Culture Is Why I Joined Green Hill – by Marcus Shumate

I am currently writing this entry from the comfort of my home office. That strikes me as an odd sentence to write; I never envisioned myself as the “home office” sort of fella. I am almost one month into this new career path and I think I may have finally gotten some footing so it seems like now would be a good time to reflect further on what pulled me to join the Green Hill team. 

Clinical work in recovery and after-care settings is unique in that you can really feel as though you are joining a client’s family system in some capacity for a short period of time. When this happens, it is natural to feel some allegiance to the client and family that can make referring them to a different program, at least for me, an anxiety-provoking experience.  But that said, I was uniquely interested in Green Hill as a referring clinician from my first meeting with their staff. It was truly exciting to make my first few referrals to them. 

Almost immediately, I found my anxiety alleviated by the amount of thought and care Green Hill put into building individual “scaffolding” around each client we referred to them. The anxiety was further removed by watching those same clients begin to flourish.  We loved hearing the positive feedback from the clients and their families about Green Hill. 

On a personal level, I knew from my first meeting with Tripp Johnson and some of the other members of the team that we shared a lot of mutual interests. Some of these interests were podcasts, books, and contemplative practices; but the interests were also things more intrinsic. I recognized a deep interest for innovation, curiosity, and willingness to “live on the cusp of failure.”

The early interactions with Green Hill offered an opportunity for serendipitous conversations with Tripp and others at Green Hill that continue to this day. I got to watch from outside the Green Hill leadership team innovate and build clinical models with which I was deeply aligned. I have long found it curious that the substance use treatment field has such little risk tolerance when it comes to helping young adults in addiction and mental health treatment. No one arrives in our care because they are having their best moment or making the best decisions. As such, I think we as a field tend to focus entirely too much on “symptom-reduction” in the form of chasing silly power struggles. I believe this has the unfortunate effect of defocusing on helping a client truly flourish and limits the ability to help a client achieve something truly meaningful.  

The clinical model at Green Hill is totally focused on helping a client achieve his respective goals and start to explore paths of deep meaning and substance. It is not simply about being sober. That part, while difficult, is doable.

The part that is really tough is figuring out how to build a life filled with passion, curiosity, and meaning. The fact that Green Hill is in downtown Raleigh, NC and surrounded by career and educational opportunities is a reflection that it is not simply about “symptom-reduction.” The clinical model is designed to help a client explore and develop his passions and curiosities that can provide a lifetime of meaning. 

Leaving my former place of employment was a remarkably difficult decision for me. I loved the team that I worked with. We spent years building close relationships that were a daily source of enjoyment and laughter for me. Yet, when the opportunity to join Green Hill became an option, I could not resist. At the end of the day, there was just too much alignment and too much opportunity for personal and professional growth. I am a big believer in the significant personal growth that can happen through a developed professional culture.

Before I joined, I sensed a chance for growth at Green Hill. Now that I am on the inside, I have experienced a culture that exists all the way from clients to the leadership team, and which is focused on flourishing –  personally and professionally. I am excited about all that the culture of Green Hill can bring to me, and those that we serve. 

And if you couldn’t tell, my favorite co-worker is equally excited about getting into the work.