Sarah brought her daughter to Wilder’s mental health clinic, and found healing for the whole family
Twin Cities physicians Sarah and her husband Joel were shocked two years ago when their high-performing, vibrant youngest daughter experienced a mental health crisis. They brought their daughter to Wilder’s mental health clinic for help, and found support for the whole family.
Wilder works to serve participants in a way that considers the needs of the entire family. Through that whole-family approach, Sarah and other family members found the mental health support they needed as they helped their daughter navigate her crisis.
During their teenage daughter’s initial two-hour appointment, an intake therapy team offered counseling to Sarah and her husband, too. The idea is that by supporting the well-being of everyone in the family, Sarah’s daughter and the whole family could better grow and heal. Sarah gratefully accepted. “I was falling apart,” she recalls. “I couldn't stop crying.”
Sarah discovers EMDR to support her mental health
An intake therapist thought that Sarah could benefit from work to address re-activated trauma, and recommended a specific type of therapy called eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and a therapist, Carla Cowan, who would be a good match for Sarah’s needs.
Sarah thought the intake meeting was revolutionary. She had previous experience with counselors, but had chosen them based on availability and had no way to know if their skills would fit her needs. “I really like the idea that that somebody who's knowledgeable and who can start making a diagnosis is then recommending who you can see for therapy,” Sarah says. Without that initial evaluation, Sarah says she might never have known that EMDR could help her.
EMDR is a type of therapy that helps people heal from mental health symptoms and emotional distress that result from traumatic experiences. “What (therapy) helps me most with is I don’t have this physical triggering where I feel like I have to solve things and I’m all worked up,” Sarah says. “It really helps with interactions with my husband and my kids. That liberated me from so much stuff.”
One day, after Sarah encountered a patient who called her a bad doctor because he was frustrated and upset, Sarah realized she would previously have been upset and needed to talk about the experience for weeks. Now she was able to let the experience go more easily. “It's only the absence of that feeling that makes me understand that it was there before,” Sarah says.
Wilder mental health provides support for the whole family
Sarah’s family felt so supported by Wilder that when her 19-year-old son needed mental health care, they called Wilder right away. Due to the pandemic, her son completed an evaluation and worked with a therapist by video for several months. “It was good for him to get that support,” Sarah says.
These days, Sarah’s daughter is doing better and sees a therapist based in her school. Sarah continues to work with Carla to maintain her mental wellness, and she knows what she’ll do if anyone in her family needs mental health services.
“I feel like whatever comes up, Wilder’s going to deal with it,” Sarah says.
Sarah works to remove barriers to mental health care
After benefitting from Wilder’s mental health services, Sarah became a Wilder donor. She also shares her experience with others and encourages them to take steps to manage their mental health. Sarah estimates she’s given the phone number for Wilder’s mental health services to more than 20 people.
“There’s the stigma of mental health,” Sarah says. “I don’t have that, but a lot of people have that, and there’s just a lot of barriers. “Anything that can reduce those barriers, I think is just great.”
What (therapy) helps me most with is I don’t have this physical triggering where I feel like I have to solve things and I’m all worked up. It really helps with interactions with my husband and my kids. That liberated me from so much stuff.