As the Clinical Director and a Licensed Marital & Family Therapist, Jennifer brings deep and highly personal insight to her work at 449 Recovery. As the center’s Clinical Director since August of 2014, Jennifer’s background includes growing up in a “recovery” home, where she often attended 12-step and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings at a young age, while tagging along with her parents. She credits this experience with helping her to better relate to and understand what many of the center’s clients are faced with. “I pretty much always knew I wanted to work as a therapist. However, it wasn’t until recently in my career that I decided to really delve into working in addiction and dual-diagnosis treatment.”
Prior to joining 449 Recovery, many opportunities associated with addiction treatment presented themselves, including several assignments that involved working with young teens struggling with depression/anxiety and drug use, or implementing programs that bridged the gap between mental health and substance abuse programs. For Jennifer, the stars seemed to align, and for this she is grateful. “It was as if arrows were always pointing in this direction and I didn’t really have a choice but to follow suit.”
With an academic background that includes a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Cal State, San Marcos, and a Master’s in Marital & Family Therapy from at Alliant International University in Irvine, CA and Mexico City, Jennifer’s studies have prepared her for a variety of situations and clients at 449 Recovery. Her academic accomplishments include a minor in Spanish Language studies and a certificate in Latin American Family Therapy as well. She adds, “After about a 2-year break from college studies to travel and live abroad, I decided to start a Master’s program so I could really begin to get into the “therapy” part of my field. I desired to get into a room with clients and sit face to face with them.” Part of Jennifer’s desire to stay abreast with the ever-changing landscape of therapy and addiction involves a commitment to continuing education, which she both enjoys and takes seriously. “Not only is it mandated for maintenance of my licensing status with the Board of Behavioral Sciences, but it is also something I’m really committed to because the profession is constantly evolving. It’s critical for me to stay up to date on law, ethics, cultural diversity, specialized populations, new research with treatment implications, etc. I also see it as my responsibility to help keep my clinical staff informed as well.”
Jennifer lives in Mission Viejo, where 449 Recovery will soon be relocating to. She and her husband of five years have a two-year old son, and they are expecting child #2 this September. Her hobbies and interests outside of work include outings with friends and family, attending her nephew’s baseball and soccer games, and enjoying traditional backyard barbecues at her sister’s and parent’s homes. She also enjoys spending time at the beach, hiking, and playing with her son, who she is quick to point out, “keeps me on my toes!”
When asked what is the best part of her work at 449 Recovery, she says it’s working with the clients. “For me, there is nothing that compares to the satisfaction and fulfillment I get out of seeing the transformation that occurs when an individual who comes in completely broken and destructed by his/her addiction evolves into a new thriving being.”
449 Recovery is proud to have Jennifer Sagemuller as its Clinical Director, and appreciates the vital contributions she makes to the center and its clients on a daily basis.