Staff Spotlight: Jane Buffie
Twenty-six years ago, when Jane Buffie started at FSR as a therapist, our offices were on the second floor of the United Way Building. She was the first full-time, contracted worker with Olmsted County children’s mental health cluster through Family Service Rochester. Her work and responsibilities grew with the agency. She moved to outpatient therapy and supervising contracted children’s mental health case managers, adding family-based programs and all contracted case managers at Olmsted County. Eventually Jane began supervising most every program with a hand in most everything. - including Meals on Wheels and a large homemaker program. As other supervisors were added, she oversaw home services and clinical, finally becoming clinical director.
Three years ago, Jane decided it was time to step away from supervisory duties and step back to being a full-time therapist with a focus on older adults. For a variety of reasons, she says, therapists for this growing portion of the population is a need that remains largely unmet. She is seeing a lot of severe mental health concerns with seniors – mostly severe depression and related challenges with alcohol. Though some may have struggled with depression all of their life, life stage changes, loss, and health also play a role.
Of course, in twenty-six years she has seen changes in the organization – growth in services and staff along with the restructuring that comes to accommodate both. But what drew her to FSR has not changed: the way the work is done.What she found when she started was a different way of doing the work. “We weren't telling people what to do,” she says. “We were walking side by side with them and helping them find their path without prescribing what the family had to do. I love that we look at strengths. I love that. It was just a really good fit for me. I always say I feel like I landed in the land of misfit toys - everyone's like me.”