Cranford woman wins award

Nancy Benz, who received the Woman of Excellence Award for  her work in mental health.
Nancy Benz, who received the Woman of Excellence Award for her work in mental health.

CRANFORD, NJ — Nancy Benz of Cranford was recognized by the Union County Commission on the Status of Women for the 2016 Woman of Excellence Award in the Category of Mental Health. She is a licensed professional counselor and certified clinical mental health counselor who works with families and residents throughout Union County.

In addition to counseling, Benz is also an approved clinical supervisor, where she mentors and educates aspiring mental health workers. She feels it’s important to reach as many people in the community as possible and is very dedicated to her field.

“I want to ensure the community moves forward and will continue to have outstanding mental health care professionals,” Benz said in a recent press release.

Benz is described as being very caring, warm and understanding, all qualities required of someone in her position. Patients and others people who have know her have nothing but positive descriptions.

“Nancy projects a warm and cheerful attitude,” said Freeholder Vernell Wright in a recent press release. “She goes out of her way to help the less fortunate every day.”

Benz is a part-time executive director of the New Jersey Counseling Association and is responsible for the overall operation of the professional membership organization for counselors in New Jersey. She dedicates most of her time to her private counseling practice and her areas of expertise include suicide survivors, relationship counseling, life-stage issues and supervision and consultation of mental health clinicians. Her variety of outpatient counseling is provided to a diverse population. Benz mastered a working knowledge of disease concepts and product information to effectively educate and train physicians and medical staff.

Benz received the Dr. Charles Tabler Distinguished Service in Counseling Award in 1996 and 2002. She is a member of the board of governors at Union County College and chairman of the ethics committee of the American Mental Health Counselors Association and foundation board member. Benz received the Outstanding Graduate Student Award at Kean University. She is a descent of the Crane family, the founder of Cranford. The township’s name is said to derive from the Crane family, including John Crane, who built a mill in 1720 along the Rahway River. The Crane-Phillips House is now a museum operated by the Cranford Historical Society that offers visitors a glimpse of what life was like for a typical family in the Victorian era.

Benz is a role model for students in her field and her patients she counsels.