Employee Spotlight: Darryl Funk

Darryl Funk has worked at Grafton’s Berryville campus for over 7 years. In September, he stepped into the role of Clinical Administrator at Berryville, working alongside Dr. Jacquelynn Hollman.

Q: What roles have you had since arriving at Grafton?

I started as Berryville’s Residential Administrator, and a few months later I was promoted to Clinical Administrator. After four years, I decided I would be happier working directly with kids as a therapist, so I’ve been doing that for the last three years.

I honestly wasn’t interested in being a Clinical Administrator again, but when it was suggested that Dr. Hollman and I share the position, that really piqued my interest. This way I’m able to continue working with kids as a therapist, while also having oversight of the clinical department as a whole. I’m excited about the new role, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to share the position, especially with someone as impressive as Dr. Hollman. I feel like this is exactly where I’m supposed to be.

Q: What sparked your interest in behavioral health?

I think I’ve always been interested in it, even before I realized what it was. I read a lot of psychology books in junior high and high school. Looking back, learning how people think and assisting them in making change has always appealed to me.

Q: What’s your educational background?

I have a master’s degree in social work and a bachelor’s degree in math and psychology. Before I got into behavioral health, I was studying nuclear engineering, but I wasn’t very successful at math and physics. I made it to my second year of calculus and realized I didn’t have the brain for that type of academics.

Q: What did you do prior to joining Grafton?

I started out in behavioral health in 1992, and since then I have worked at about 10 different agencies. I actually worked with Grafton COO Scott Zeiter, Dr. Robia Fields, and Dr. Hollman at North Spring Behavioral Health in Leesburg before coming to Grafton.

Q: How do you hope to make an impact in your new role?

Spending the last three years as a therapist here, I have first-hand experience of what it’s like to work in the positions that I will be supervising. The ability to genuinely understand and connect with people in the department will undoubtedly have an impact. I will also be checking in with people and making sure they take breaks. It’s important to me that people take care of themselves outside of work. It’s so easy to get bogged down with work, and then it impacts things outside of work—it can be a spiral. It’s important to separate work and life.

Q: Do you have a favorite story from your time at Grafton?

A 15-year-old client I’m currently working with has a pretty strong case of autism and possibly some thought disorder. During his admission, several team members had to assist in the session so that his family could leave safely. He arrived so filled with bitterness, anger, and disgust for other people—much of it stemming from events in his past.

This boy is discharging next week, and he has made amazing progress. He has become aware of his resentment towards others and is starting to let go of it. It’s just been a magical process to be a part of. He now realizes that he has a pretty good life. Despite the severity of his diagnosis, he has demonstrated the insight and the willingness to let go of things that were holding him back.

Q: What is the best thing about working at Grafton?

Grafton is a great, great place for children that need this level of care. Working here can be very challenging, regardless of what the position is, but I believe the challenge can also be part of the appeal. We help kids that haven’t been able to be safely sustained in their home communities. Patiently working with these children—refusing to give up on them—and then watching them reach goals they never thought possible is an amazing process to be a part of.