AHW Volunteer Spotlight: Sarah Campbell, Alameda County, CA, Chapter

by Emma Mears

Sarah Campbell
Sarah Campbell

My work with A Home Within is one of the most important parts of my private practice. —AHW Volunteer Clinician Sarah Campbell

Sarah Campbell didn’t always know she wanted to work with adolescents. Following the birth of her second child, Sarah began exploring a career change, preferring not to return to her previous job in marketing. While in therapy to help her through postpartum depression, Sarah found the experience so transformative that she decided to go to graduate school to become a therapist herself. Eager to help others as she had been helped, Sarah still didn’t think she’d want to work with teens.

While getting her M.A. in Counseling Psychology at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, California, Sarah began studying how to help new moms go through postpartum, including body work through yoga. “You can’t ignore the body when dealing with the mind,” Sarah says. “Movement is important to work through what’s going on.”

The whole time she was in graduate school, Sarah thought postpartum work would be her focus. “I read every paper and textbook on the topic,” she says. “I even wrote my thesis on supporting postpartum mood and anxiety disorders with yoga and cognitive behavioral therapy, which was actually what had helped me.”

But towards the end of her program, her focus shifted as her practicum required that she complete internship hours with people under the age of 18. Sarah got an internship at a high school wellness center and ended up loving working with teens— and adolescents have been the majority of her clients since. Her internship supervisor introduced her to A Home Within.

After completing her license in 2012, Sarah opened her private practice, and began working with her AHW client soon after. She immediately found a community at AHW, which she greatly appreciated. “Being in private practice, it is so important to have a network of colleagues,” she says. “It is really invaluable to have this network that you trust and can consult with.”

Sarah has found her consultation group to be essential to her work with AHW. By conferring with fellow mental health professionals, she gains insights into her work with her AHW client as well as with her other clients.

“What’s great about the consultation groups is that there are four therapists and a mentor,” Sarah says. “Everyone has a different approach. It’s really a creative consultation where everyone is super supportive, and it bleeds into my work with other clients— whether it’s a way of thinking, a question, or an approach to dealing with a situation, it often applies in some way to all of my clients.” 

With a growing number of young people seeking therapy from AHW—there are now over 20 young people on our waitlist in Alameda County alone— AHW is seeking additional volunteers from around the country for all of our chapters.

Sarah urges other mental health clinicians to take this unique opportunity to volunteer with A Home Within. “It is really an honor and a privilege to be able to do this work,” Sarah says. “It is really grounding as a therapist to know that every week I have that hour with my client. It’s really amazing to get to know someone and work with them during a huge period of their life for however long it takes.”

In her private practice, Sarah works with many young people whose parents have pushed them into therapy. “If a child wants to be there,” says Sarah, “if they choose it themselves, it makes a difference as a therapist. And that’s how it is with A Home Within—the young person really shows up every week.”

Sarah and her AHW client have now been working together for nine years. “I’ve known this person since they were a kid,” she says, “and now they are an adult.”

Thanks to the community AHW has opened up for her, as well as the rewarding relationship with her client, Sarah sees herself continuing for as long as her client would like. “My work with A Home Within is one of the most important parts of my private practice,” she says.

We at A Home Within are deeply grateful to Sarah and our other wonderful volunteers for making A Home Within possible.


About Emma Mears

Emma is currently an intern at A Home Within. She was born and raised in Oakland, CA, and is a third-year Health and Society student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.