Andrea Sanger, BA, MSW, LCSW

Class of: 
2006

Andrea Sanger graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College, in St. Peter, Minnesota, in 2002, majoring in Sociology and Anthropology. After graduation, she moved to California to become an Americorps member in the Bay Area.  While in the Bay Area she was exposed to diversity and poverty in a way she’d never before experienced.

“I was born in Illinois and raised in a rural, farming community. My grandfather was a pastor, so the values of caring for and serving others were frequently modeled and talked about.  People have always fascinated me, and I’m perpetually drawn to their life stories, willing to be witness to both joyful and challenging personal experiences.”

Andrea came to Humboldt preferring the rural, small town life to urban life. Humboldt State University’s MSW program was a local program where she could apply her knowledge and competencies. She had always wanted to get into social work but the college she chose had only the Sociology and Anthropology program - no social work program, specifically.

She was not a social worker before entering the MSW program. She worked with Americorps, then Eureka High helping students navigate the process of college preparation and application.

During the program, Andrea spent both internships with the Open Door Community Health Centers, assisting with the addition of case management to the OCHC networks, and participating with harm reduction programs including a needle exchange program and the Suboxone program. She was also introduced to therapy and was able to shadow a skilled clinician, Robynne Lute, PsyD. These experiences secured her attachment to the community in Humboldt County and opened her eyes to the unique and complex needs of the population, particularly affordable housing, mental health services, harm reduction programs, and community education about all three issues.

Andrea graduated from the HSU MSW program in 2006.

“Completing the MSW program was an integral part of my development as a social worker. The program challenged me to cultivate a deeper awareness of who I am and how both life experiences and inherent characteristics influence my interactions with the world.  Among a multitude of other lessons, the program exposed me to the Generalist perspective, Strengths-based approach, and the importance of meeting our clients with respect and honor for their life experiences and inherent characteristics.”

After earning her MSW, Andrea worked at Arcata House assisting individuals obtain and maintain stable housing via the permanent supportive housing program or the transitional housing program –an eye-opening experience that taught her about the complex nature of homelessness, mental health, and effectively relating to others via the social worker’s role.  She then worked as a behaviorist with Multiplicity Therapeutic Services, providing behavioral modification to individuals and families of individuals with development disabilities. It was in this work that she began realizing she wanted to go further with clients.  She earned her ASW and began the process of getting her LCSW. 

Andrea also worked with HumWORKS, a program of Humboldt County Mental Health, as a means by which to develop her skills in psychotherapy. There she immersed herself in learning about and conducting individual and group therapy.

She currently counsels individuals over the age of 60 at Humboldt County Mental Health Older Adults Program. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and in the process of beginning a private practice. She conducts a series of workshops in which participants are invited to engage in a group process around a variety of topics, the first of which was “Working With Difficult People”.  Her focus is assisting people to break through the armoring that prevents them from living life and connecting fully with others.

“In the big picture of my life, I am a wife to an incredible husband, a mother of an enthusiastic 3 ½ year-old, and am expecting my second child this summer. I enjoy swimming, biking, gardening, cooking, reading, and spending time with my friends and family in the beautiful outdoors of Humboldt County.”