New teacher Caruso: from the movies in LA to the guidance office

Hannah Caruso, an Adjustment Counselor, was recently hired by ARHS after working as a casting assistant in LA. Photo: Hannah Caruso

Hannah Caruso, an Adjustment Counselor, was recently hired by ARHS. Caruso uses she/they pronouns and goes by Hannah with students. 

Caruso grew up locally in Northampton. They went to Clark University in Worcester, for a bachelor’s degree in International Development. She also earned her master’s degree from the same university.

Before being a therapist, Caruso worked as a casting assistant in LA, working on projects such as the “The Mindy Project” and “Jumanji.”  

They decided to move back to their home state of Massachusetts and weren’t able to be a casting director here. Caruso then found her place in therapy and education, saying “There’s a lot that can be improved about education and I want to be a part of that.”

After getting a master’s in social work while living in LA, Caruso moved to Amherst with their partner and 1 year old child, Cedar. The move was recent. “I’m really looking forward to getting to know the area,” said Caruso.

Starting a new job can be stressful, but she has found a job she likes. “This is a wonderful school,” Caruso said. “I work with great people!”

An Adjustment Counselor is a school therapist who works predominantly with Tier 2 students, including students that have mild anxiety or depression and require some accommodations. Students who meet individually with Caruso generally work with them for a 6 week period, with weekly meetings. 

Caruso leads a Stress Less therapy and support group, in which she provides students with support and strategies to deal with anxiety and stress. This group meets every Tuesday for one hour over the course of seven weeks. 

The Stress Less group focuses on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which Caruso describes as “connecting thoughts to feelings.”

Caruso’s new workday at ARHS is very busy. They have around five individual student meetings per day, as well as meetings with guidance counselors, groups, and parents throughout the week.

Despite her busy day, Caruso is fulfilled by helping others.“It’s really an honor to get to do that with people.”

Caruso said that one of their favorite parts of the job is getting to know and work with teens. “It’s a time period when people are trying to figure out what values they have and who they are. Those are just really interesting topics to me,” she said.

Caruso plans to continue working to inspire students with her philosophy of  “fostering self-determination,” and is excited to see where their new job takes them.