La Selva Group’s Esperanza House Helps Women Recover from Trauma

image of friendsIn celebration of Women’s History Month last March, we took a look inside Esperanza House, a unique program for women recovering from trauma.

We asked Brenna Connolly, Director of Outpatient Services for the La Selva Group, about the program, challenges during the pandemic, the rewards of her work, and how people can connect with the house.

What is Esperanza House?

Esperanza House is a supportive housing site dedicated to treating women who identify as experiencing trauma. The house provides trauma informed care through individual therapy, group therapy and medication management. Residents live independently but have strong daily support that is both therapeutic and practical (helping them cook food for each other, help with shopping, or help with job searching). The house is run by lead clinician Kathleen Grey, AMFT, with support from Maya Kehoe. Kathleen supports residents with therapy, and together, Kathleen and Maya meet their residents’ day to day needs with compassion and care.

What challenge has the Esperanza House and clients faced during the pandemic?

Isolation. Our program thrives on helping individuals thrive through building community and connection. Luckily, because we provide this type of housing, clients are able to connect with peers. However, help with building an outside community, finding work, going to support groups outside of La Selva has been extremely difficult. Despite these challenges, we are very proud that we have been able to provide “live” connection, support, and treatment throughout this pandemic.

What do you enjoy about your work?

  1. My team. La Selva and Momentum staff are beyond supportive and kind. We decided on day 1 of COVID that we would not change what we do here, despite the pandemic. It was extremely hard on our personal lives, but my team was courageous and knew it was best for the clients and the community. I love what I do because of the people I work with.
  2. The clients. I cannot tell you what an honor it is to be by these client’s side as they take this very difficult journey. They make a conscious decision to be vulnerable and to work harder than everyone else to better their lives and circumstances. This is so courageous and so HARD. It is powerful to see this happen before your eyes. I am proud of every single person that has come through this program. They have not only helped themselves, but they have connected with peers and helped other’s as well.

What is a challenge in your work?

The sadness we see. It takes a toll to see people hurting and struggling every day. The trauma that some of our clients have endured (or are enduring) affects us all personally.

How can people get help or get involved with Esperanza House?

Just call our admissions directors (Monika and/or Michelle). Depending on the level of care someone is needing, they just need to come to us and we can work with them to try to get them into one of our programs.