November 25, 2019
This blog features stories about the Wheaton College Graduate School. Dr. Tammy Schultz is a professor in the School of Psychology, Counseling, and Family Therapy. A sizeable portion of Dr. Tammy Schultz’s career focuses on work with people who have faced varying degrees of trauma in culturally diverse settings. In this story, Dr. Tammy Schultz writes about her recent quantitative and qualitative research with participants in an alternative court program for women who have been charged with solicitation and prostitution: “Changing Actions to Change Habits,” or CATCH Court.
Counseling Research Highlight: Dr. Tammy Schultz
I recall a CATCH Court participant sharing that when she was on the streets, she would wake up every morning thinking, “I got to hustle to buy my little boy a pair of shoes.” Yet, the more time she spent on the streets, the more illegal substances she used and as soon as she would turn a trick, the money would go for more drugs. When I sat across from this woman, after a year in the CATCH Court program, I witnessed a proud mom look etched on her face when she told me that a couple of months ago she bought her little boy a pair of shoes: “I didn’t hustle.” Her new part-time job through CATCH Court was providing job training and experience, she was drug-free, and she was oh-so-grateful for each day off the streets.
Over the past four years, I have had the honor of conducting quantitative and qualitative research, alongside several brilliant colleagues, with women who have been charged with solicitation/prostitution and who are enrolled in the CATCH Court program (Changing Actions to Change Habits), in Franklin County, Ohio.
In 2008, Judge Paul Herbert became aware that countless women who were charged with prostitution in his Ohio court had similar injuries to women who were victims of intimate partner violence. Following intense research, in 2009, CATCH Court was birthed to help women exit the treacherous life on the streets.
Women who enter the two-year CATCH Court program, attend counseling, substance abuse treatment, obtain job skills, take classes, stay off the streets, and attend CATCH Court once a week for accountability and to update the CATCH Court team regarding their progress. If the women are successful in the CATCH Court program, their prostitution charges will be dropped.
Our research has focused on traumatic life events, posttraumatic stress, posttraumatic growth, and religious coping. Through interviews with the women, we have heard stories of horrendous heartache and monumental hope.
Does it work? A 2017 study based on court records by Dr. Karen Miner-Romanoff revealed that participants who completed the two-year CATCH program had fewer jail days, arrests, and recidivism compared to participants who did not complete the program.
I am indeed the privileged one to engage in research with the inspiring women enrolled in the CATCH Court program.
-Dr. Tammy Schutz
Dr. Tammy Schultz is a Clinical Mental Health Counseling Training Coordinator, Professor of Counseling, and Co-coordinator of the new Trauma Certificate at Wheaton College, launching in the fall of 2020. This nine-credit certificate, developed in partnership with the Humanitarian Disaster Institute, aims to prepare mental health professionals and other responders and ministers to better care for those affected by traumatic events.
Learn more about the M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Check out the admissions requirements for the M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.