Thomas Southerland obtained his B.A. in Business Marketing and Psychology, but after a brief stint of working in the marketing field, knew he would go on to pursue career options where he could apply his studies of the mind and behavior. He also considered options in counseling and academia, while working two and a half years as a social worker at a nursing home in Hickory, North Carolina. This would cement his plans to pursue social work. Thomas went on to obtain his MSW from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and moved to Chicago shortly thereafter.
Not long after his move, Southerland started at Trilogy as a Transitional Coordinator, assisting individuals with mental illness in moving out of nursing institutions and transitioning into community settings where they could lead more independent lives. In his time at Trilogy, he has worked in different programs and progressing roles, all of which gave him a broad understanding of management and healthcare for individuals in mental health recovery. Now, as Clinical Director of the South Shore and Lawndale locations, Southerland applies this encompassing understanding of care to oversee direct client services.
Not surprisingly, the provision of such varied services in uniquely different neighborhoods requires him to wear different hats. Southerland believes that this flexibility is intrinsic to many social workers. He says that the field of social work attracts individuals who are willing to help those facing very difficult times in their lives, and those difficult times are as varied as they are unpredictable. To him, social work means staying flexible, being creative, and adapting quickly to the fluctuations life throws our clients.