After nearly 10 years of working throughout the state of Virginia as a licensed clinical social worker, Tony Roman decided to move to Myrtle Beach, ultimately starting his own private practice here, Roman Clinical Consulting, LLC – helping adolescents and adults deal with mental health and substance abuse issues.
“I was born in northern Virginia right outside of Washington D.C., but my wife and I lived in Blacksburg in southwest Virginia [home of Virginia Tech] for roughly 10 years,” he said. “Like many residents, we got tired of the cold and snow and decided to spend the second part of our lives down here.”
Roman, 33, earned his undergraduate degree in sociology at Virginia Tech and later his master’s in social work at Radford University.
After close to a decade working for larger companies focused on community-based mental health, Roman said it was a dream of his at some point to hang out his own shingle. He was able to do that here in September 2015.
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“Quite frankly, I didn’t expect it to happen so fast,” he said, but because he already had a grasp of the myriad regulations involved in regard to the services he provides, things fell into place after working for another agency here for six months.
The biggest challenge as a newcomer to the Grand Strand was to get plugged in to the community.
“I didn’t have the network I had in place in Virginia – but since I started, each month has been rapidly growing to the point where I have a couple of other staff working under me now, providing services.”
Roman’s practice includes individuals seeking help directly as well as referrals from various sources.
My wife and I have had the outlook that we always seem to be a generation ahead. We got married at an early age, and now we’re moving down to a place where a lot of people retire at a later age. I was like, ‘if we think we are going to end up here in the long run, we might as well do it now instead of later.
“My caseload is a pretty good mix of people coming in on their own, but I get about 50 percent of my clients to some degree from the court system or the South Carolina Department of Social Services. But no matter where I get the client, the actual treatment is going to be the same – trying to really understand and help them develop a better ability to manage coping skills, stress, substance abuse or whatever the case might be,” he said.
He generally has seven or eight sessions per day, and strives to make appointment times convenient for folks holding seasonal jobs here, as well as for parents of adolescents. This means some evenings and Saturdays.
Roman is mindful of what is known as compassion fatigue, a type of burnout which is a very real issue in the human services field – and is all about striking a balance.
“I try to practice what I preach to clients by practicing good self-care,” he said. “I try to start my day pretty simply and my wife will tell you I am compulsive about routine: Getting up at the same time, working out, reading scripture and just trying to start each day fresh. By doing these things I feel most equipped to help the people that I work with.”
A longtime member of the Rotary Club in Christiansburg, Va., Roman joined the Myrtle Beach Sunrise Rotary Club, which meets every Tuesday morning at the Sea Captain’s House.
“The best way to sum it up is service beyond self,” he said about the Rotarian experience. “I enjoy the camaraderie with the existing group of members, the beach is right there [Sea Captain’s house is oceanfront] and I have no problem saying that we have the best food. Sometimes the simple things sell it.”
Last Saturday, Roman was on hand for an annual Rotarian event at Huntington Beach State Park called the Beach Blast – a collaboration between the Sunrise Rotary and a Charlotte, NC-based Rotary club to bring roughly 500 inner-city, at-risk children on a day trip to the beach.
“Many of these children visited the beach for the first time. They were selected to attend this event via a yearlong character building program,” he said, adding that the Rotary Club of Charlotte – South facilitates the program and the Beach Blast serves as a reward for positive development.
“This reiterates the value of the Rotary and ties into the whole service idea – and to give these young boys and girls an opportunity that they more than likely would not have had otherwise.”
As for Roman and wife Monica Roman, Myrtle Beach is home.
“My wife and I have had the outlook that we always seem to be a generation ahead,” he said. “We got married at an early age, and now we’re moving down to a place where a lot of people retire at a later age. I was like, ‘if we think we are going to end up here in the long run, we might as well do it now instead of later.’”
Know of a local with an interesting job or career that should be given the Working 4 a Living treatment? Contact Roger Yale at firstname.lastname@example.org.