Home May 2012 Driven to Help People

Driven to Help People

Dr. Lauren Gavshon, the director of clinical services at Jewish Federation & Family Services, Orange County, is “driven to help people.” At the end of the day she likes to go home feeling that she and her staff have “really made a difference.”

Dr. Gavshon, who assumed her position in November, is a clinical psychologist who has held the position of director of programs and services at several healthcare facilities in Southern California, including both Orange and San Diego counties. For the past 11 years, she has worked with both for-profit and non-profit organizations to effectively develop and manage programs that provide mental healthcare services to the community. Before coming to JFFS, Dr. Gavshon managed a unique residential care program for adults with chronic mental illnesses in Orange County. She successfully created a program that offered a high quality of clinical care, while also maintaining financial sustainability.

She has developed partnerships with many community organizations, as well as Argosy and Alliant University Graduate Departments of Psychology and the UC Irvine Department of Psychiatry, where she has provided training, education and clinical supervision to trainees in the fields of psychology and psychiatry. In addition to authoring a scholastic book and several academic articles, Dr. Gavshon lectures at mental health conferences and training seminars on topics of mental illness, clinical care, and professional development.

With the dual mission of overseeing clinical care and expanding and enriching the program for unmet needs in the community, Dr. Gavshon and her staff are working with trainees and graduate students as interns to extend their reach. Not only does that help people in the community; it helps the interns to gain valuable experience.

“I’m lucky to have a staff that is highly motivated to help people,” she added. “We have really good people who help with special needs resources, senior services, transportation, career counseling, financial counseling and general counseling.”

In addition, Dr. Gavshon – who grew up in Orange County – is delighted at the involvement of members of the community. “There are retired therapists and people who just want to visit or bring baskets of food to those in need,” she said. “People who are not directly involved don’t realize how much help is needed.”

“Because of the economy our clients are different from those who came in a few years ago,” Dr. Gavshon added. Sometimes her team puts a lot of resources on one case – providing couples counseling about financial issues, helping a child with special needs and discussing resources for the care of an aging parent.

The team is developing a strategic plan going forward to 2020. The whole agency – staff and lay leaders – is involved in the process.

To facilitate that and to understand the needs of the community, Dr. Gavshon is working with Orange County Jewish Life to create a feedback mechanism. She invites the community to submit questions to her at lgavshon@jffs.org. Every month the appropriate person on the JFFS staff will respond to a question about special needs, senior services or some other aspect of community concern. Please see this month’s installment at www.ocjewishlife.com.

Jewish Family Services, part of Jewish Federation & Family Services

As the social service arm of Jewish Federation & Family Services, Jewish Family Services provide an array of services across the age spectrum to over 3,600 individuals and families each year in Orange County. Counselors serve the entire Orange County community, inclusive of people of all races, religions and national origins. Services offered are:

Older Adult Services

Silver Streak Transportation, Active Living, Holocaust Survivors, Caregiver Support, Care Management, Bereavement Support


Crisis Case Management, Emergency Financial Assistance, Jewish Free Loan, Women Forward Employment Program

Center for
Special Needs

Consultation, Social Inclusion, Social Skills, Community Workshops, IEP/IFSP Advocacy, Programs and Events


Sliding Scale Individual and Family Counseling, Support Groups, Chaplain Services


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