A Bit About Me
Jackie started her career at Desert Aids Project, where she worked as a case manager to clients affected by HIV and mental health and addiction issues. She completed her practicum at DAP, providing individual therapy and case management to clients with co-occurring disorders. She moved to Los Angeles as an intern to work for LA Free Clinic (now Saban Free clinic), on a grant which provided social work support to a newly opened charter middle and high school. She developed the school’s first mental health program. This included: Student assessment for services and referrals, facilitating group therapy, individual therapy, crisis intervention and parent support groups. After this grant ended, she worked many years in community-based clinics, including: Didi Hirsch, Masada Homes and Eisner Pediatric. During this time Jackie worked with families, adolescents, and at-risk youth, providing bilingual therapeutic services
Her passion grew for working with marginalized groups and pursuing her skill set and knowledge to provide support to clients with addiction issues. She began working for UCLA’s Center for Behavioral and Addiction Medicine. She worked on medication clinical trials for the treatment of methamphetamine dependence as well as health studies working with people of color who are affected by HIV. Jackie was trained in providing cognitive behavioral therapy to clients enrolled in medication studies. Jackie provided direct oversight and supervision to the health navigators, enrolled in HIV prevention trials. During this time, she became a contracted therapist, working with San Francisco's department of public health. She was trained in motivational interviewing and began providing MI and case management to participants who were recently enrolled into sober living and were considered high risk. This included: adults with an alcohol and drug dependency, history of incarcerations, and who were at risk of contracting HIV.
Jackie eventually began focusing all of her clinical attention, working in the field of addiction.
"I think what makes me unique as a therapist is that I never stopped evolving in my practice. I consistently challenged myself to new environments, populations of people, and was trained on the modalities that could assist a client with change. As a therapist, my role is to help you find that motivation, build insight, and set goals to start seeing that change is possible. " Jackie Benavente