Nan Frantz: Reaching an Underserved Population
As a female cop on the streets of North and West Philadelphia decades ago, Nan Frantz saw it all. She says she went into law enforcement because rather than read about events, she wanted to immerse herself in them. “In what other profession can you say you have been there for a baby to be born, and then on the other side, taken a life?” she asks.
Frantz also worked at maximum, medium, and minimum-security facilities during her law enforcement career, including Attica Correctional Facility in New York, which holds some of the most dangerous criminals in the country. There, she ran her block by being “fair, firm, and consistent,” a leadership style that has worked well for her in every aspect of her life.
In her days working in law enforcement, Frantz observed that mental health services for personnel were sorely lacking. “As a police or corrections officer, when you are involved in an incident, you are sent to a counselor,” she says. “The counselor asks, ‘how do you feel?’ But that’s not how you talk to police officers, it’s not how you get them to talk to you. Instead, you have to ask them about the incident, about the facts.” She adds that if you engaged in counseling, you were seen as weak. “The thinking was, ‘if you can’t control yourself and you need help, how are you going to do the job?’”
In many ways, she says the counselors were missing the mark. “That was the beginning of me realizing ‘aha, I think I might be able to do something positive here,’” she says. “I know how to build a relationship that encourages positive things happen.” So, after she retired from law enforcement, she decided to pursue her counseling degree.
With a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Temple and masters of education from the University of Pittsburgh under her belt, Frantz wanted a program that would give her a degree as a licensed therapist. Ultimately, she decided to pursue the master of arts in clinical counseling at Moravian.
“At Moravian, not only did I learn about the theories, I learned how to apply those theories in the real world; I couldn’t have asked for a better program,” Frantz says. “And Dr. Santiago was a wonderful professor and has been a very good influence on me,” she adds.
Frantz thinks her seasoned life and work experience will give her an edge as she embarks on her next career. “I have always been in positions where I’ve been helping people.” Wherever she lands, she plans to continue this journey, and of course, to always be fair, firm, and consistent.