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Catherine Bouthillier

Translated from French​

"Let me introduce myself, Catherine Bouthillier. I’ve been a social worker at Centre Médical Mieux-Être since 2022, but I began my career in 2013 at CLSC Ahuntsic-Montréal Nord in the Child-Family-Youth program. I particularly enjoy working in an FMG because I feel like I've found my place, and my opinions are considered as valuable as those of other professionals. I greatly appreciate working in interdisciplinarity with my colleagues, who often thank me for identifying certain aspects in their patients that they wouldn't have accessed without my intervention. Not all work environments are like this. I feel privileged to be able to evolve in such a respectful and dynamic space.

My mother has chronic illnesses, so I have always been there to support her. My decision to become a social worker was reinforced after meeting a social worker from the CLSC who offered me help and support without judgment. Her empathy and support allowed me to regain control of my life when I was welcomed into the Auberges du Coeur, a community organization helping troubled youth. I left home at 16, and it was that social worker who helped me find supervised accommodation. She played a significant role in my life, and I realized that I wanted to make a difference in someone's life too. Despite numerous obstacles in my personal life, I resumed my studies at the age of 21. My journey has been unconventional, but my passion for my work has allowed me to persevere and maintain my motivation. Social work is part of me.

Some people have fears about the healthcare system due to past negative experiences, but we strive to rebuild trust and create connections. Social work is a field that can take various forms and depends heavily on the personality of the individuals involved. There’s no unique way to be a social worker. Regardless of the age or the situation, whether it's someone having problems with their child, experiencing domestic violence, or having suicidal thoughts, social workers are there to help. Personally, I have this conviction that tells me, 'I can't leave them with nothing.' I actively engage, and it demands a lot of effort. I analyze their social functioning, so I look at the different aspects surrounding people's lives to understand them better. It's truly about support and provision, hoping to have a positive impact on each person I assist – whether it's through a simple sentence or an action taken.

Social work is a career that often exposes me to difficult and traumatic situations. That's why maintaining a balance between my professional and personal life is of great importance to me. My husband, who also works at CMME as an auxiliary nurse, and our two children are the pillars of my life. My spouse is very empathetic and truly understands the nature of my work. We've been together for about 13 years. We met while working at Jean-Coutu, and many years later, we’re working together again. I feel happy when I'm with my family, and I consider myself fortunate to have what I have. With my children, my childish side really comes out. I love laughing, making jokes, doing activities, and spending time with them, whether it's jumping on a trampoline, running races, swimming, or visiting the Biodome.

What fascinates me about individuals, and what will always continue to fascinate me, is that each person has their own story to tell. Nothing is ever identical. I sincerely believe that every individual deserves to be supported, listened to, and encouraged to take control of their life. The people I assist all have goals, and to me, the most beautiful gift is seeing them find themselves and regain control of their lives with dignity.

I feel immense pride when I intervene at the end of a meeting and see something light up in the person's eyes: hope. Nothing fulfills me more than seeing these individuals leave my office with gratitude and observing the positive progress they have made. It's precisely these kinds of moments that drive me to continue my profession with dedication."

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