Celeste Racicot was the 2011 recipient of The Stork Award, Brain Injury Center of Ventura County, for commitment to going above and beyond to better the lives of brain injury survivors. She was also the 2010 recipient of California Brain Injury Association’s award for professionalism in the field of brain injury.
Celeste holds an undergraduate degree from Russell Sage College in Visual and Performing Arts/ Creative Arts in Human Services and a Master’s degree from Springfield College in Rehabilitation Counseling.
With over thirty years experience working as a rehabilitation counselor, vocational counselor, cognitive remediation specialist, case manager, operations director and psychometrist, Celeste specializes in working with individuals who are experiencing cognitive challenges. Celeste first began working at Dingleton Hospital in Melrose, Scotland as a social therapist and creative arts therapist. She returned to the United States to Vermont and worked in the psychology department at The Brattleboro Retreat, specializing in the assessment and cognitive remediation of individuals with brain injuries, dual-diagnosis and psychiatric diagnoses. At St. Charles Hospital in New York, Celeste managed the Community Re-entry Program and provided cognitive remediation, cognitive skills development groups, and vocational counseling to persons with brain injuries. She arrived in California in 2001, and was the lead case manager with Head Injury Rehabilitation Services. Celeste worked as Marketing Director/Case Manager with Brain Injury Specialists and continues to work as a rehabilitation counselor with neuropsychologist Dr. Robert Tomaszewski.
Celeste served on the advisory board of the Brain Injury Center and for five years facilitated support groups throughout Ventura County. She presents at annual conferences sponsored by the Brain Injury Center. Additionally she has presented at Oxnard College’s Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling department, S.C.O.P.E, Rehab Nurses Society, LA Epilepsy Foundation, California Brain Injury Association, Bancroft Institute, Brattleboro Retreat and the Reitan Society Meeting at the National Academy of Neuropsychology Annual Conference.
Problems with attention, concentration, memory and executive functioning commonly reduce an individual’s ability to benefit from traditional therapies. Treatment involves sustaining attention, the acquisition of new information, remembering what is learned and assimilating that understanding and applying it to recovery. While the likelihood of increased cognitive processes improves with sustained abstinence, it is imperative to teach skills and compensatory strategies to individuals in the early phases of recovery when the treatment is most intense. Celeste feels strongly that teaching someone how to learn helps the individual to be a more active participant in his/her rehabilitation. Through teaching exercises on how to keep your brain fit and educating clients on brain health, Celeste acts as a “cognitive coach” working closely with the client and the team to individually tailor a treatment plan to maximize the outcome.