9: Healing Meets Community with Aimee Hadfield

9: Healing Meets Community with Aimee Hadfield

  • Show Notes

    Discover a new kind of healing space at Aimee Hadfield’s Hearten House.

    Aimee Hadfield, LCSW, CET3, ACT, AES, is a recognized leader in the field of experiential, embodied, action, and expressive psychotherapy. Licensed in Utah and New Mexico, Aimee utilizes both trauma-informed and trauma-focused approaches to treatment.

    She’s passionate about helping people recognize the roles they play in their lives and helping them actively create the roles they want (while discarding the ones they don’t).

    Along with a deep understanding of psychodrama, sociometry, and group psychotherapy, her unique approach incorporates role theory, narrative therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, parts work, sandtray, Brainspotting, lifestyle medicine, mindfulness, and somatic therapy. Fueled by the belief that thoughts, feelings, and behaviors make perfect sense within the context of one's story and roles, Aimee empowers clients as she co-creates real healing and lasting change with them.

    Aimee is the founder of Hearten House in Salt Lake City, a unique therapeutic space achieving the goal of reimagining mental health care. She also runs a successful clinical and consulting practice, facilitating multi-day intensive therapy experiences with clients from all over the world.

    Aimee holds a Master of Social Work and a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Science with an emphasis in Family Studies, and over 1000 hours of specialized postgraduate clinical training.

    Cherie Lindberg and Aimee Hadfield talk about Hearten House, a mission-driven space in Utah that provides various healing modalities and support for small business owners in the well-being sphere.






  • Transcript

    [00:00:38] Cherie Lindberg: Welcome back to another episode of Elevated Life Academy podcast. We have Amy Hatfield in the house, and she is gonna share with us her mission for Hearten House, which is located in Utah. And just to give you a little prequel to this. We did a training at Hearten House, and then we got to learn a little bit more. So if you could please, introduce yourself and share about your mission in Hearten House.

    [00:01:44] Aimee Hadfield:

    [00:01:44] Thank you. I'm so excited to be here and share. Hearten House is mission driven. I started it not wanting to be a therapist. I just knew that there was a need for a space where different kinds of healing modalities could come together and happen in one place. I also knew there needed to be accessibility for small business owners in the wellbeing sphere.

    [00:02:13] I'm a licensed clinical social worker. And at that point it was 2019 and I was almost finished with my master's degree. And I just knew I wanted to teach and share, but didn't necessarily wanted to do clinical work. And part of the reason behind that was in my own journey, I hadn't gotten a lot of results from talk therapy.

    [00:02:39] It had some experiences where I thought, if you're just going to hand me a book, why? But I had gotten good results from other methods, very aware of scope of practice. So I thought, if we could put a talk therapist and a movement-based therapist, or someone who provided services with art together under one roof and they could collaborate, then maybe that's the answer.

    [00:03:02] And so the idea for Hearten House was born. So we started looking for physical space and I had a very clear vision of the space that included things like exposed brick a loft type environment. exposed ducting and lots of natural light. And I saw a photograph about three months after the idea had come to me, I saw a photograph on Instagram and thought, oh, that's, that's the space.

    [00:03:33] But it was a photograph announcing that another business was starting in this space. So I thought, maybe we'll partner, who knows? And so, that was July of 2019. In March of 2020, I was driving home from where I was working in inpatient substance use treatment, and I saw the vision. I know it's out there, where and when, where are you at with this? And I got this overwhelming feeling of soon. That day I got home and I opened Instagram, and the top post in my feed was a picture of the woman who owned the business that was operating in this space, and she said, I'm heartbroken, we're not gonna make it.

    [00:04:16] I sent her a message and asked to be connected with the listing agent for this space, and it turned out that it was the owner of the building. I spoke with him.

    [00:04:27] He told me all the reasons I didn't want this space. You've been here, it's downtown. There's vehicles backing up, weird fish market downstairs. And I just said, that's why I need to be there. I need the urban environment and the access

    [00:04:40] And I didn't know. This was March 4th, 2020. So the world was shutting down. And we signed a lease anyway for 5,000 square feet and kind of dependent on in-person work. And we're still here. And the mission has always been to provide a space for well-being so that we can support practitioners, business owners and the community. A lot of what we did during the initial months when we were here, was that we were able to utilize our space to host a group called Recovery Vibe, which is a nonprofit that does dance and movement, expressive classes for people in all types of recovery.

    [00:05:23] So we were able to let them use the space every Thursday for months, and be involved in the community even though we weren't doing what we had set out to do. And then by July of 2021, we were full.

    [00:05:37] Cherie Lindberg: Wow. To imagine that you trusted this vision even when the world was shutting down.

    [00:05:45] Incredible.

    [00:05:45] Aimee Hadfield: And I think, that's part of what sustained me and my partner, Jeff, through it was really believing that it was a mission that was ours to bring into the world. I'm sure there's a spreadsheet somewhere of the businesses that have been launched, but because of the coworking space model, we've been able to provide flexible by the hour office space to people who don't want to be in practice full time or people who are transitioning from agency work to private practice for the first time. And this is not just therapists. We have a couple of life coaches, a Reiki practitioner. We have been part of incubating physical therapy companies, dieticians, mental health practices. And what we've seen happen is that they've started with an hourly kind of model and outgrown us.

    [00:06:39] Quickly. And that has been my favorite part of the mission is watching people not need us anymore because they'll go from needing hourly space to a full suite of offices because they've grown and hired. The other piece that is really important is providing ongoing training and support for practitioners.

    [00:06:59] And that's how we met. And so that's the other thing I love about having the space is the opportunity to share it with the community. And also to share it in a way that we are bringing embodied methods to practitioners so they can then go carry on and utilize what I believe are the most powerful types of therapeutic interventions in their own practices.

    [00:07:25] And so I really love being a part of that.

    [00:07:27] Cherie Lindberg: Yeah. I mean, it sounds like you're a launching pad.

    [00:07:30] Aimee Hadfield: That's what I kind of didn't expect, the launching pad or incubator aspect of it. But that has been really exciting to watch.

    [00:07:37] Cherie Lindberg: Can you share any stories of hope and healing that have come to fruition because of this mission that you've had, that you've witnessed or you've heard.

    [00:07:46] Aimee Hadfield: One of the first that comes to mind is my own. When I started Hearten House, I did not have any desire to be a therapist. I didn't see myself doing clinical work of any sort. The space, the gift that it has given to me has been exposure to methods, but also as I have grown professionally and sought out methods that I feel called to. I already have the space to be a practitioner of those methods. I am working toward board certification in psychodrama, sociometry, and group psychotherapy.

    [00:08:21] And that is a big process. I am able to host trainings for that here. And I am able to host groups here. And I think if I had started out in a regular private practice, that would've been a hard transition. I already have the space with the 12 and a half foot rug that connect as a stage and all of that.

    [00:08:40] And to be able to step into that work wholeheartedly, which is what I've done. I don't know that I would've been able to say yes to that if I hadn't already said yes to a space that could act as a container for it. And my personal journey of healing and even attaching myself to the space for the first little while I ran up against a lot of fear that it would fail and that that would mean that I would fail. And what I realized is that once I attached myself to it and said, Hey, I made this, that shifted a lot of things as far as the business. Another person is coming to mind. A person who came here originally seeking services and did therapy, coaching and energy work with various practitioners here. And that was in 2020 at the very beginning. And now this person is attending trainings in experiential methods has gotten a certification to be a mediator and is utilizing experiential and embodied methods in that work. And has applied for master's programs.

    [00:09:56] Just coming as a client, then participating in trainings here, and watching the growth of being involved with the space, this person is completely different today than they were three years ago.

    [00:10:09] Cherie Lindberg: Yeah. Well, it's a testament to what Healing can do because it sounds like they're evolving and expanding into their higher self, whatever that is meant to be.

    [00:10:18] Aimee Hadfield: Yes. And I think a big piece is that the practitioners this person worked with have access to the community, because that's a big piece of it for me as we talk about, especially with therapists always, and even more so right now, things like burnout being overworked and lack of balance and all of the things that come with that.

    [00:10:40] The little community that we have here is really neat for that because while everyone owns their own business, so they're independent business owners, nobody's practicing alone. We have people that we bump into in the hallway and we have developed relationships. And like I have an intern who's working with me this academic year, and she has access to other professionals. If she has questions, she's able to interface with all different kinds of professionals, and we can refer back and forth. There have been days where I've been having a hard day and I've bumped into another therapist in the hallway and just been able to be like, huh, it's a struggle out here today and feel really seen and heard and not alone in that. And I think that that impacts the health of us as practitioners when we're able to practice in community and have access to the community support. In a professional sense there are people here to collaborate with and consult with.

    [00:11:37] And so things like that seem really important, and I think that they're all intricately woven, but very important when we talk about how to practice in a sustaining and sustainable way. The community piece. And I know that affects the clients that seek care here. I meet clients out in public that have been here, and tell me how the space itself has affected their healing process. Because the space is not a sterile clinical environment. It's very imaginative and invokes curiosity and sometimes people see things and, we'll interpret them one way and then that can go right into session.

    [00:12:15] Cherie Lindberg: Yeah. So, so talk about the space. So paint a picture of the space to see if our listeners can use their imaginations too. paint us a picture of how it is different because you're definitely correct. It's not clinical environment at all.

    [00:12:30] Aimee Hadfield: We wanted it to feel warm and inviting. And in the very beginning I worked with a branding consultant, and she asked the question, how do you want people to feel? And my answer was, I want 'em to feel like they can take their shoes off. To me it meant that it felt like home, that it felt safe and that it didn't feel sterile or pristine. In the space mixture of high-end furnishings and repurposed furnishings, and a mixture of local art and vintage things, and really designed and layered to evoke something.

    [00:13:09] One example of that is a corner in the space that's piled with squishy stuffed animals and pillows. So many people, adults, have expressed an interest in diving into this corner physically. And most who have expressed an interest have actually followed through.

    [00:13:28] And things like that, that allow people to access, we talk about inner child work, but in a physical way. What does it actually feel like to hide in a pile of stuffed animals as an adult? But also the space becomes part of the warmup. For clinical work, but so the way the space is set up is that there are, in the large area, there's seven private offices, and then a large area that's about 2000 square feet.

    [00:13:53] And there's a kitchen and there's a large kitchen table, and that's by design. My bachelor's degree is in family science, and I have a lot of feelings around the importance of gathering. And so the kitchen table kind of represents the kitchen table, which I believe to be the most important piece of furniture in my home.

    [00:14:12] And so things like that, that evoke kind of a homey presence, but also act as when I'm doing intensive therapeutic work, we do art at the table. drama and sociometry on the rug. There are seating areas. a library, a nook full of art supplies. So we can really use that multimodal approach to healing. And then the kitchen table, something that I didn't anticipate, there was a family who saw a therapist who was renting space here. And what I noticed about this family is that every week they would come at their session time and I think that different members of the family did sessions separately, but the members who weren't in session would sit at the kitchen table and have snacks and drinks 'cause somatic needs come first. And so the family would sit at the table and work on homework together at the kitchen table. And then one day there was a training, where the table is blocked off and I noticed that the family was in the waiting room all on their phones.

    [00:15:17] And I thought, that's where they would be. But they get to-

    [00:15:20] Cherie Lindberg: Have that connection.

    [00:15:21] Aimee Hadfield: Rather than just sitting. And then with the stuffed animals, I use them a lot in my work to represent all kinds of things. But this corner that's full of them, there was an adolescent who would come in every week, pick up the same one, and it was a cat with a bow in its hair. And the adolescent would sit and ground in the library area and just hold the animal. And the therapist that was working with them asked if that was okay, and I was like, oh my gosh, of course. It's okay. That's part of it, that the whole space becomes part of the therapeutic experience. Which is something that when I started it, I didn't realize because I didn't have the understanding of experiential work that I have now.

    [00:16:07] Cherie Lindberg: Well, a couple things that are coming to mind as you're talking, Amy. One is the cubby kind of effect that is there, too. Like these little cubbies with different concentrations.

    [00:16:16] Like one has a lot of books, the other one has the art supplies. And what I'm hearing you say is that when they come into the space it helps them get access to something so that they can explore whatever they're getting access to.

    [00:16:30] Aimee Hadfield: Exactly, yeah. So that, rather than being on their phone or in their head while they're waiting to go into session, they're interacting. Whether they are using an object to ground or whether they are connecting as a family or whether they are noticing a book and reading a book.

    [00:16:49] And so that's exactly what was happening. That rather than going into session. fresh off the phone or fresh out of traffic there was somewhere in between that they could do exactly what you just described. And then go into session more ready to work.

    [00:17:05] Cherie Lindberg: Yeah. So, in wrapping up here, what is it like now? This started in 2019. What it's evolved into and what you're noticing. How does it feel to see this mission come to fruition?

    [00:17:19] Aimee Hadfield: It feels amazing. It's very spiritual. People compliment me all the time about what I've created. My partner Jeff is, the chief vibe officer. The potential for growth, especially as we are hosting more and more trainings with people from all over the country. I hosted one in October that was 10 Psychodromatists and a trainer from the East Coast. And the consensus is that there's nothing like it in the world. And I would love for there to be more like it in the world.

    [00:17:51] Cherie Lindberg: That's beautiful. Yeah. Well, I just wanna thank you for taking the time to be part of this podcast. And like I said, we'll put the link to your space underneath the podcast, and I'll email you some other questions so that people can see and be able to contact you.

    [00:18:09] Aimee Hadfield: Thank you so much.

    [00:18:10] Cherie Lindberg: I'll be anxious to see how this continues to evolve. And I know I get a chance to see you again in October. But to see where else this is gonna take you. Yeah.

    [00:18:20] Aimee Hadfield: Thank you for supporting and believing in us.

    [00:18:22] Cherie Lindberg: Of course. Thank you so much.