| Mary DeVan has been a licensed clinical social worker since 1975. She received her Master’s Degree in 1972 from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago, where her focus of study was families, individuals, and groups.
Mary enjoys working with all three of these modalities, prefers direct client contact, and enjoys developing programs for them. She has been able to practice and develop her skills in her 40 years of work experience, which includes 25 years with LA COUNTY, and 7 years with Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena.
While working for agencies, she had many experiences leading groups, including targeted populations. Her last job at County involved developing a behavioral modification program for mentally disordered juveniles ,which included leading peer groups daily, as well as leading family and multi-family groups.
After taking early retirement from LA County, she had time to develop a program for those who lost their homes in the Kinneloa Firestorms that ravaged parts of Pasadena and Altadena in November of 1993; this program was designed with a builder who taught classes to provide knowledge and advocacy for homeowners considering home improvement projects. The FEMA office in Pasadena approved Mary’s proposal to offer the same format of classes to the fire victims; these classes lasted for two years until those attending successfully rebuilt. There was no charge for these classes and no “conflicts of interests” were permitted, in order to ensure that these traumatized homeowners would be protected. She and the builder went on to create a radio show with the same goal of educating, so that “informed homeowners could make better decisions”. Mary was the producer of the innovative radio show and did the public relations, marketing, venue locating, inviting guests, and program planning for the show. Although Mary had no experience in any of these actual tasks, she found that her social work background prepared her for these diverse tasks.
After leaving Huntington Memorial Hospital Mary became interested in developing a private practice that would focus on those who clutter and hoard, because she believed this was an under-served and misunderstood population. Mary developed an eight-week group workshop for them, believing that a group experience would fit this population well. Mary also works with people individually. Mary’s approach is holistic, focusing on the person within the environment, looking at ways to improve their quality of life by encouraging behaviors that will improve health, safety and well being. She encourages them to balance their lives while learning to understand and deal with the clutter. Each person’s situation is unique and the treatment plan needs to be customized. Because there is actual loss as well as the potential for loss and grief, Mary evaluates where a person is in this process and recommends a pace that is appropriate.
Mary joined the L.A. County Hoarding Task Force in 2002 and attends meetings regularly. She has been part of the planning committees for all of the HTF training forums, and has presented on three of their panels.
MASTERS DEGREE IN 1972 FROM THE SCHOOL OF SOCIAL SERVICE ADMINISTRATION AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
License, Certifications & Awards
CALIFORNIA LICENSE IS LCS 4653
ADDITIONAL TRAINING IN CLUTTER AND HOARDING SINCE 2002 RECEIVED THROUGH LOS ANGELES COUNTY HOARDING TASK FORCE, VARIOUS CONTINUING EDUCATION CLASSES, AND RELEVANT READINGS.
CERTIFIED FACILITATOR OF GRIEF GROUPS
CERTIFIED SEMINAR LEADER
Professional Activities and Memberships
MEMBER OF NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SOCIAL WORKERS