Woman of Distinction: Local business owner Mildred Rodriguez receives honor

Published 10:01 am Saturday, August 27, 2022

Sulphur small business owner Mildred “MIlle” Rodriguez, MS., LPC-S, has been named a Woman of Distinction. Her small business, Possibilities Counseling Services, offers individual, family and group therapy and conducts psychosexual, anger management, drug and alcohol assessments. Rodriguez also supervises McNeese interns.

“During the vetting process, it was noted that along with exceptional reputation, Rodriguez has also maintained a positive peer rating,” according to information from the national organization that highlights the professional accomplishments and stories of today’s best and brightest women. She has made her mark on her profession.”

Next month, she continues to make her mark when she speaks at the National Conference of Forensic counselors regarding her work to help the formerly incarcerated successfully and safely re-enter society.

“The need is staggering when you consider the data for Louisiana,” Rodriguez said. “More than 70,000 people are on probation or parole, and an additional 18,000 are released from prison every year. Of those, 43 percent will return within five years, in part because of lack of funding for this transition period.”

Studies have shown that changing just one aspect of a formerly incarcerated person’s life can pay dividends for the individual and society when the savings in public assistance and crime reduction are considered.

“The re-entry challenges are immense for this population, and particularly for sex offenders, as most men and women with such convictions will be stigmatized for the rest of their lives.”

Even in cases where the offense is an inappropriate text, the offender can face the same challenges as a rapist.

“As a result of how they are treated, and because of the challenges associated with finding jobs, a place to live, reconnecting with family members, a high percentage will become homeless, drug-addicted or recurring offenders. When that happens, society pays another price and these lives are lost again.”

In other work with families and teens, Rodriguez has discovered the drawback of teletherapy in certain populations.

“It has its place, she said, “but it does limit body cues, which the therapist can use to get an overall sense of the person’s mood. For adolescents, teletherapy can cause anxiety about being overheard or not having a private area to talk.”

Her practice involves the use of a cognitive-behavioral approach, a therapy that focuses on replacing the problematic behavior with a more effective behavior.

“While I can’t change the difficult situations of the past, I can work with clients in an effort to help them better understand and create coping skills to resolve future challenges,” she said. “By applying complementary therapy approaches and techniques, it’s possible to unearth long-standing behavior patterns or negative perceptions. These patterns and perceptions can hold us back from experiencing a more fulfilling and meaningful life.”