Hey there! My name is Michelle Lasky and I am Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Florida. I am so honored to be a part of this growing community and am so thankful that Caitlin has asked me to share some of my story with you all. I graduated with my Master’s of Social Work in 2010 and have been practicing clinically ever since! Being a social worker is central to my identity and I take a lot of pride in the work that I do. Becoming a social worker definitely wasn’t something that I always knew I wanted to do, but once I found this profession, I knew I had found my calling.
Growing up, I always loved helping people. For a long time, I wanted to be a teacher. Then in middle school, I wanted to be an attorney focusing on family law. Then, I wanted to be a United Methodist minister. I saw helping people and connecting with others as a spiritual calling and thought that leading others in connection and faith would be a good fit. I started college as a religious studies major, but pretty quickly found a love for sociology. As my college career went on, I became less interested in organized religion and more focused on advocating for societal change while connecting with individuals on a micro level. In 2008, as I was preparing to graduate with my Bachelor’s degree, the great recession hit. I decided the most effective use of my time would be to pursue a Master’s degree, but the question was what to study. I began looking at jobs online that appealed to me and saw that most required a social work or a counseling degree. I decided to read about social work and found the National Association of Social Work website. Once I read the ethics for social workers, I was hooked! The values and principles resonated so deeply with my own that I felt that I had found the career that I was looking for.
To explain all of the experiences and influences that lead me to care so deeply for social justice and individual connection would take me far too long (and would surely bore you), but needless to say, I had many experiences confronting social issues and seeing the impact of policy on individuals. I felt passion to be a part of the solution. I also had personally struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember, traumas from childhood, and my parent’s divorce as a teenager. I had the privilege of having many resiliency factors that helped me through those experiences including access to therapy. I first saw a therapist in college to assist with my anxiety and to help me with developing boundaries in my family relationships that were causing me stress. I then saw a therapist in my mid-20s to continue to work on boundaries and to cope with stress and anxiety related to changes in my friendships. I went again in my late 20s when my anxiety ramped up again after being triggered by some work stress. I just recently began therapy again after having a very stressful 2020 which obviously included pandemic stress. I believe that being able to ask for and receive help in a timely way, with an empathetic person, has been essential to my growth and healing.
Even though we have seen great strides in society with increasing an understanding of empathy towards mental health and addiction recovery, I still know that so many people face feelings of shame and stigma associated with asking for help. I hope that I can contribute my knowledge, insight and experience to support the mission of this community. It’s important that communities, like the one being built here, exist. We need each other. We need empathy and connection. As my social worker hero Brene Brown has written, “We don’t have to do all of it alone. We were never meant to.” Welcome. We are so glad you are here.