Alice J. Olson, LMHC, LCAC, NCAC II, is renowned as a licensed professional counselor specializing in behavioral support for addictions and for hard of hearing patients. She initially pursued an education at Indiana University, graduating with a Bachelor of Education in 1972. She subsequently earned a Master of Arts in special education at Ball State University in 1978. Nationally certified as an alcohol and drug abuse counselor and a clinical addictions counselor, Ms. Olson concluded her academic efforts with a Master of Arts in counseling and guidance at Governors State University in 2001.
In 1975, Ms. Olson began her career as an adult education teacher at Portage Adult Education. She later worked as a vocational rehabilitation counselor for deaf and hard of hearing clients at Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation from 1975 to 1986, when she accepted a position at Methodist Hospital of Merrillville, Indiana. Ms. Olson would remain active with Methodist Hospital as an addictions and behavioral medicine counselor until 2006.
From 2000 to 2011, Ms. Olson facilitated therapy groups at the Saint Jude House in Crown Point, Indiana. She served with the Regional Mental Health Center in Merrillville from 2006 to 2015. Moreover, she has excelled with the Parkdale Center for Professionals since 2016, specializing in outpatient therapy and addictions recovery. She has also volunteered as a court appointed special advocate for children since 2017 in Porter County, Indiana. Likewise, Ms. Olson is a member of the National Association for the Deaf and the National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors.
Ms. Olson has further flourished in patient and community education on various topics related to deafness and American Sign Language (ASL). She formerly found success as a deaf materials coordinator for the Lake County Public Library, and an adviser on mental health services to the State Council on Mental Health Services for deaf and hard of hearing Hoosiers. The editor of several professional newsletters, she has been recognized for her contributions with commendations from President Ronald Reagan and multiple Indiana governors. Ms. Olson was recently featured in The National Digest for her work providing mental health services to frontline health care workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ms. Olson would like to be remembered by others as someone with integrity and others have liked to work with her because of that. She does not go behind other people’s backs and talk about them because she has seen so much backbiting over the years, which is sad. The advice that Ms. Olson would give the next generation thinking of going into the same profession would be that it is not about the money, but about making a difference in people’s lives. She encourages them to have a sense of accomplishment, where they can make a difference in another person’s life by shining a light. It would be great to get into prevention like her and to learn coping skills because she has known situations where the FDA came after people.