We exist to ignite, equip, and connect helping professionals to stay well while helping others.
In short: to see humans stay well, and continue to do good.
Many humans express a desire to "do good" in the world, but common experiences and mindsets among these helpers can instead lead to burnout and harm. So, where do we go for help? Did you know that after experiencing a crisis or loss, as many as 70% of folks will turn to their pastor or faith community before seeking other types of mental health support? Those helping professionals are often in the "front lines" of trauma, but many aren't fully trained or equipped to deal with the spectrum of mental health needs in their community. It goes without saying that we want our local helping professionals to stay well: but resilience isn't just about "getting grittier." It's also about maintaining warmth, connection, and a sense of purpose in this work.
Our vision is to create clearer paths toward sustainable wellness, warmth, and resilience among helping professionals and volunteers across the Pacific Northwest.
I'm Teresa. I started Therapy Spark to address a need: as a professional counselor married to a pastor, the daughter of a teacher, and the mother of two teens, I've seen firsthand the unique challenges facing helping professionals including compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, and burnout.
THE WORKERS ARE FEW
I first became curious about "burnout" as I began grad school. Despite months of professors going over the importance of personal wellness and "self-care," my cohort began dropping like flies. Albeit an excellent counseling program, of the 22 adults that began, only 16 crossed the finish line to graduation. And of those, only 4 chose to go immediately into direct care (serving clients). For a variety of reasons, many were burnt out before they even had a chance to begin.
THE HELPERS ARE WEARY
Then in early 2020, as I began to work in my first group counseling practice in Portland, I watched it happen again as the pandemic dragged on: at times, our team struggled to thrive. While caring for others, we were also managing our own families, losses, and other stressors. I know I'm not alone in saying the pandemic threw a wrench in a lot of my go-to "self-care" and social routines. These experiences begged the question: how many other helping professionals struggle to thrive? And if we're struggling, long term, how might that impact the communities we serve? It was a wake up call. As servant leaders in our fields, we are notoriously BAD at taking care of ourselves, and we deserve to do better.
DO NOT GIVE UP IN DOING GOOD
So "Therapy Spark" began: to ignite and connect "helpers" and other humans to better practice what we preach about "self-care," community, and truly trauma-informed care. And while I'm all for vacations or sabbaticals to "recover," I hold firm to the crazy notion that it IS possible to remain hopeful and energized during business hours - even when you're on the "front lines" of trauma or mental health. I don't know about you, but I don't want to see ONE more person "dropping out" of caring for others because of personal stress or burnout.
Your clients, family, friends, and community need you. Most of all, you deserve to be your best you. Stay well, do good. And wherever you're at in your journey, we're rooting for you!
We need warmth and resilience more than ever, and here's why: Did you know that more than one in five adults across Oregon and Washington report struggling with their mental health (SAMHSA)? And since the pandemic began, as many as four in ten adults across the U.S. report symptoms of anxiety or depression. This impacts all of us, but helping professionals are often at greater risk, serving in the front lines of mental health. Many people turn to faith leaders first when experiencing a crisis, but those leaders are not always well equipped to identify nor address many types of mental illness. Understandably, this takes a toll.
As of 2021, 23% of pastors report struggling with their own mental health, while 25% of mental health providers reported increased anxiety and depression. Mental illness and turnover can significantly impact both cost of services and quality of care. The turnover rate for mental health professionals is now between 20-40%, while 52% of ministry staff reported considering finding new jobs in 2021, and as many as 70% of lead pastors report considering leaving. When community leaders struggle to thrive, it impacts many others.
In short, mental wellness matters: for everyone.
Therapy Spark ignites meaningful change through individual consulting and coaching opportunities. Increase satisfaction, warmth and resilience in your personal, professional, or organizational goals. Packages available.
We create and curate engaging, evidence-based resources that are easy to use and share in the workplace, ministry, and home. Our list of resources is new but expanding, so check back often for updates this year!
We offer trainings from a trauma-informed, intersectional and compassionate Christian worldview. If you'd like to host (or join) a mental health training at your church or workplace, we ensure trainings are current, trauma-informed, and meet the mark to connect with your audience for maximum impact and action.
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