Member Spotlight



Member Spotlight

What is your name?
Jonathan (Jon) Buffington

What TCA Chapter/Division are you a member of?
South Tennessee Counseling Association and TAAOC

How long have you been a member of TCA?
About 1.5 years.

How has TCA influenced your career or practice?
TCA is allowing me to network with different providers with a different background in practice. This allows for diversity of thought and consideration with the populations we work with as well as better collaboration in advocacy for the clients I (we) serve in this rural area.

Share a little bit about your background and your journey to becoming a counselor.
Counseling is a 2nd(or 3rd?) career for me. In my 20’s I was in hospitality management and also a chef. Working nights, weekends and holidays along with 60-70hr work weeks left me very unfulfilled. I wanted to do something meaningful and after a long period of soul searching and consulting with family and friends, I decided to pursue social work. I knew I wanted to work in addictions primarily however I have had the opportunity to work with severe and persistently mentally ill homeless persons in Nashville, I have worked in collaborative recovery courts, inpatient/detox centers as well as in outpatient settings as both a primary therapist and a family therapist. I am an alumnus from MTSU with both a bachelors and a masters in social work, a licensed clinical social worker and also a licensed alcohol and drug abuse counselor.

What is your current work setting?
I am currently the program director at Bradford Health Services in Manchester.

Do you have a specialty or a particular area of interest?
I love working with addictions as well as with families and family systems.

Take us through a typical day for you in your current position.
My day varies depending on the current needs but generally managing the clinical operations of an outpatient substance abuse facility. I provide supervision, training, hiring, develop and maintain programming, ensure compliance with state and regulatory requirements as well as with MCO requirements and often fill in as needed for group therapy. I love direct care and family systems work with the family members of our clients weekly and also facilitate an alumni support group weekly.

Do you have any career or practice aspirations moving forward?
Yes! My current schedule has me working a 4 day work week (4 10hr shifts) so I am in the process of beginning a part-time private practice which I hope to launch in February. I would also like to continue to offer my experience in diverse workplaces with consulting as well as continue to deliver educational presentations at conferences.

What advice would you give a counselor-in-training entering the field?
Make self-care your top priority. I have seen fantastic counselors leave this career due to the inability to maintain proper self-care. This is a tragedy. Understand this is a job and it cannot be your life. Have things in your personal life that bring you joy, meaning and value.

Is there anything that I didn’t ask you that you would like to share with your fellow TCA Members? Understand that we work in an underappreciated, underpaid and overworked career. I want to validate that you provide a most needed and valuable service and are doing noble work. I am honored to be amongst you all in this profession of serving others.


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