Witnessing changes in his clients – seeing them plan, grow and achieve their goals is what fuels Michael Lichtenberg’s passion for his work. “This is what’s amazing!” he says. “These are the nuggets of gold for me. I get excited to see change happen!” Michael became involved with Community Counseling Center as a Lewis & Clark College graduate intern 10 years ago. He was hired as a marriage and family therapist in 2013. Michael sees his work as a calling.
“I love being a marriage and family therapist,” Michael says. “I remember telling my wife, after finishing my internship, how important it was to me that I work here.” As an advocate for people, Michael appreciates CCS’s commitment to strong family values and belief in the resilience of people.
As a therapist, Michael teaches people how to counsel themselves, work through problems, recognize strengths and weaknesses, and how to build new social supports. In working with his clients, it is his goal “to help them become self-sufficient but also interconnected and relying on community for mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.”
Michael is also a strong advocate for social change. He hopes to have an impact by challenging bias, bigotry and injustice in its many forms.
Michael and his family have been living in Portland since the early 70’s. He commutes to Salem, spending many hours weekly in his car. “When I tell people that I travel an hour both ways to get to work, they often ask if I could find something closer. Well probably yes; however I love it here,” he says. Michael values the empathetic care that CCS employees offer others. “I love the people I work with and the community that I am privileged to care for daily.”
Michael learns from his colleagues, his own studies and his clients. “I remember the advice of my first clincal supervisor, who said to me, ‘You know, Michael, I think the most valuable thing I’ve learned over the years as a therapist is ‘Walking your talk.’ It’s not what people hear you say, it’s what you do along with what you say. They watch you and want to see that you are authentic.’”
If Michael could share one piece of advice of his own for anyone coming to work at CCS, it’s, “Be open. Be yourself. Be aware of the gifts and attributes that you bring to the table. Together, we can make a difference in our community.”