Bellevue Grad is Saving Lives, Supervising the Life-Savers, and Sharing the Life-Saving Vision with Her Family
By Dan Sheridan
Going on 13 years now, Diane Braun has been an Adult Behavioral Health Clinical Supervisor with Lutheran Family Services (LFS) in Omaha, Nebraska. Established in 1892, LFS through its Children, Community, and Behavioral Health services helps over 45,000 people per year fulfilling a mission to “express God’s love for all people by providing quality human care services that build and strengthen individual, family and community life. Our vision is safety, hope and well-being for all people.”
Diane helps LFS deliver on that mission thanks, in part, to three degrees she has earned at Bellevue University. The most recent of these, her crowning achievement, a Master of Science in Clinical Counseling. Today, Bellevue University’s program has earned CACREP accreditation status, which stands for the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, and is considered the national “gold standard.” Bellevue University’s CACREP-accredited program is one of the few in the nation that is fully online.
Diane’s supervisor at LFS, believing she’d make a great counselor, encouraged her to get her master’s degree, and despite the obstacles she faced, she rose to the challenge. Diane, then a single mother of two, worked full-time and went to school full-time, both online and on-campus. She encourages single mothers in her situation to do the same.
“Bellevue University is accommodating,” says Diane, “they understand the non-traditional student realizing we have a life besides our education and they make things accessible to us so we can do both, or in my case all three – work, go to school, and be a parent.”
Diane, in addition to loving Bellevue University’s program, sings the praises of its professors who made her transition from the classroom to real life seamless.
“I love the faculty,” boasts Diane, “they had so much knowledge, knew what they were talking about, and made the lessons practical, showing us how we can use them when we were in the actual field. Dr. Jon Kayne is my mentor and I am so grateful that I get to continue to work with him in the outside world. I remember the first day I walked into my master’s class, I was so nervous wondering if I should take this big step, I just wanted to run out of the room instead. Then in walks Dr. Kayne calming me through his wisdom by saying ‘the first thing you have to learn how to do is just listen; let them tell their story.’ I never turned back after that. Those simple words stuck with me.”
Diane has found these words of wisdom are not only valuable in working directly with clients, but they are essential in working with staff to help inspire them to be the best they can be.
“I now supervise our entire substance abuse program in the eastern region,” says Diane, “I supervise 10 therapists some of whom recently graduated from Bellevue. I get to help them grow and it’s all by listening to what they have to say.”
Diane still works with her Bellevue University mentor helping first responders.
“Dr. Kayne is Nebraska’s statewide director for the Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) team,” she said, “They help first responders who have been involved in incidents which have adversely affected them emotionally or physically, and I am one of the state trainers for that program.”
Diane has had the privilege of helping many people throughout her career. One recent case provides a snapshot of the work she does best.
“I sit on the drug court for Dodge County as one of the treatment team clinicians dealing with those with substance abuse and mental health issues. About three weeks ago a man in his mid-50s was graduating from drug court. During the ceremony his mother stood up to speak, looked us all in the eyes, and thanked us for saving her son’s life. She said, ‘My son would be dead if it wasn’t for you.’”
You can find out more about what Diane is doing at https://www.lfsneb.org/
You can find out more about Bellevue University’s CACREP-accredited Master of Science in Clinical Counseling program here: http://www.bellevue.edu/degrees/master/clinical-counseling-ms/