Meet Parker Roberson – Intake Clinician

By Sonya Schweitzer

Growing up around social workers and case workers, Parker Roberson always knew he’d follow in his family’s footsteps, but didn’t quite know what role would fit him best. He explored public policy and counseling as he completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work. When he moved to DC, Parker found his true passion — working with those suffering from substance use disorders.

Here at Samaritan Inns, Parker serves as our Intake Clinician for the Intensive Treatment Program. When we get new clients, Parker is the first person from Samaritan Inns they meet.

“When I first talk with [clients], I try to make sure that they feel stable and safe. Getting into a new place can be pretty hard,” Parker shared. “[They’ve] had some pretty low areas of their life and [experience] some amount of desperation, but also a good deal of hope as well.”

Most of our clients come from the Assessment and Referral Center for the Department of Behavioral Health (ARC where many voluntarily check in. A majority of our clients are homeless or have experienced a recent traumatic event. Some come through DC’s drug court, a process which requires them to check in routinely with a parole officer and will sometimes have additional court dates. Beyond the ARC, many also come from the Psychiatric Institute of Washington (PIW). Most PIW clients have spent a week detoxing from alcohol and opiates, the two most dangerous drugs to detox from. Beyond the difference in motivations for joining our program, substances used, or circumstances around their addictions, many clients, if not most, are dealing with co-occurring disorders.”

During the intake process, Parker works to gather information from the institutions from which they are coming from and the clients themselves. He will also discuss any dietary restrictions and medical needs they may have, including any disabilities or medications.

Once he gathers the information needed to create a safe and stable environment for the clients, Parker works with them to establish goals for their time in our treatment program. Parker feels this moment plays a key role in getting them to open up and be comfortable with our staff.

“It’s obvious that people are just looking for connection and to be heard in some capacity. And so even in just telling their story of why they’re seeking treatment and what they want out of their life going forward can kind of in some ways settle people because it’s the first time that they both have felt like they can share their story and have someone listen to it,” Parker explained.

While in the program, Parker continues to check in with clients and often helps place them in our transition or other programs, establishes plans if they are going home, and makes sure that they successfully continue in their recovery. Working with them throughout the process enables him to see their healing process firsthand.

“Getting regular and consistent meals and sleep, and emotionally just being able to share and be listened to, is really night and day,” Parker shared. “And so, I think a lot of people leave hopeful and feeling like they have a team behind them that cares for them.”

Thanks to staff like Parker, and supporters like you, Samaritan Inns is able to help restore hope for the most vulnerable in our community as they begin their road to recovery.


Meet another staff member: Keith Johnson – Counselor

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