(A)s a teen, I was on the streets and ended up in foster care. I didn't have good services or therapy that was offered. (...) And so I of course wanted to be a part of something that would bring that to teens, adults, and kids now.


Chrissy, Volunteer Engagement Manager here at A Home Within, had the opportunity to enjoy a rich conversation with one of our Portland Chapter founders, Diane Steinbrecher, LCSW. You can watch the interview here or read the transcript below.

How and when did you first get involved with A Home Within, and why were you drawn to it?

I’m one of the founders within A Home Within in Portland, and I’m the only one that’s left. I’m not exactly sure when we started—it’s got to be at least 15 years ago, maybe longer. There was a group of us therapists who saw that this was a population that was not being serviced well, and we wanted to provide therapy for them. We were developing our own program, and then one of the members found A Home Within and said, “We don’t need to develop a new program, we’ll just join them!”
And what drew me was that as a teen, I was on the streets and ended up in foster care. I didn't have good services or therapy that was offered. I had a social worker who was not very good—she didn’t do therapy, or at least I wouldn’t let her do therapy with me. And so I of course wanted to be a part of something that would bring that to teens, adults, and kids now. Just like what we started—we saw a hole in the services for people in the system.
I often share (my personal experience of foster care) with A Home Within, because I understand on the inside. And in working with the research team, I’m a part of that board. That’s why they wanted that experience, the combination of being a therapist and also that experience (of foster care).

What would you say to someone considering volunteering with and/or donating to A Home Within?

From a listserv in which Diane advertised for A Home Within: “I am reaching out to all of you in hopes you can find it in your hearts to join us in providing therapy services as a part of a wonderful organization called A Home Within that I helped start and maintain for many years. Many of us helped birth this program in Portland many years ago to help the needs of those who are or have been a part of the foster care system. We saw the needs of so many youth and adults who have been displaced from their families and the need to help provide secure attachment so they can thrive in their lives.
A Home Within is a nonprofit organization that provides therapy to foster care youth and adults--providing free therapy for as long as is needed to a child or adult who have been impacted by foster care and circumstances related to leaving their families.
A Home Within volunteers receive free CE credits through live online trainings, ongoing consultation groups with skilled psychologists we learn from, and access to a thriving nationwide network of clinicians. Perhaps the biggest thing we receive is to see our clients feel a sense of importance and value in their lives that help them live life with a purpose and meaning.
I can say that personally my A Home Within clients have brought such a depth to my practice that I could not have imagined. I have been working with one client for many years who, through her therapy was able to complete graduate school, start employment of her dreams, marry and now bring a child into their loving family. I have seen her build a solid home within through working through her foster care experience as well as being given up by her family. Her life has moved into that which is generative for herself and her family.
I hope you will consider contributing some time to being a volunteer therapist to this organization. Our local chapter is very strong with consultation groups and a great clinical director. We need more clinicians to fill the needs of clients. We have many on waiting lists for therapists. If you are a clinician working toward licensure this can give you hours toward this process.
If you are interested, please contact our local clinical director Laura Orgel, PhD at or myself at

As you know, we are celebrating both the inspiring history and promising future of A Home Within. Where do you hope to see A Home Within headed in the future? What would you like to see happen?

Much of what has happened since Reed and all the people that have been hired came on is what I wanted to see happen for the agency.
The only other thing is that there are too many people waiting for therapy. We need to get more therapists on board. And I’ve been trying to get them by sending out what I sent to you (in an email). And we’ve gotten new people, but still we have more on the waiting list. I just took a new one—I had worked with a woman for ten years or better, and they just completed, and now I’m going to start with another woman. But I don’t think people should have to be on a waiting list—it’s hard enough to come and ask for help.
And also we’re looking at what is best to offer in terms of an intake. It used to be really bare-bones,
There are so many people that have never heard of A Home Within, so how to advertise at least in the areas where there are chapters so that therapists know that this is available, and also clients, too? There still isn’t a lot of knowing about it, at least in Portland.

What is the most special part about A Home Within to you?

Working with clients and watching them transform. When I was working with the kids and teens, it was more difficult because they are in foster care and there are issues there around therapy and the foster parents and that kind of thing. But now working with an adult for over 10 years was such an enriching experience to watch her grow and change. She got her Master’s degree, got a job that was a dream job to her, and then had a baby. It’s been a rich experience being with her on the journey.

What impact has your work with A Home Within had on your life - personal, professional, or otherwise?

Personally, it has helped me to do things differently than what happened to me, and to be a part of that change.
Professionally, it’s more about watching people change and that their past experience of losing their family and foster care and all that has happened can start to get healed. It doesn’t go away, but healed enough that they can thrive rather than just survive, and that’s so much of what foster care is—just surviving. There are some wonderful people that are foster parents, but even so. I mean, I had wonderful foster parents per se, but I never felt a part of their family. And I think that that’s often the case. It’s really hard for a person, a kid, to go into a home and not know anybody or what the rules are and not feel a part of the family. So to help with that whole process, to heal it. We tend to think it’s about us, that we’re not good enough, rather than it was that the situation wasn’t good enough and didn’t promote your really understanding your worth and value and importance.

What are some other projects and/or accomplishments outside of your volunteer work with A Home Within you are most proud of?

Well, a colleague and I wrote a book, and we are on our second book. The first book is called, A Treasure Within: An Archetypal Unfolding to Your Infinite Potential, which is what we’re talking about and the work in healing for people so that they can move into a relationship with the deep self, which is who we are. So that, and we started our second book.
I also oversee and facilitate groups in a program called Radiant Mind, which is the same thing in that it is a non-dual group, and I do it as a volunteer and it’s an international program. So that’s an important part of my life as well.
I teach groups with my colleague, we teach archetypal pattern analysis and I’m on the staff of the CC Institute, which is an international program for archetypal pattern analysis certification. I’m also a thesis advisor and reader, and I just feel very proud of the woman I’ve been working with on her thesis. I’ve just approved it, and now it goes to a reader and then to the main person in advising.
So being a deep part in people’s lives really matters to me, and the kind of relationships that we have.

Is there anything else you’d like to say, or anything else you want to leave us with?

Just know that you can call on me if there is something. I am really committed to the program, and that’s why I’ve stayed this long.

At a Glance

A Home Within’s community includes nearly 500 therapists in 20 chapters across 10 states.
Dozens of free consultation groups and continuing education events are offered each year.
This year, over 150 therapists nationwide became volunteers, leading to a 25% increase in our network!