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Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling: A Field of Opportunity with Christopher Richardson

POSTED: Nov. 04, 2021

My name is Christopher Richardson and I am currently the Chief Operating Officer for CHC Addiction Services Inc., based in Akron, Ohio. I graduated from the Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling Program in 2003. My experience in the program was very fulfilling. Before I started on the path of researching which program I wanted to explore, I had a lifelong goal of enhancing my competencies in substance abuse and mental health. 

Graphic of two people talking
As I started to learn more about the rehabilitation counseling program, I learned that it was not just about a specific type of specialization, but focused on assisting persons with both physical and mental disabilities across their lifespan from birth to geriatrics. For me it was a way to add more to my “career toolbox.” This intrigued me very much so because it would allow for me to be more versatile in a couple of ways. First, it would allow me to become more marketable when searching for employment. Second, it would allow me to be more beneficial to consumers who had a variety of counseling needs (e.g., vocational, substance abuse, mental health, etc.).

After I graduated, I’ve had several amazing opportunities. It was definitely a journey that led me to where I am today. I obtained employment working for a managed care organization as a field case manager. This job involved providing case management services to injured workers with the intent of helping them to return to gainful employment. My next employment opportunity led me down the path of working for a mental health agency as a mental health counselor. I provided counseling to both adolescents and adults. 

My next chapter led me to a position as a program manager where I had the opportunity to oversee a crisis center. The targeted population were persons with mental illness or who were chemically dependent. After eight years in that position, I had the opportunity of a lifetime as a COO, which transitioned into a CEO role of a federally qualified health center. The mission was to provide quality primary care to the underserved population in Summit and Portage counties. 

Five years later, I transitioned out of that role to where I am now as a COO of a mental health and addictions organization. 

When I think about my journey, I sometimes reflect on my experience in the Kent State clinical rehabilitation counseling program. Having the opportunity to learn about best practices, research, how to collect and analyze data, project management planning and working with teams was critical to helping me to get to this phase in my life. 

Christopher Richardson and his family
I am the last of eight kids. We were raised by our parents to create our own success and work hard. Six of us went on to college and obtain our degrees. Out of six of us, five attended Kent State University. My oldest sister worked at Kent State University for 25 years. So, I guess you could say my history with Kent State University goes back to my adolescent years. My wife and I have three children, ages 24, 22 and 15. Our two oldest obtained their bachelor's degrees from Kent State University. Our oldest is currently pursuing his master's degree in public health and is also participating in an assistantship. I can’t express how proud I am that our kids are continuing the KSU legacy by being Flashes themselves. 

The highlight of my career was being able to give back to KSU. I was afforded the opportunity to become an adjunct professor in the rehabilitation counseling program for a period of five years. It was an opportunity to take what I learned throughout my career and share with a great group of Flashes. It was truly a dream come true. 

FLASHES FOREVER!


Blog post written by Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling graduate Christopher Richardson.