that I would compliment the integrated approach. While interviewing for my position at CICS, I made it clear that I was searching for a place where I could expand my skillset as a clinician in ways that were creative, connected to my interests, and rooted in best practice. As a graduate student, my research focus was on integrated care models in behavioral health, and from the start it was clear that working in this collaborative, outside-the-box setting was a great fit for me. CICS is a warm, welcoming, and energizing agency. A place I felt, from my first interview, would allow me the opportunity to expand myself, my practice, and my impact on our community. As CICS founder, Amy Edgar, walked me to the door at the close of our interview, I held out my hand to her. Instead, she embraced me in a hug. In that moment, I knew I was in the right place.

When Flip the Clinic began about a year and a half into my tenure at CICS, I wasn’t exactly sure how I would personally fit into the Flip process, nor was I sure where I would fit the Flip process and activities into my schedule! As a therapist focused mainly on direct clinical care, I was uncertain about what value I could personally add to what seemed like a high-level project. During our launch event, we were guided to identify the elements of the practice we currently have, and envisioned the elements of the practice we hoped to create together. Mixed with the excitement of fresh perspectives and hopes for more adaptive practice processes being born from our Flip the Clinic projects, there were also moments of doubt, frustration, and uncertainty within our team . We sometimes questioned the value of the process, and whether or not the vulnerability and pressure we were experiencing would be worth it in the end. After our Flip the Clinic kick-off meeting, their team left us with a large bag of socks to protect us all at CICS from getting “cold feet” and backing away from this challenge. To this day I appreciate the lighthearted nature and symbolism of that initial gesture.

During a more intimate and intense Flip the Clinic session with some core members of our CICS team a few months later, we were offered and encouraged to reach out to Flip the Clinic staff for individual coaching. I reached out to Whitney in the hopes that I could utilize this opportunity to develop as a professional; after all, as I mentioned, growth of all kinds has always been my intention. After processing and exploring in my personal coaching sessions, I found my understanding of our collective work broadening and my own goals crystallizing. I began to recognize that my individual role in creating a Flipped clinic was just as important as  my fellow colleagues, and I saw the value in taking ownership of my part in making our clinical community thrive.

The opportunity for individual coaching time allowed me to reflect on the stumbling blocks and thorns-in-the-sides that had come up over the past few months, and I began to see those experiences for what they truly were: growing pains. Since I have centered my life, my values, and my work around a love of growth, this was the “a-ha” moment that pushed me to dive deeper into my commitment to this team and this process, even when it is difficult or tiring. How could I expect changing and shifting to be easy and free of those “growing pains”?

Along the way, I have felt my capacity and confidence multiply as my voice and vision were heard by the Flip team and then by my own team at CICS. I feel valued and grateful for the support Flip has given me individually, as well as CICS as a whole. As we move toward the final phases of the Flip the Clinic process, I’m in awe of how we have developed as a group. The space we hold for each other is more honest, more vulnerable, and more compassionate. We have met our limits and then soared beyond them together. We have learned to hold one another accountable in a way that still feels supportive and kind. What better example could we set for our clients and families than to live and breathe through our own growing pains and come out the other side? I’m grateful CICS didn’t get cold feet and grateful for the humor and warmth (literal and figurative) provided by those socks, because Flip the Clinic has helped us all step further into the future of CICS.