Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Paulette Romain, our Clinical Director of CGC’s Child Abuse Treatment Program and a steadfast advocate for children and families. For 20+ years, Child Guidance Center has ensured free access to critical treatment services for child/youth victims of crime, trafficking, violence and/or other abuses. To learn more about Dr. Romain and our child abuse prevention program, please keep reading!
Where did you grow up and where did you complete your training?
I am a California native. In fact, I still live very close to the home where I grew up in East Anaheim, which pleases my parents immensely since it means their grandkids are also close by! I received my BA in Psychology from Cal State Fullerton, my MA in Clinical Psychology at Loyola Marymount University, followed by the completion of my doctorate degree (PsyD) at Pepperdine University. I was first introduced to Child Guidance Center (20 years ago) when I worked as a predoctoral intern during my fourth year practicum placement.
Can you tell us more about the ChAT program and your current role at Child Guidance Center?
I have had the opportunity to work in a variety of roles and programs at CGC over the years. For the past 13 years, I have been the Program Director and Clinical Supervisor for the ChAT program. Like many of CGC's excellent mental health programs, ChAT provides no-cost therapy to children and youth in Orange County in English and Spanish. However, the ChAT program is unique in that it is funded through Cal-OES (California Office of Emergency Services) and involves delivering services strictly to child victims of crime. This includes either direct victimization (e.g., abuse, neglect, bullying) or witnessing a crime (e.g., domestic violence, homicide, DUI). It is now well understood that trauma and victimization in childhood can lead to impairments or delays in many areas of development and functioning. The purpose of ChAT and other victim-focused programs is to help children address and process these upsetting experiences early on to continue with healthy development, improve relationships, enhance safety, and prevent future victimization or abuse. Our ChAT therapists are well trained to do this successfully via psychotherapy, including utilizing the evidence-based practice modalities of TF-CBT and PCIT which involve the non-offending caregivers.
Why is CGC’s mission important to you?
I think that CGC's mission statement truly encapsulates who we are and what we do as an agency. The words empower and potential always stand out the most for me. I am a firm believer that every individual has unique gifts and contributions to make to society. As a child, one is still in the process of discovering what these are. Many of the children, youth, and families we work with have experienced events in their lives that have somehow temporarily derailed them and hindered their ability to access their strengths and gifts. Often, our role as their therapist is to empower clients by helping them tap into the strength that is already present within them and use it to work through life events, develop new coping skills, and reach their full potential. Helping one individual in turn can help a family, a community, and so forth in a ripple effect, thus helping to break the cycle of dysfunction/violence and create hope.
What is your favorite thing about working at CGC?
CGC allows me to do what I love in a supportive, professional environment. I honestly enjoy going to work, which is not something a lot of people can say. No matter how long I have been in the field of psychology, I am always learning new things and gaining new insights into human behavior and resiliency. The work can be challenging, but I feel I am making a meaningful connection and contribution to others. It is difficult to find an agency that practices what it preaches, but I believe CGC is successful in achieving just that. Our standards are high for our staff since we take our responsibility to clients and our reputation in the community seriously. However, we also offer a supportive network within the agency as well, with an intentional focus on collaboration, sharing of knowledge, and maintaining morale. Lastly, I appreciate that from the top down, we are forward-focused, open to adjusting as needed, and continue to find new, innovative ways to do things better and better. It is great to be part of a management team that has this philosophy, as it keeps things fresh and has led to many new opportunities.