In this episode, we speak with Chris Clasby, LCSW and Peer Advocacy Coordinator at Summit Independent Living in Missoula, Montana. Our conversation touches on what it means to be human, what it means to suffer, and how to find meaning in that suffering. Chris also touches on 2 valuable tips for clinicians- allowing patients to fully experience their emotions and allowing patients the dignity of risk. We also discuss the federally mandated independent living centers spread across the U.S. and how these centers can provide invaluable resources for patients as they transition through different levels of care.
Chris Clasby is lifelong Montanan living in Missoula where he works as a community and Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). He attended Helena High School, one year at Carroll College, and finished at UM Missoula. Before graduate school, Chris taught high school English and History for one year and then earned an MSW and later became licensed as LCSW. Outdoor pursuits have always been Chris’s passion, and he enjoyed wrestling and competed in rodeo from a young age through high school.
One month after graduating high school in 1990, Chris broke his neck in a car accident returning from a rodeo in Nevada and became a complete, C4 quadriplegic with no arm or hand function. He went to Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colorado which had a lasting impact on his life. Above all, the interactions with staff and fellow patients experiencing similar challenges instilled Chris with a belief in possibility and focus on life.
Chris feels so blessed by the people, programs, and technologies around him which have enabled him to earn undergraduate and graduate college degrees, work in multiple capacities, travel extensively, and pursue activities that enable him to enjoy life. Through his own experience and observation of the world around him, Chris is intrigued and amazed by the capacity and resilience of humans.