We’ve got a pretty fantastic team here at Kimberly Keiser and Associates (if we do say so ourselves).
But it’s one thing for us to say it, and another thing for you to experience it yourself. That’s why we’ve started an employee spotlight series here on our blog. We want you to get to know our therapists in Sioux Falls a little bit better — and we want to get to know you, too!
In our previous employee spotlight, we interviewed Alla Jones. Check out our Q&A with Alla.
This time around, we chatted with Jill Walerius, MSW, CSW-PIP, LAC. A longtime Sioux Falls resident with a dual license in social work and addiction counseling, Jill has a heart for helping her clients overcome addiction, trauma, or anything else holding them back in life.
Without further ado, meet Jill Walerius!
How long have you been working for Kimberly Keiser and Associates, and what is your role?
I’ve been here for about two years. I am dually licensed as a clinical social worker and an addiction counselor.
I’m a psychotherapist specializing in sexual health — sexual trauma, sexual abuse, sexual dysfunctions, etc. I work a lot with mental health issues; I specialize in addiction too, whether chemical or behavioral (out-of-control sexual behavior, alcoholism, things of that nature).
I also focus on trauma therapy, like post-traumatic stress disorder — really anything that’s happening in your lifetime that’s having an impact on your overall functioning.
What brought you to Kimberly Keiser and Associates?
Before I came here, I did outpatient counseling in Avera’s addiction recovery area, so I spent a lot of time working with co-occurring disorders (for instance, people who have mental health issues along with addiction issues).
I came here to be able to work more deeply with people in terms of their backgrounds and experiences with trauma. I’ve always wanted to work on sexual trauma and childhood trauma; I wanted to branch out a little more, rather than focus solely on addictions.
I saw the job posting from Kimberly Keiser and Associates and thought, Ooh, that sounds really interesting! I had liked working in the addiction recovery area, but it was just so short-term with a lot of clients that it was hard to develop a deeper relationship. Looking at the job posting, I thought, This is more deep-level. The complexity of the position was just so intriguing.
My colleagues were familiar with Kimberly Keiser and knew she was great to work with, so I felt really good about applying. After meeting her, I thought, This is a perfect fit — exactly what I’m looking for.
Describe a typical day at the office.
Most of my days are spent individually working with people. The issues I see differ from day to day, so that’s the fun part about it!
We do trainings about three times a week, and I have regular supervision to help with any questions I have. If I get a free hour, I usually spend it learning more, whether that’s reading about something or trying to build more on my existing skill set.
What’s your favorite thing about working for Kimberly Keiser and Associates?
Working in this practice really challenges you as a clinician. You’re never comfortable, and it’s impossible to be complacent, which is where I never wanted to be. You’re consistently wanting to learn more, whether in terms of working with clients, learning how to treat trauma, or anything else.
Kimberly is very good about teaching our team how to treat the whole gamut of sexual health issues that we see. So just the practice itself is really set up for us to be successful.
What’s special about the practice here is that we really target the sexual component. Kimberly is really good about getting us the education so we can feel comfortable and competent in working with all these issues.
The reason I’ve stayed here is not only that environment that is continually challenging me as a person, but also that I really enjoy this piece of getting to develop a close, intimate relationship with clients. Being able to get to know clients on a deeper level, where there’s trust and safety, being able to see them start somewhere and make progress — it’s so huge. I really enjoy being able to see their growth.
How would you describe the team and environment at your office?
There’s so much respect and admiration for each other here, both professionally and personally. It’s just a warm, caring, nurturing environment, where we’re all working together, truly as a team.
Everyone is so talented here. We learn so much from each other just from talking and sharing. We’re always saying, Oh, I never thought of it that way!
It’s also just fun. We like each other; we get along with each other. We spend a lot of time just joking around, which is really great, because a lot of our work can be intense — so it’s nice to bring that humor into the environment too.
It’s so nice to know there won’t be any tension at work. I don’t have to worry about conflict with someone or not getting along, because we all do. We’re all grown-ups here!
What do you like to do for fun outside of work?
I like to do yoga. I enjoy working out, whether that’s going for runs, going to the gym, really any kind of exercise.
I enjoy doing fun things with my family. I also really like to be outside — going for walks or rides on the motorcycle.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I would just say making it through school! It was a long road. My master’s program was really challenging; I had a newborn at the time, and I was working a lot. I went to grad school in Omaha, so I commuted there every week. So that itself was like, Wow, I got through this!
Of course, getting my licenses too — those tests are always stressful. But I would say getting my master’s degree was the biggest accomplishment for me, both personally and professionally.
Going through that experience helped me get to where I am today. Doing the work I’ve always wanted to do, being where I’ve always wanted to be — I feel so fortunate to be able to use my degree in an area I love.
What would you say to someone considering counseling in Sioux Falls?
Go for it! There’s nothing to lose; there’s everything to gain.
I’ve found it to be truly empowering to learn so much about yourself and know that you have that inner strength to get through whatever it is you’re going through. You learn that through counseling.
Sometimes you can feel stuck, and you’re not sure where to go, but counseling helps you build on that strength and learn to be a better, healthier person overall.
What would you say to someone considering Kimberly Keiser and Associates specifically?
The talent that’s here — we’ve all been through so much, and we’re all so diverse in our experiences, both personally and professionally. There’s a lot to be gained by working with a therapist here.
We make a point of reducing the stigma around mental health and sexual health. People often think they’re alone in these issues, so coming to this practice, it’s so warm, so welcoming. We’re accepting of everyone, no matter what’s going on it your life, no matter where you’ve been.
We’re here to help, and we feel confident that we can help you with anything you’re struggling with.
Whether you work with Jill or any of our other therapists, we really are confident that we can help you tackle anything getting in your way of having a happy, healthy life. If you’ve been considering counseling in Sioux Falls, learn more about what it’s like to work with us.
We hope you enjoyed getting to know Jill in this employee spotlight post. To learn more about her educational and professional background, view Jill’s team page. And stay tuned for future staff Q&As!
If you are interested in working with Jill or any of our other therapists in Sioux Falls, please contact us for more information by calling 605-274-0095 or by filling out our contact form.