Individual Solutions exists to help Individual’s create Solutions that work for them wherever they are on their unique path.
All my life I have been curious about people’s personalities and circumstances. As I got old enough to help, I focused on what might work for this person at this point in time. It is a never-ending fascination and source of fulfillment. Granted, ideas don’t always work and either people or circumstances may not be open to change. However, when an idea is tried and it creates a solution to someone’s need – magic.
So much of our lives is not our choice. We are born into a certain family, at a given time and place. The adults in charge of our early years shape our initial reality. The society we live in, and the language we speak, teaches us who we are in this world. And yet, we have choices. In little and bold ways, we make our decisions. We learn. We grow. We share. (Hence the offshoot of Individual Solutions is Learn.Model.Teach)
My career started in group homes for people with intellectual disabilities. As a home manager, and later a behavior management specialist, it was all about solutions for the individual. How do we help this particular person, with their unique constellation of needs, abilities, and personality traits thrive? I spent lots of hours observing, interacting, trying different approaches to get to a solution that worked for this person at this point in time. I cherished those colleagues who shared my enthusiasm for valuing people’s individual needs, personality quirks, and desires.
As I started my Master’s in Social Work I resonated with the phrase “start where the client is.” Training as a clinical social worker in my field placements, I learned new skills for assessment and intervention. After graduation, I worked with an incredible team at the Nisonger Center, OSU. This multidisciplinary team of professionals cared deeply about what was going on with each client and each family. I saw so much creativity and collaboration in those three years. This continues to be my model of how a team of professionals can work together.
I followed my time at Nisonger with work at a preschool for kids with special needs and then made the jump into mental health at an area mental health agency. Specializing in children and adolescents meant that I worked with kids at all different levels of development, with a variety of diagnoses, in every kind of family structure imaginable. In 2005, I moved into private practice and needed to name my business. Given my history, Individual Solutions LLC was an obvious choice.
The logo is a heart on a path. The heart represents an individual, and the path stands for one’s journey through life. I worked as a mental health therapist specializing in children and adolescents. I focused on helping kids, teens and families seek creative solutions that worked for them. I also offered training on child development and mental health in the field of child welfare. In 2017, I closed my private practice due to changes in the industry and in my personal life.
Now I work as a trainer, writer, and coach continuing to focus on child development, mental health and related topics. Individual Solutions is still the goal. I want to meet my participants where they are in their personal or professional life. I want to offer ideas to try, so that each person can create solutions for themselves or with the people they are helping. Each training group, each family, each person is different. What works for one will need to be altered to work for another to create truly individual solutions.
Laura A Gaines MSW, LISW-S
About Laura: Laura is a licensed independent social worker with supervisor designation in the state of Ohio. She has a passion for child and adolescent development, mental health, trauma informed care, resilience, and reducing self-harm.
Laura’s work experiences include working with adults and children with developmental disabilities, owning and operating a mental health private practice for children and adolescents for 20 years, as well as independent training and curriculum development.
Laura is an active trainer for the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program developing and providing training for caregiving parents, caseworkers and supervisors. She speaks at a variety of conferences and is available to develop and present training in her areas of experience. Her trainings are developed to be presented in person or via a virtual platform with strong experience in Zoom and GoToTraining.