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Dr. Cindy Baker
Hanging above Dr. Cindy Baker’s desk is a print given to her by her father, inscribed with the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Baker strives to put those words into practice through her professional and personal life.
Baker, a counselor and community leader who specializes in working with at-risk adolescents and families, has conducted more than 30,000 individual and family therapy sessions.
Her work with — and on behalf of — hungry, abused, homeless and traumatized individuals has been memorialized with a brick at the Victims Memorial Garden in Springfield, a site in Phelps Grove Park that remembers crime victims and those who serve them. It reads: “Dr. Cindy Baker — An advocate for us all.”
“Missouri State prepared me for my journey and the accomplishments I have today.”
The impact her work has had is remarkable when viewed in light of the fact she didn’t begin her counseling career until her two children were in high school, 20 years after she graduated with her bachelor’s degree from a school in Kansas.
Baker was once a national director of human resources. In that career, she discovered her love for helping people work through challenging situations. She decided to pursue a counseling degree at Missouri State in the 1990s.
Since then, Baker has earned a doctorate from the University of Missouri and has continued to follow her passion for aiding others. Her commitment is evidenced in her regular 10-hour workdays, pro bono public speaking engagements and multiple after-hours community service endeavors.
How does it feel to receive this award?
Of all the awards I’ve received, this one has touched my heart the most. Missouri State helped pave the way for my future by broadening my knowledge of people. It propelled me forward and offered me opportunities as a nontraditional student.
What was it like for you to return to college as a nontraditional student?
Going back to school was frightening, and it felt awkward being one of the oldest students, but I hope my experience as a nontraditional student can inspire others. I remember being approached by (psychology faculty member) Dr. David Dixon to represent Missouri State as a student on the Developmental Center of the Ozarks board. The goal was to prepare a student for philanthropic work. That was where I first met top community leaders. Missouri State introduced me to advocacy and my role as a civic leader. I ended up serving on the DCO board for a few years.
How do you stay motivated to make a difference?
My goal on a daily basis is to touch at least one person’s heart. When I wake up, I begin my quest to find that one person, and I always do.
2014 Health Care Champions Honoree: Ann Beatty
Touchstone Counseling LLC
• Bachelor’s degrees in psychology and music, Tarkio College; master’s in guidance and counseling, University of Missouri-Kansas City; doctorate in clinical psychology, Forest Institute of Professional Psychology
• Founding board member of nonprofit H.A.Y. Foundation, which teaches children proper horsemanship, and on the multidisciplinary board Child Advocacy Center
• Expert witness in court cases involving sexually abused children
Ann Beatty is a clinical psychologist with a wide-ranging practice and a heart for healing.
“My passion lies in working with clients who have been victimized, as I enjoy the healing process,” says Beatty, who practices at Touchstone Counseling LLC and Touchstone Helping Families in Ozark. “There is nothing I enjoy more than watching another heal, grow and succeed.”
With more than 25 years in the field, Beatty counsels people of all ages working through sexual abuse,domestic violence, phobias, health problems, and grief and loss. In addition to her licensure, Beatty has credentials as a certified mediator and a parent coordinator, a reflection of her work in family reunification and high-conflict child-custody cases. She has extensive training in extended forensic evaluation of children who have been sexually abused, and she often is called on to testify.
“As an expert witness in four counties’ courtrooms, I enjoy educating attorneys, case workers and judges on specifics regarding sexual abuse of a child, the adverse effects divorce can have on a child, parental alienation syndrome and effective parenting,” Beatty says. “I have worked with thousands of families throughout the years and believe that I have made a positive impact on their lives.”
Cindy Baker heartily agrees. The owner of Touchstone Counseling and Touchstone Helping Families says Beatty brought outstanding clinical expertise, character and integrity when she joined the counseling team in 2006.
“Most clinical psychologists embrace a specialty such as psychological testing, teaching or (as) evaluators for the court,” Baker says. “Dr. Beatty does all of the above and still sees 10 clients a day. Her greatest strength is her fluid and flexible approach to serving others. She has the capacity to adapt and adjust her approach to meet the age, demeanor and needs of each client.”
Beatty encourages ongoing collaboration between all parties working on behalf of a child and stays current on new trends in adolescent behaviors in order to provide the most effective care.
“I am mindful of managing my sessions in such a way that I graduate my clients when I feel they are able to leave counseling and use the tools that I have given them,” she says.
Beatty’s influence extends outside the walls of her office. She is a founding board member of the nonprofit H.A.Y. Foundation that teaches children proper horsemanship, an experience that also can be therapeutic.
And as a founding member of the multidisciplinary board of the Child Advocacy Center, Beatty helped develop the best-practice model used today.
She also has worked with the Christian County Domestic Violence Task Force.
“I believe I do play a very important role as a health care professional in the Ozarks,” Beatty says. “My professional motivation comes from my drive to help individuals of all ages, gender and ethnicity who are in pain, suffering emotionally and are targets of abuse. The process of empowering these individuals from a victim mentality to one of courage, strength and renewal is such a personal rush.”
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