Faces of Rosecrance: Earl Curry

Earl Curry is a Primary Counselor at Rosecrance Griffin Williamson Campus, and has fifteen years’ worth of social work experience. He jokes that he got ‘tricked’ into this career field when he took a part-time job as a hall monitor in a school for at-risk youth, a job that made him realize his true passion. He switched his college major from broadcasting to psychology and sociology, and gained many years of experience working at residential group homes for children with severe mental health disorders. He’s currently pursuing his master’s degree in Human Services Administration through Judson University.

Earl’s use of humor in his counseling style resonates with the clients at Rosecrance. Earl recalls a time when he spoke with a comedian long ago. The comedian explained the key to comedy is being able to laugh at yourself, says Earl.

He adds, “I incorporate that into my own style of doing things. I try to use humor as much as I can, and I talk about myself. Because I talk about where I came from and my own struggles, it opens the door for people to relate to me more.”

Earl is quick to point at that this strategy won’t work for everyone in the field, and that being a counselor to treat substance abuse issues is a complicated task. “It’s tough because we try to set boundaries with the clients,” says Earl, “but I’ve been a counselor for a long time. It’s all about learning and adapting to people.”

Earl Curry, Primary Counselor at Rosecrance, talks about how he has seen a rise in clients’ social anxiety because of an increase in screen usage: “In modern society, you grow up looking at screens. When it comes to social interaction, there are a lot of subtle nuances that they miss, in reading people – when to ask questions, when to listen, things like that. I’ve read a lot of studies on how millennials communicate, and a lot of young people struggle with eye contact, tone of voice, and reading body language. There’s a shift in our culture.”

“Our clients have a hard time dealing with emotions. Once they get to an age where they have to really do some interpersonal communication and interact with real people, they realize it’s uncomfortable. Rather than step out of their comfort zone, they isolate. When these kids find drugs, their loneliness can lead to developing a substance abuse habit.”

“In a weird way, even though technology & ‘social media’ is supposed to help us socialize, it isolates us in the real world sometimes. When people leave treatment at Rosecrance, I’ve heard them say the best part about the program was giving them a chance to truly interact with other people for the first time.”