Hope & Healing Podcast


Hope and Healing Inside Children’s Center


In this episode, instead of talking to some of our favorite people around the country, we stay home and talk with some brilliant bringers of hope and healing right here at Children’s Center. Ashley Hernandez and Sarah Stahl are two of our in-house therapists doing amazing work with young clients. They tell Matthew Butte, executive director of Children’s Center, about the challenges and deep, profound rewards of working with the people who come to Children’s Center for help. Therapy can be hard work for client and clinician alike but Sarah and Ashley bring intelligence, heart, and creativity to the situation and can help make it a positive experience for everyone involved.

Episode Transcript

From the Children’s Center in Vancouver, Washington, this is hope and healing

Matthew: From the Children’s Center in Vancouver, Washington, this is hope and healing. I’m Matthew Butte, executive director of Children’s Center and your host. We make this podcast in order to bring you hopeful stories and to introduce you to people who inspire hope. They’ve inspired a lot of hope in me and among people here at Children’s Center and I hope you feel the same. And with this episode, instead of going out and talking to some of our favorite people from around the country, we’re staying home and talking with some of our wonderful therapists from Children’s Center. We wanted to give you a feel for the work they’re doing to help kids and families from a mental health perspective. As the executive director, I am admittedly biased when I say that our therapists are extraordinary, but I think you’ll agree with me once you listen to what they have to say. This conversation took place right here at our offices in Vancouver.

Matthew and Sarah Stahl with Ashley Hernandez and Ashley Hernandez

Well, hi, I’m here with some of our therapists. Ashley Hernandez. Hello.

Ashley: Hi.

Matthew: Matthew and Sarah Stahl. Hello, Sarah.

Sarah: Hello, Matthew.

Matthew: No surprise. Ashley and Sarah, I’m here with my British cup of tea. Are you here with your favorite beverage this afternoon?

Sarah: I’ve got coffee. So much coffee.

Ashley: I wouldn’t say my favorite beverage, but I am here with some nice cold water.

Ashley and Sarah share a little bit about their work at Children’s Center

Matthew: Okay, Ashley and Sarah, looking forward to chatting with you about your work here at Children’s Center. We’re going to just have you share a little bit about what you do. Ashley, would you like to start us off?

Ashley: I mean, I work with primarily teenagers and young adolescents and managing a lot of high risk situations. So I primarily work with suicidality and managing depression and trauma. I use dialectical behavioral therapy to help build skills and teach kids how to manage distress tolerance and learning how to express their emotions in a positive way. And then I recently started using EMDR treatment, which is a trauma specific treatment to help our brains reprocess where we store trauma in our brains so that we’re no longer as distressed by the trauma triggers. and then I also supervise our nice interns to help teach new therapists how to come into this field.

Matthew: And how about you, Sarah?

Sarah: Yeah, I work primarily with teenagers and young, adolescents. So I see them at the agency, I do individual and family therapy and then I also work on site in schools meeting the kids where they are, in their everyday living. I primarily pull from CBT, which is cognitive behavioral therapy. I do a lot of motivational interviewing, because by nature I work with angsty teens, and so identifying their goals, their own value system. we do a lot of, some of the things that Ashley has already mentioned, trauma work, attachment work, depression, anxiety, a lot of family stressors and struggles. and it’s a privilege and it’s what I want to do every day and I get the luxury of doing just that.

Matthew: Outstanding.

Sarah says she loves helping teens because she thinks they’re brilliant

Can you tell us, Sarah, why do you do it? You love doing it. Why did you opt for this career path?

Sarah: Well, ultimately, I think adolescents are brilliant and I think that they just need an outlet to be able to see their own brilliance and their own strengths. I think that kids universally try to do their very best in every situation. And sometimes they’d need a cheerleader behind them, showing them sort of already what they are doing, all of the strengths they already have, and then also kind of pointing them in directions of other things that they didn’t even know to look at, other ways to, look at their existence, other ways to look at their place in their family, other ways to look at their roles with their friends and at school. I do it because I think kids are the smartest people that I’ve ever met. I think that they genuinely, try to meet every expectation that we put in front of them. And sometimes they just need a little help to remember, that they’re capable, and that we can help them with tools and we can help them with communication and we can help them find, their self confidence and their sense of self worth. I think it’s pretty crucial. And they are my favorite population of people. They just are. And that makes it easy to love what I do, for sure.

Matthew: Yeah, that’s so clear.

Sarah says she loves working with teenagers and has a passion for helping them

And how about you, Ashley? Can you share with us why this profession?

Ashley: Yeah, I mean, very similarly to Sarah, I think I just love working with teenagers. I think it’s such a niche population to want to work with, because everyone always is like, they’re so difficult and they’re so hard and how do you talk to them? But I just think teenagers don’t get enough credit, nor do kids in the sense of how do we devote our time to show them how great they are and teach them how to have at least one adult in their life that’s backing them all the time and gently showing them how to redirect some of their life decisions or reflecting back to them what they’re doing and how we can maybe change that so they can live a really successful life. I think, a lot of my why too is when I look back at my own life, I’m like, there is at least a handful of people that devoted so much time to me and put in that effort and really stuck out to me. And it is a privilege to be able to be that person for people, even if they don’t remember in you in ten years or whatnot, or I don’t remember them, however it turns out. But in this moment, they know that they can come here, and this is such a safe place, and they’re going to get the affirmation that they need and some sort of gentle redirection on how to improve their lives. But I think m they don’t get enough credit, and they don’t get enough support, and 100% positive regard, and it’s really nice to be able to be that person in their life and, also show them gently how to do something different that maybe could be better for them.

Matthew: Yeah.

If someone were to walk into your office, what would they notice

So, Sarah, I can obviously see, your office regularly, and yours, Ashley, too. Those listening to that, they can’t see your offices, but if they were to step in, what might they notice? Perhaps some of the tools or resources you have that you use in working with teens. Maybe you can share at least one with us. Sarah, you want to go first?

Sarah: Sure. well, if you were to walk into my office, I think the first thing that you would notice is a lot of kid art. and it comes from the tiny humans that I have worked with. And I think that is actually, a tool that I use because I think kids underestimate their abilities, and I think they underestimate how much people find, beauty in any of the products they do. Whether it’s poetry that’s on my walls, whether that’s paintings, whether that’s sketches and drawings, you can’t miss it. And I think, being able to show them that other kids have also struggled and have found beauty in different ways to demonstrate that. And it’s so profound, we want to hang it on our wall. So that’s definitely, like, you can’t miss that walking into my space. I think also, in my office, there’s a lot of, fidgets, things like that to kind of take the weight off of the heavy things that they want to talk about or need to talk about. there’s a lot of, building blocks that we use as figurative demonstrations. So there’s magnetic little toys that we kind of stack. And we look at it in terms of how are we stacking our strengths, or how are we stacking our struggles, and then which ones of these kinds of things are easier to move. Which ones are harder to move, which ones do we want to let go, of which have good bases. It’s a lot of visual, kind of representation of how do we move through things with grace and confidence, regardless of what’s going on around us. I don’t think you can miss that walking in. Least I hope not.

Matthew: No, it’s very true. Thank you. How about you, Ashley? If we were to wander into your.

Ashley: Office, I mean, I think the first thing people usually bring up is the giant sloth stuffed animal that I have in the corner. And I think I’ve kind of developed this little cozy corner in my room because I feel like it allows kids to sit there and get, comfortable and just be like, oh, that’s like a soft place to land. And I really want kids to think that this is the soft place to land. I’m not going to come in here and criticize you or judge the things that you’re doing. And so I think, that tends to be the first thing that people point out is this cozy corner that I have in my office with, like, a beanbag chair, this giant sloth, some pillows, a tapestry, and these cozy little lights around it. I also have a lot of fidgets, like Sarah said. but I also have a lot of board games because I think those are really helpful as a distraction for kids when we’re talking about tough topics. And, they don’t want to look me in the eye or, they want to focus on something else as we’re talking about things. So I think those are some other things you would notice, but I think the cozy corner is the one that I like the most, but I also get a lot of comments on it, and they’re like, I always want to take a nap here. And I’m like, you could if you wanted.

Matthew: Excellent. I love it. I also remember that, too. Where to go for that nap.

How Children’s Center is different from other mental health agencies

Matthew: What would you say, you’ve talked about your work. What would you say would be Children’s Centers defining peace? Or, how would you say it’s different from other mental health agencies, how we’re different?

Ashley: I think one of the things that our clients have said to me is, I can really tell that you’re happy to work here. and I think one of the things that feels really different to me in this field in general is knowing that I have unconditional support as well from my supervisors and from my colleagues and from my bosses. I think it’s hard to be in this field, and it’s hard to be in this field, for many different reasons, because we can be criticized often or like we’re dealing with high risk situations. but I’ve never felt like I’ve done something wrong. Maybe I have felt that I’ve done something wrong, but I have never been put to blame for that. and I think one of the things that feels really different to me is just, like, the unconditional support that we have here and the ability to lean on our coworkers in a really positive way, or, like, our supervisors or even you, Matthew. and so I think that’s one of the things that has been really different for me in this field and in this job. And honestly, one of the reasons I’ve stayed here so long, because I don’t think you can really be in this field for a longevity of time if you don’t feel supported as, like, a clinician or as, an employee. And I don’t feel just like an individual. I feel like we’re constantly working as a team, even though my job is so individualized, like, I’m not in therapy with another therapist or working on another team with a therapist. I’m alone in the room with a kid, but I also am not alone in this agency, and I feel that.

Matthew: How about you, Sarah? What would be your assessment of how Children’s Centers are different from other mental health?

Sarah: I. You know, I have been in this, profession for a very long time, and I think this is an easy question for me to sum up very shortly. I feel like the Children’s Center really sticks to its values and its mission that’s outlined for it in terms of we want to meet everybody where they’re at, that we are dedicated to the community that we serve. And I think it’s a lot of what Ashley also said. I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever worked at an agency where there was such a willingness to step in and to help, regardless of the family dynamics or the stressors, regardless of what’s going on with, each of the individual tiny humans, regardless of what’s happening in school. I 100% come to work every day knowing that I’m coming to a place that is fully dedicated to the community that we exist in and the kids that need help in it and the families that need help. And I think right now is such a really pivotal point to kind of demonstrate that in that it is our holiday season, and we’re not just providing gifts for the kids that we see, in our offices, individually, we’re encouraged, and we are re encouraged to make sure that everybody in that home has something for Christmas, that everybody feels that they are seen and valued from us. And I think I’ve never been in a place that is not just worried about the one kid that’s here or the one set of parents, but the whole spectrum of what that family looks like. and I think it just really demonstrates how easy it is to want to give 100% to an agency that is absolutely giving 100% to everybody that they come into contact with. So that’s an easy question for me.

Advice for those entering the therapy field

Matthew: Excellent. Sarah, you just mentioned that you’ve been in this field for a long time. What would you say to someone that’s thinking about entering the profession? What wisdom or advice would you give?

Sarah: Oh, that’s a great question. I think the wisdom advice, always be open. be aware that you are a container for so much, that, you know, is probably coming your way, just given the development of young, tiny humans to middle tiny humans to older tiny humans, and that each one of those stressors and struggles that you have to carry with them is really just sort of that opportunity that you get to find the light, find the joy, find the hope, and just help them to see that. And if you can do that day in and day out, regardless of what’s going on in your own life, then this is the place that you want to be. And I think the other thing that I would. And this is the place in terms of, this is the profession. I think the other thing that I would encourage, young new therapists coming in, be mindful of your own, personal boundaries, in terms of making sure that you have really good self care, making sure that you are having your own support system as well. Because even though we are containers, we do need, our own help also. I, think that I would really remind, new workers that these are opportunities to be a bringer of joy and an amplifier of joy and a reminder of joy. And that’s what it takes to come into all of the tiny humans and their families. Just this un tethering those light posts. Lighthouse. Lighthouse.

Matthew: Thank you. Lighthouse. Excellent.

Sarah: Lighthouse.

Matthew: Lighthouse.

Sarah: Yeah. Just be the lighthouse and make sure that that is where your heart is and that you have people behind you who can see that this is the passion for you, too, because those people are all the support that you’re going to need as well. and it is a gorgeous journey. This profession is absolutely a gorgeous journey.

Matthew: Thank you, Sarah. And I love that metaphor of a lighthouse going to be thinking as I walk this building, I think of all the lighthouses in this building. Thank you.

Training new therapists on depression and anxiety

How about you, Ashley? You see, you mentioned earlier that you’re helping to train brand new therapists, interns that we have here at the center. What kind of wisdom, as they begin, do you share with them?

Ashley: I think the biggest thing is don’t be afraid to show up as yourself. I think my kids and my families, they get me. I’m not going to, be something I’m not. And I think impostor syndrome is so real in this field, because we have this image of what a therapist is. But I think it’s okay to be goofy, it’s okay to be silly, it’s okay to make jokes. and I think that’s been the best thing that I’ve told myself is it’s okay to show up as myself because I’m not going to be a perfect fit for everyone and that’s okay. But they’re never going to know that and we’re never going to know that if I’m not the person that I always am. and I think the other thing too is, like Sarah said, is figure out how to take care of yourself. Because as much as we are a container, we also are humans and we matter, and this work impacts us to some extent, afterwards. And so how are you taking care of yourself when the day is done and what are you doing to recharge? It’s that same saying of, you can’t pour from an empty cup. And if I’m not filling myself up in certain ways, that my client aren’t going to do that because that’s not their job. And so I have to do that. I have to learn how to take care of myself. And so I think that’s the other thing that I really lean on to, is how are you taking care of yourself and what are you doing to recharge and fill up your own cup? So those are, I think, the biggest ways I try to influence people in that direction.

Matthew: You both see older kids here, our teens, and, we know that a group that in particular has struggling, with depression, anxiety, suicidality, we see the numbers around, suicide for that ten to 24 population. How do you help nurture hope in those kiddos when they feel, truly lost, truly struggling? that first session, perhaps, or first few sessions, what are some of the things you do to help nurture that hope in their lives? Perhaps, Sarah, you want to start us.

Sarah: Off with that one I think what rings true for me as you were sort of asking that question, I think I am a, ah, strength based therapist. And in the first handful of sessions, what I’m really gunning for is reminding them and reminding me, but reminding them of all of the amazing things that they have already accomplished and amazing in the little day to day when we have really depressed people getting up out of bed and even just to make your bed and get back in it, like, the fact that we got up and got out to do that, that is a huge accomplishment. How do we build on that? I think right now with social media, I think with the pressures in schools, I think kids lose sight of all of the little great accomplishments they do, from day to day. And I think for me, being strength based, I’m looking for all of the wins before I’m looking for even an ounce of where we’re struggling in terms of, like, I can, I won’t, or you should do it differently. because, again, I think that we have to show them that they already have a lot of this greatness in them. It’s just about them remembering that, finding it in themselves and then amplifying it. So when, I think about depression and anxiety, I think about the fact that they are even willing to talk about it. Accomplishment, one, that’s huge. That’s a big deal that we can build off of. Just that willingness right there, that first initial is. That’s a win.

Matthew: I think that courage to walk through our doors, to enter therapy, it is truly to be celebrated. And, hear that in your voice and your description there. Ah, thank you. how about you, Ashley? How do you help nurture hope for those kiddos that especially need it? We all need it. But when they’re really struggling, what do you do?

Ashley: Great question. I think m I do also lean on the strength based side like Sarah does, but I also, heavy on the relationship side, with kids. And so I would say I’m a relational based therapist, and so I work more on how do I build a relationship with these kids. I think I often think of depression and anxiety as this kind of well that we have inside of us. And I want to show them I’m not afraid to sit in the well with you. It doesn’t terrify me. And I think not many people are willing to sit in this deep well of emotions or isolation or whatever is coming up with them. And I think, letting them know that they’re not alone and showing them it doesn’t terrify me. Like the things that you’re going to say or have said to me, I’m here regardless. And I think that’s the biggest kind of hope builder for me, is showing them. You can say whatever you need to say, and I’m not going anywhere. And I think for them, that’s really encouraging to see, like, oh, I can say some of these dark things that I’ve been keeping to myself or that I haven’t shared with anyone else, and Ashley’s not going anywhere, and she’s not responding in a way where I’m like, oh, my gosh, I shouldn’t have said that. they’re like, okay, I can really show you and tell you these things. And by just showing up and being here and being able to step into this well with them and sit down in the darkness and not be afraid of it, I think that’s the biggest kind of hope builder that I lean on.

Sarah: Ashley, I think that really hits such a pivotal point, too, that sense of belonging that even in your darkness, even in your lowest of lows, you can come here and we want to hear it all, and we want to be there with you to help you carry it. That sense of belonging, I think, is really a hope, fire starter, for sure.

Our therapy garden and the healing power of nature

Matthew: So when you’re having these conversations you shared a little bit earlier, some of the things you do in the first sessions, we’re really lucky here that if anyone, was to wander around our building, they’d see that we have a therapy garden. What role might that have, or does it have in your work with the kiddos that you see?

Ashley: Oh, I love the therapy garden. I think Sarah has also seen me in therapy garden doing some coping skills with kids in the therapy garden. I use it a lot for, the five senses skill. So, like, the five things that you can see, four things that you can hear, three things that you can feel, two things that you can smell, and one thing that you can taste. I often get really literal with kids on it. So we will lay on the ground, close our eyes. we’re in Oregon, so it’s rainy, so we only do that during the summer. but we’ll close our eyes and.

Matthew: Focus just, Ashley, to clarify quickly, we are actually in Washington.

Ashley: Oh, sorry, my bad. We are in my brain. We’re in Oregon.

Matthew: You live in Oregon, but we’re in Washington.

Ashley: Sorry. We’re in Washington. still rainy. So we only do that during the summertime or when it’s not raining. and we also are so lucky to be across the street from Safeway, so we can really hit that scent. R1. Good. And I think that’s the funniest part, too, is to really like when a kid is really feeling down. I use humor a lot in therapy, but I will be like, man, can you smell those chicken tenders that they’re making at Safeway? And then they’re just like, where did she come up with this? And it totally pulls them out of whatever they were feeling. and then they are just, like, backgrounded in the moment. So I use a lot of grounding skills out in the garden. and we have great smells around us. We have funny noises at times. There’s kids everywhere, and so you can really pick up on all the other kind of, like, grounding senses. But, that’s one way that I use it. And like I said, I know Sarah’s seen me out there, like, giggling with kids because I’ve said something obnoxious that they think is funny. but it helps because I think humor is so big on that, too.

Sarah: I think, I have definitely, Ashley, seen you out there and in the most awesome kind of interventions ever. I feel better just watching you doing it. M I use the garden. I think for me, it is often in that kind of relational building phase that Ashley was talking about. I think kids have a pretty distinct stereotype of therapy and therapists, and because their parents are usually the one making them do it, I use the garden to take out one of the tiny humans, and we paint our nails while we sit and talk and get to know each other and figure out. So it’s like a way to sort of normalize the experience without it feeling like I ask questions and you answer them. instead, we can interact and we engage, and the garden is great for the five senses. I think we’ve all used that intervention out there, most definitely. We have a labyrinth. I like that, too. That helps. Kind of give a demonstration of how easy it is to find different ways to meditate and different ways to connect with yourself, and your inspirations. so I think that’s pretty cool out there. And it’s like a garden that never goes out of season. I mean, we are in the Pacific Northwest, and it rains all the time, but there are always flowers out there. and so just going out there to look at something beautiful with the kids to remind them again, there are beautiful things that you just have to look to see. They’re not even that hard to look. Open your eyes a little bit.

Ashley: It’s a nice change of pace like they’re in your room. And then if something happens, you can just be like, let’s go step out in the garden for a real quick second. and take a breath of fresh air. Part of our garden is covered, so we can go out there when it’s raining. And I’ve totally gone out there with kids, too. but it can just be a quick, like, let’s leave what we were working on in the room and let’s go change scenery, go outside to the garden and reset, and then come back when you feel ready. And so it’s not something that we also have to use for the full session. We have the ability to come in and out. And I think that’s really a good redirection for kids, too, when they’re working through something so big and heavy in here. you can be like, oh, just pause that, leave it in the room, shut the door, close it off, and let’s go outside and open up to something new. And I think that visualization, too, is helpful. We contained what it is that we’re working on, and then we’re going outside to a whole new world.

Three questions to ask yourself when you’re driving home from work

Matthew: I am curious if there’s something I’ve missed that you would love. People, that are listening to this podcast would like to know either about Children’s Center or profession, words around hope or encouragement, something that you would like to add that you haven’t yet.

Sarah: What I hope at the end of every day when I leave work, when I’m driving home, it is sort of this bubble of time where I just to kind of get to be with myself before I have to go be a mom and a wife and all of those things that go into that. And when I’m driving home, what I’m thinking about is, did I make a positive impact, who made a positive impact in my life? and I think that one is key for me to remember because I think for me, it’s pretty important that I tell my clients or I tell the tiny or the consumers, the tiny humans, what I took away from them also from week to week, and that continually sort of blows their mind that we are listening to them as much as we are hoping that they’re listening to us for inspiration as well. and I think about, if I could do more, when will I be able to do it next? so it’s not so much about what I missed or sort of feeling like I failed at something. It’s like, oh, I noticed that this part wasn’t maybe my strongest show up in that moment. But I can do this then, and I can do that here, and I can ask for help from this person or that person, if it’s something that I need to rally back. But really it’s about kind of thinking about who of these tiny humans from my day am I going to tell next week? You won’t believe what I remember that you said you were absolutely right, or, thank you so much for knowing that answer, because I absolutely didn’t know it. And now I do like reminding them that they are just as much a contributor, to our existence from time to time.

Matthew: It’s beautiful. Thank you, Sarah. I love that. So, three questions you ask yourself. See if I’ve got this right, then how did I make an impact? Who made an impact on me? And then what can I do differently next time? Three great questions to ask on your way home. Ash.

What a win looks like when you’re working with a client

I’m going to ask you this question first. What does a win look like when you’re working with our clients?

Ashley: I think. I think about that question the most, in the sense of also progress, because I think everything, like progress is a win. I’m also very competitive, and so, to me, progress and winning are the same. and, I think it’s just those little moments. Sometimes it’s like their ability to look at things just slightly different, or shifting how they would react to something a little bit more, or being able to share an emotion that they wouldn’t have been able to share beforehand. And I think it’s these tiny, perspective switches and tiny behavior things that you notice, because I think people always think, well, I’m going to go to therapy, and I’m going to come out and I’m going to be different. But they’re like, what does different look like? And how do we get to feeling better? And it’s all these little steps that you’re taking along the way, and every single one of those steps is a win. And think it’s so nice to be able to look at just like, two weeks into therapy, three weeks into therapy, six months into therapy, and be like, look at all of these little wins that you had along the way. And so I don’t think I could categorize it as one specific thing, but it’s watching them take this first step into change. And even if they take a step backwards, they’re catching that, right? And so their ability to reflect on their own behavior and their ability to be, doing something different that actively is going to make something feel better. I think all of those small steps are wins because they’re not all small. They’re all leading you down the path to, just continue on living. and so it’s just like these steps forward, and it’s movement. It’s not just like this specific thing or that specific thing. It’s just movement in the thing that we’re doing.

Matthew: Thank you, Ashley. How about you, Sarah? What does a win look like to you?

Sarah: I’m a lot like Ashley, and this one is, easy in my head to answer because I think everything is a win. it’s easy to find the me, and it is a lot, like Ashley said, these little tiny successes, I think on the daily, a win for me, but maybe it’s selfish of me, but I get so excited when the kids and their parents come in and they are already in mid conversation before you even have to ask a question, which means they took whatever it is that we gave them the last time they were here, went and applied it to their lives, and they’ve been waiting all week to come and tell us it, so much so that they don’t even need the question. They already know what they’re going with. and so I think that’s a really big win, that they are taking something from us and putting it to practical use, and then we have evidence of that. I also think, sometimes it’s just that they come back week to week. That’s just enough of a win, because I work with the salty dogs, I’ve heard another therapist describe it as, so I do like the more difficult to treat. And the fact that they come back every week lets us know that they do feel validated here and they do feel like they belong. And it is that safe space that Ashley talked about. I, think the winds are everywhere. it really is just one little step building into the next step. And I think ultimately the biggest win, that I could probably identify are those kids that graduate services and recognize that they struggle and they also come back. I think there is nothing more challenging, sometimes, than knowing that you need help again, but knowing where to go to ask for that help again and wanting it, I think that’s a life win. I mean, that is a life skill that you can’t beat. and so I think that’s probably my favorite win, is when sometimes we see them come back. It’s the hardest when we get to say, well, we hope we never see you again, but if we do, please know that we are so excited to see you. Again. So, I mean, I think that’s a pretty big one.

Ashley: I think I want to add on that, too, because I think it’s so cool to be able to watch them grow and get from point A to point B and be like, okay, you’re done. You can do it on your own. You have everything you need, and you are everything that you need. And I’m right here if you need to come back. And the comfort you can kind of see in their face when they’re like, oh, you’re not gone forever, if I need you again, or just their ability to be like, I have a good relationship with therapy because I had this therapist. It’s not always me, it’s not always Sarah. It could be someone else, but they had a good enough relationship with the act of therapy that they know that it’s helpful and they can go back if they need it. And I think that’s the biggest win that I always want people to know is, if it’s not me and if it’s not someone else, how can we find you with a therapist that helps you have this relationship with therapy, that you can come back if you need to, you can finish it and get all the tools and the skills and process all the things that you need to, and then when you’re ready, you can go. But it’s always here if you need it. And I think that’s the biggest one to me, is when they know that this is always a safe place to land, whether it’s with me or someone else. that therapy is actually a good thing, and it’s so helpful to talk about what’s going on. and I think about those kids that I’ve worked with that have left therapy, and they were like, I never thought I would talk to you about these things or whatever it was going on in their life. And that’s the biggest. Always brings tears to my eyes because I’m like, it’s just so impactful because that changes them for the rest of their life. And it’s nothing I specifically did, maybe, but it’s the relationship that we built together in this room, in this container that they saw was safe and they could come to and lean on, and that they can make that somewhere else with somebody else.

Matthew: Thank you, Ashley. You’re giving them not just something, now, in this moment or through treatment, but a lifelong place of help. Ashley, thank you so much for your willingness to be a part of the podcast or the great work that you do here at, Children’s Center. Huge thank you.

Ashley: Thank you, Matthew.

Matthew: Sarah, really appreciate you spending some of your busy time joining us on the podcast today or your great work here at the center. thank you.

Sarah: It is an honor and a privilege. Thank you.

Matthew: For more information about our organization, visit thechildrencenter.org. The nine eight eight suicide and crisis lifeline can be reached in the United States by calling or texting nine eight eight. It’s free and available 24/7 Hope and Healing was produced by Jenny Hoheisel and John Moe. Music by concert rock violinist Aaron Meyer. This podcast is presented by Children’s Center in Vancouver, Washington. Children’s Center’s mission is to serve children, youth and families through comprehensive community based mental health services. I’m Matthew Butte. It and thank you for listening.

Podcast host Matthew Butte

Meet the Host

"We make this podcast in order to bring you hopeful stories and to introduce you to people who inspire hope. They’ve inspired a lot of hope in me and among people here at Children’s Center and I hope you feel the same."

Hope & Healing with Children's Center is hosted by Executive Director Matthew Butte, produced by John Moe and Jennie Hoheisel, and features original music by Concert Rock Violinist Aaron Meyer. Our mission is to provide honest and positive stories of hope from the world of mental health.


Use the links below to subscribe and get the latest episodes wherever you like to listen.

SUBSCRIBE:   Spotify   |   Apple Podcasts   |   YouTube Music

Become a Sponsor

Help spread Children’s Center’s message far and wide — and bring hope and healing to listeners around the globe. Sponsor our next episode.