Clinical DirectorVirginia“Our primary decision-making all comes back to ‘How is this going to benefit the client?’ There’s a can-do, problem-solving philosophy. Every decision is based on the best interests of the client.”
Pattie Schneeman is a licensed substance abuse treatment practitioner with 25 years of experience in the substance abuse treatment field. In her current position as clinical director with Phoenix House Mid-Atlantic, she oversees outpatient and partial hospitalization programs, training, and compliance.
Pattie has national and state certifications in addition counseling, a Bachelor of Science in Health Education from James Madison University, and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of South Carolina. She came to the field of addiction treatment while running a crisis hotline and taking courses at a local community college for her substance abuse certification. When she started doing volunteer work at a local public agency residential program, she said she fell in love with the program: “I really felt like I had come home to what I really wanted to do. I believe substance abuse and addiction touches everyone. When I saw clients changing and getting better, that was exciting to me.”
She then worked with an outpatient program treating deaf clients who were also struggling with substance abuse issues. She founded the student chapter of the Virginia Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors and served as treasurer of the state professional association. Prior to Phoenix House, Pattie worked as a substance abuse counselor for the Fairfax County Alcohol and Drug Services and served as assistant director for the Alexandria Mental Health Association.
After working at Phoenix House temporarily to fill in for a clinician on leave, Pattie started working at Phoenix House full time in 1996 and has been a part of the organization ever since. She could tell that the staff and the leadership made decisions based on the client’s benefit: “Our primary decision-making all comes back to ‘How is this going to benefit the client?’ There’s a can-do, problem-solving philosophy. Every decision is based on the best interests of the client.” She served as director of training and compliance and then director of admissions before moving into her current role as clinical director in 2010. As one of three clinical directors, Pattie is primarily responsible for overseeing the partial hospitalization and outpatient programs, and ensuring Phoenix House complies with CARF standards, regulations, and contract requirements.
Pattie says she still sees transformation. She remembers one recent client who was transported to Phoenix House by an ambulance, in a hospital gown and pushing a walker: “Two weeks later, he was walking around without a walker. He had life in his face and his eyes were shining, he was talking to people and remembering their names. That kind of transformation is just incredible to see.” She says hope is the most important quality that Phoenix House offers its clients: “That’s the most important thing they know when they walk through the door—there’s hope that things will change, and they can get well.”