Shining a Light on Paradigm Partners & Innovators in The Mental Health Field
Jennifer Taylor is practicing therapeutic educational counseling with an innovative, holistic approach.
If you’re a parent, coach, educator or mental health practitioner, you may already be aware of therapeutic educational consulting and its uses. But if the term seems a bit unfamiliar, an independent therapeutic educational consultant is basically a trained professional who assists students, families and organizations with educational planning. This may sound straightforward enough theoretically, but in practice the job is anything but simple. To be a truly great educational consultant, one must balance adaptive skill sets across multiple areas. Mental health, education, academics, life coaching, assessment, adolescent issues and recovery are just some of the areas educational consultants regularly touch upon while working with families and teens.
As the parent of adolescents who went through the process first-hand, renowned educational consultant Jennifer Taylor has a uniquely multi-faceted approach to her work. She is informed by personal experience, unrelenting professional curiosity, and the passion to provide families with the individualized support they need to see their children through one of life’s most challenging times. “I came to the realization that I wanted to be the change I wanted to see in the world, and that educational consulting was the way in which I could achieve that goal,” states Taylor, who is the President and Co-Founder of JET ED Consulting, a nationally recognized educational consultancy practice that goes above and beyond in the field. “Jennifer is extremely knowledgeable about the various types of placements, resources and programs available to clients and families,” says Dianna Walsh, Paradigm San Francisco’s Program Director.
Taylor came to the field of educational consulting from a background in healthcare and risk management, but her first encounter with the work was personal, not professional. When her teenage stepdaughter became suicidal and engaged in self-harming behaviors, Taylor and her partner turned to educational consultancy after numerous, unsuccessful outpatient efforts. This difficult decision for residential treatment helped their teen overcome her challenges, and Taylor is happy to report that today her stepdaughter is “a fabulous, beautiful musician,” crediting her recovery at least in part to the therapeutic educational consultant who helped guide her stepdaughter through that challenging time, and by extension the entire family. A year later, Taylor and her partner found themselves in need of educational consulting again, this time for her autistic son, who at 15, entered residential treatment.
It was during this time that Taylor found herself in a profound life moment, questioning her professional and personal life goals. What did she want from life? Where did she find meaning in her relationships? Her career? “At 50 years-old I found myself pondering what would be truly fulfilling for me. I took time off to contemplate these questions and really get to the bottom of what I wanted to do next,” said Taylor. She describes the shift as “a mindful midlife transition” – one that she came upon after personally experiencing the services of two separate educational consultants for her son and stepdaughter.
Once Taylor made the realization that this is what she wanted to do, she dove in without looking back. “I did what an 18-year-old starting a new career would do. I attended every conference I could, every training institute, every seminar, conducted informational interviews with all kinds of people in the field, dove into reading, networking and touring programs, and really just immersed myself in as much learning as I could.”
Taylor worked to build what she calls a real “nuts and bolts” understanding of admissions, mental health programs, residential and outpatient settings and the complex fabric of educational consultancy work as she understands it. When asked about what makes Taylor stand out as an educational consultant, Paradigm San Francisco Program Director Dianna Walsh had this to say: “Jennifer demystifies a process that can often feel overwhelming. Her willingness to get to know her clients and their families allows for more informed decision-making and advocacy, and her commitment to case management throughout the length of a placement is a great resource for families.”
Over the years Jennifer Taylor has assembled a wealth of both theoretical and practical knowledge, developing a truly unique approach to her work that builds upon her personal experiences as a parent. As is the philosophy here at Paradigm Treatment Centers, she believes that each and every teen is different and as such, they deserve tailored services and treatment specifically geared to meet their needs.
Taylor also cites her family’s owned and operated residential summer camp in Maine as a huge source of inspiration for her work. “I believe that summer camps are a missing link in adolescent development,” she stated, “that teaches kids peer relations, decision making, problem solving, independent living, routines, and making it in the wilderness. It’s preventative mental health.” Taylor’s big dream is to start a foundation that empowers lower income families to have access to the various treatment programs that are financially prohibitive. Taylor envisions a non-profit built around the goal of “getting mental health care to more people who need it.” Given her incredible achievements thus far, we feel quite certain her dream will become a reality.