(or, “An Old Dog Plans to Learn a New Trick!!”)

I recently got a wild hair to do something I have wanted to do for many, many years. Time never seemed to permit such a lark, what with working two careers and raising two fabulous children. (I like things in TWOs – being a Gemini, perhaps).

So, my new adventure is this: I am moving to Northampton, Massachusetts (home of Smith College School of Social Work, among many other colleges and universities in a 15-mile radius) to open a Bed and Breakfast in a Second Empire Victorian1 beauty built in 1868. The house is in a historic district three blocks from downtown shops and restaurants in the quirky, progressive, academic town of Northampton. One of its claims to fame is that the first Mayor of Northampton lived in the house in the late 1880s.

The underlying impetus for my move out East is that my adult kids live in New York City and Boston. I am thrilled to be getting closer to them, which will allow us to see each other more frequently and more often on their turf (which, by the way, are both extremely fun turfs to visit).

My adventure also means becoming even more mobile in my law practice. As I have been doing with Louisiana mental health defense for the last nearly three years since moving to Denver, I will be continuing my law practice in Colorado and Louisiana.

I will be available for tele-consults for clinical risk prevention and/or grievance defense, and I will be visiting the Denver area probably 4 to 6 times a year to provide training in the area of The Troublesome Interface of Legal and Clinical Issues. I will continue to vigorously defend clinicians in Colorado with all types of DORA grievances and in Louisiana with licensing board Complaints (and my happy law = adoption!). I will also continue to write my mental health newsletters and strive for approximately monthly distribution, although some months fly by. I will keep attending DORA mental health board meetings when in town.

I will not be moving for another couple months, so you will see me around here for a while longer. I will remain active with the NASW/CSCSW Joined Committee on Practice Standards either by attendance at meetings when I am in town or by tele-attendance, as some of our local members do on occasion.

I look forward to making French toast (to accompany the French Second Empire theme of the house!) with fresh maple syrup from the surrounding farms, multi-ingredient honeyed granola (like I baked in college – yummy), frittatas and, of course, good ole New Orleans café au lait. I mostly look forward to the interactions with the guests who come to see their college students, or pick apples in the astonishingly beautiful Fall, or whatever. Please come visit me in Northampton!

People ask me if I have experience with any of this, to which I reply that I do not. But, hey, I am a clinical social worker and forming relationships with people is one of our most essential and important attributes. Plus, I am an optimist and believe in living our dreams.

Who knows how a dream will turn out, but unless we take the risk to explore our larks, we will only be dreaming about them. Life is short and can be so rich if we live it to the fullest. Why not?

I have a really good feeling that this adventure will be a winner!! (as my incredible mom would say – by the way, you guessed it. She was also an optimist!)

So, please come visit!! Discounts for Colorado and Louisiana folks!!

Til the next blog . . . live your dream and have a new adventure!!


1 For you architect aficionados, Wikipedia explains: Second Empire architecture in the United States and Canadais an architectural style known as “Second Empire,” most popular between 1865 and 1900, as it was practiced in the United States and Canada. Second Empire architecture developed from the redevelopment of Paris under Napoleon III’s Second Empire and looked to French Renaissance precedents. It was characterized by a mansard roof, elaborate ornament, and strong massing …

Join my mailing list to receive the latest news, insights and seminar information.

Deborah M. Henson