Meet One of Our Admissions Specialists
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In this episode we get to know our brilliant admissions specialist, Tris Sampson, as she gives us insight into her professional growth within the addiction treatment industry.
- Getting to know Tris and where she started
- How her professional foundation has helped her transition into her important role as an admissions specialist in addiction recovery
- She opens her heart about her passion to help people and to simply be an ear.
- Tris talks about a difficult admission she walked through and how she helped the family realize that recovery is possible.
You don’t know what it’s like working with a vulnerable population until you’re sitting in front of a vulnerable population. And then some world views of mine right away collapse, and I have a new perspective, and I realize I might have gotten it wrong at some point. And what vulnerable people really need is connective care, compassion, love empathy, they don’t need judgement, shame and pain because they already have enough of that going on.
hello everybody and welcome to finding peaks um i am your host today president and founder christopher burns also known as uh motivational specialist got it yeah got it man we’re moving up from company cheerleader yeah i got the promotion to motivational speeches it’s a pretty big deal you worked hard though yeah yeah thank you man yeah i appreciate that and we have our admission specialist tris sanson sampson grateful to have her on the show just an amazing professional we’re going to get to check in with today and just really grateful to be in this room because we actually all started our professional careers at the same spot we were sitting kind of talking before the show and how meaningful it’s been to kind of form the shape of our heart on the ground level is kind of infantry soldiers ccas techs house managers jason was over in a psych unit down the road tris was over at cottonwood day tucson and so i was at decision point center and really cut my teeth there and just grateful to be around some professionals that form the heart in the trenches and have really carried that into their higher level positions so we’ll just get it going today um we got tris to my right and tris what was unique in your experience at cottonwood day tucson when you first got that tech position and you started to see kind of client facing what pain and shame and mental health look like front and center what was that like for you sure so to be honest i didn’t know a whole lot about the industry i started as an intern at a local sixth grade trying to educate sixth graders on substance abuse the fact that they were interested in it i think it’s an incredible way to start that’s kind of what sparked my interest immediately because
i feel like if you wait too long you wait till high school you wait till you know problems are already arising and no one wants to talk about them so the engagement out of the classes that we got was really really incredible um and then yeah so i started as a tech and they told me that i was going to be working with the adults and i thought that i was going to be working with our youth program and i was immediately terrified like i don’t know how to do that i can’t do that i’m in early college i’ve you know my friends are going out every night and i can’t be doing this and all of a sudden you know the more i got to know our clients the more i got to be working i mean i was working like an animal i was working like 50 hours a week just because i loved going to work and when they needed extra people or they needed somebody to step in and i knew something about a client or i knew that a client was suffering who i had rapport with it was so easy to jump in and to acknowledge what was going on and to be like well i can i can make a difference and that was huge um no matter the age no matter the background you know the vulnerability of recovery came up immediately and the dynamic of going to college and seeing the issues with addiction and the issues just with drugs being plentiful everywhere but also going to work at a recovery center every day was tough yeah it was really tough and it made a huge impact on my life yeah and i’m sure you see too with like you’re going into the party scene and then you’re going out as a result the the outcomes of the party scene very quickly um and shout out to university of arizona bear down bear down bear down here we go number eight in the country right now so but i really like that too and having been able to start with young people you bring up a really great point to see the opportunity we have to shape young people and they are just like clay in our hands and then you get to transition into working with adults and it’s been my experience that it’s a lot like that as well because you’re building from the foundation up in a new way of life so it’s a really special process to be a part of to your point so thank you for checking in with that jay what was it like you for you right down the road in 1990 yeah the 1900s um i mean you asked that’s a good question i went to when i went to college my first degree was going to be in geology um and then i figured out that rocks were cool but like i liked people more so i switched over to psychology um so i got i got a really powerful bachelor degree in psychology which led me to print t-shirts for two years veggie tales t-shirts as a matter of fact but then you know pretty soon after that i’m like okay i do want to pursue this a career in mental health so i got a job as a behavioral health tech it was called um at a place called saint francis hospital here in town it doesn’t even it’s yeah it doesn’t exist anymore the actual building doesn’t but um and i remember you know i kind of walked on the job and you know it was a locked unit like you have to be buzzed in and and got report from a nurse and then suddenly i’m on the floor and i’m like this is it is such a transition to kind of know cognitively about schizophrenia or about mania or about substance withdrawal and then you know as a 20 whatever year old back in the 1900s it was wild to just like see all of those things in real life um and to recognize too uh that people were way beyond those descriptors you know what i mean like those were humans those were really people that you know their their brain may not have been working as well as it could have been um but they had families and they had ambitions and they had hopes and they were severely mentally ill that’s why they were in a psych unit and um and so walking through that process and actually not to really date myself um and take it on a tangent but we had a smoking room in the hospital on this third floor there was a room we let them in there was a little lighter on the sticker thing on the wall yeah and you stuck the cigarettes as they do in prison in there yeah you hold you held a little button down it was like an old car cigarette lighter anyway now i feel really old but like they don’t even make them anymore um but it really kindled that that passion and desire to um to really help people and it and it spurred me into getting a master’s degree because i knew i didn’t want to be a tech forever as as enjoyable as it was honestly and and um you know in some ways i do look fondly back on it as well because it was just uh you never knew you’re gonna get any given day for sure it was always a wild ride yeah yeah yeah that’s really cool both your experiences too and just to like you don’t know what it’s like working with a vulnerable population until you’re sitting in front of a vulnerable population and then some some world views of mine right away collapse and i have a new perspective and i realize that i may have even got it wrong at some point and really what our vulnerable people need is connective care compassion love empathy they don’t need judgment shame and pain because they already have enough of that going on and so can you talk to me a little bit tris about how that heart formed at the ground level has really transitioned into where you are today as an admission specialist and what you get to do in a similar fashion with kind of a different part of the family system generally you know you’re talking to loved ones i know you’re talking to clients as well but what is that like that experience um now in this new position well not new position here at peaks but something you’ve been doing for a while now sure absolutely and i think a lot of it is like we almost become masters of reading between the lines is a huge part of my job right because you’re dealing with a lot of different dynamics whether you’re talking to grandma or uncle or cousin or scared friend or a client themselves every situation is going to be so different and trying to figure out where the client is at in all of that and what do they want is vital it’s vital and sometimes they won’t give it to you and sometimes you have to learn from family members to figure out why these people are on the phone with you right um but i think just going back to being a tech and being able to sit with clients and ask them questions as look i’m not part of your clinical i’m i’m not here as your treatment team i’m here just to help in any way that i can i’m here because i want to be here i’m here because i like public health i want to help people and that sounds so cliche but it starts to open up a bigger conversation of oh this person doesn’t have access to update my family and you know reach out to my clinicians or all these things and she’s just going to sit there and listen to me and i do take that approach a lot of times with families of it depends on who you’re talking to but a lot of times you’re talking to very very scared parents yeah um you’re talking to very very scared kids of their parents um and just being able to relate and ease in a way of
being able to back the program and i trust this program and i trust this program for specific reasons here’s a few of them and i don’t feel like it comes off clz and it’s very easy to speak the truth about it because our program is incredible and our clinical support and just the support of all teams involved is exponential so i just think that being able to get down on everyone’s level um very very quickly and have a conversation with somebody yeah i’m not pinpointing you know questions i’m not reading from a book i have a lot of things to draw off of basil based on our program if anybody has questions but my goal is to talk to them what do you want right what are you looking for yeah that’s really cool it actually reminds me of what madeline said you know just last week and she said listen first solve later listen first solve later and you just define that really eloquently i thought it was really awesome to to have that ability to sit in what i call and we were talking about last week which is like holding space for vulnerable people and intensified family systems and that can be really tough to do to not get in because you have the solution similar to madeleine similar to the entire admissions team you have the solution right here but to really sit back and listen i think just shows that compassion and the passion that you have for working with this population can you think of uh for our viewers and maybe families that are struggling watching this or loved ones that are struggling watching this can you talk about maybe a complex admission that you worked through and some fear that a family had and how you’re able to walk with them into care through connection empathy and grace true absolutely um you know every dynamic is really really tough um whether you’re talking specifically to a client but one that comes to mind i was working with a husband and wife that had been dealing with his addiction for a very very long time and the dynamic between her calling and just yelling about the addiction and i need him gone and i need him to you know get it together and all of these sorts of things but realizing and taking compassion for look you’ve been dealing with this for a long time and i’m going to empathize with that this isn’t easy and i hear that this is hard and being able to bring her down of this isn’t just on her you know and this isn’t just affecting him it’s affecting the whole family system and i talk to families about that often um take a second because this is also about you you’re not the ones putting you know substances in your body or whatever it is but this is affecting you yeah and so then i would get on the phone with him he’s like my wife’s gonna divorce me i’m so worried and that’s why i’m coming and all of these things and just super heightened but picking on okay can i use my phone okay how many times do i get to talk to people what does the bed situation look like you know what am i looking at and trying to draw back of the things that you’re talking about are very circumstantial they’re very um what’s the word for it
yeah superficial and this is not why you’re on the phone with me um and it’s tough especially because some of the our clients that call in are very intoxicated um and then all of a sudden the family dynamic grows yeah and brother starts calling you and mom starts calling you you got to talk to trey yeah yeah tris is chris is going to fix this yeah don’t call chris yeah everybody call tripp so they can say oh i am so-and-so’s brother and uncle and okay all right what is your role in this how can i help educate you right um and just putting as many of the family members at ease so that it is a possibility for somebody to receive care and he he did end up coming in yeah that’s that’s exceptional too and just i think what you say in that too and we’ve talked about this before i sat and did a show with jason in 2017 and he said the addict doesn’t want to be where he’s at it’s the last thing he wants on earth he wasn’t sitting there dreaming of being an addict or somebody who copes with substances and so when the family calls and they’re intensified and the client gets on and he’s in they actually both want the same thing you know and that’s really holding space for them and guiding them into a position to see that yes we’re in fear yes we’re angry yes we’ve been hurt yes it’s a lot but we all want the same thing i can assure you there’s nobody beating themselves up as bad as the person that needs this help right right and once we start to understand that and empathize with that then you can kind of create that conduit and that channel to really get people in the door and get the resources that they need so that’s beautiful thank you thank you jason what has it been like what do you take from that early early experiences at the psych unit and carry with you today and it’s been a long time and the field has progressed from then in a tremendous way and specifically peaks recovery but what are some of those things that you keep um that you formed in those early stages of your career
you know chris i think the thing that i that i i you would recognize it’s still about me if you if you had been there if it were filmed like i just like to sit and talk to people and it is why um you know when when you’re in that world like they they put me on like swing shift um through the weekends because like that’s where yeah that’s where the action was um and they knew that like i was down for whatever and not i mean i was also trying to learn a lot but i also wanted to learn and collect stories from people too because that’s how i learned talking to somebody and watching how um how they present and what they’re wrestling with and seeing what kind of interventions even at that level were helpful um and so i think what i pulled from that is is that exact curiosity in that that care um element um because again same thing nobody wants to be in a psych hospital tell you that nobody nobody is like oh it’s so great you know the food is yeah yeah you get these great slippers um it’s not that’s not it um and so you know walking people through that and and you know i can we could spend two hours and me telling stories from that and that was back you know that’s over 20 years ago that i was there but it was so impactful in carrying around some of those stories that people came in and shared um was just incredibly powerful i think yeah yeah it’s really beautiful those those small meaningful moments of connection and i think brandon our ceo was telling me last week that we admitted into peak’s recovery last year something like 200 clients 1200 and something clients that means that last year i sat in front of 1500 people and had a cup of coffee i mean like my world view and my our ability to expand and get to know people face to face with different world views and different walks of life has just been so precious and so meaningful to i know everybody in this room and i think that’s ultimately what makes peaks so special is that there isn’t a person on this 90-person multi-disciplinary team that isn’t willing to take their heart out and put it on the table and have a conversation around it yeah and that is special and i just thank both of you for not only being great humans but just phenomenal professionals um and engaging our clients and the people that we serve with authenticity compassion um and love it’s really really cool and um i kind of want to end with this so the uh the first i’m going to give a little shout out here so the first person that i ever sat in front of with a decade sober and a graduate degree um was one of my good friends lenny siegel and he’s the owner of pace recovery in huntington beach and i just remember sitting in front of him in a cottonwood day tucson and i said to myself i’ma take your job you know and i didn’t take his job but i assume the same role as he does today and tris has quite a bit of experience with lenny and just want to give him a shout out because he’s one of those big hearted professionals that i think are few and far between these days and just want to say shout out to lenny i appreciate you and i thank you all for coming on the show today jason it’s always great i just love these uh meaningful opportunities to connect with you guys on just a different level outside of the workspace so that’s all we got today with finding peaks as i turn up the voice find us uh on your on all of your social media outlet instagram facebook the other one podcast what else are we doing oh i got a tick tock i follow peaks on tick tock follow us on tick tock we’re on there as well jason you’re on tik tok i just got on top we got a tick tock like two days ago i’m going to get on tape yeah i don’t understand it yeah i’ll show you okay so thank you so much make it great