Trillium Family Services is Oregon’s largest provider of mental and behavioral healthcare for children and families. From residential psychiatric treatment to mental health advocacy in the streets, Trillium is committed to transforming our state into a safer, more supportive place for ALL people to live, work, play and learn.

This ongoing employee spotlight blog series features some of the many caring, talented people it takes to Keep Oregon Well at Trillium Family Services!

Trillium Family Spotlight on: Heidi Aslop

What is your role and title at Trillium?

I am a Child and Family Therapist at Powers Cottage at Children’s Farm Home.

How long have you been with the organization?  

Since September 19, 2016

Why does mental health matter to you?

I believe that we can increase understanding and reduce stigma in order to create a culture wherein people who have mental health issues can be loved and accepted in the community and find meaningful ways to participate in the community.

What made you want to work at Trillium initially?

I was seeking a student internship.

What are some of the reasons you continue to believe in this work?

I enjoy connecting with youth who have faced many challenges in their lives. It is fulfilling to me to sit with a client and help them to know that they are heard and understood.

Tell me about a time when you felt that Trillium had truly made a difference in someone’s life?

I worked with a young man who was experiencing severe psychotic symptoms. He had been through a great deal of trauma and he was very scared. I listened as he explained what the world was like for him, including being terrified of things that nobody else could see. When I validated his emotions and normalized his experience, he looked up at me with tears in his eyes, and I could tell for at least that moment, in that room, on that day, he felt understood. I believe that this work consists of the slow accumulation of thousands of such instances that add up to a solid therapeutic relationship.

How would you describe trauma-informed care to someone who had never heard of it?

I would describe trauma-informed care as working to understand people based on the entirety of their life experience, and how their view of the world makes sense to them. You have to do your best to see the world from someone else’s perspective and through the lens of the things that have happened to them.

Has Sanctuary changed your experience of working at Trillium?  If so, how?

Sanctuary has changed my view of the entire world as well as my experience of working at Trillium. The main way I have been impacted is in the way I handle conflict between myself and others, or between colleagues at work. I try to be less reactive and let some time pass before approaching the situation. I take time to view the conflict from multiple points of view. I also keep in mind that everyone is doing the best they can, and I try not to assign motives to others for their actions which irritate me.

If you could only tell the world one thing about the work we do here at Trillium, what would it be?

I would say that the people who work at Trillium do so because they truly love their work and want to make a difference in the lives of youth who have experienced tremendous loss and trauma.

This is kind-of an awkward question, I know…but I want you to take just a moment to brag on yourself and the work you do. What are you most proud of having accomplished during your time with the organization?

I think that I have developed good working relationships with my colleagues and I work well with both the community teams of my clients and my treatment team at Trillium.

Any interesting facts about you that you’d like to share?

I have five sons, ranging from 27 years old to 14 years old, the youngest of whom we adopted about 8 years ago. I also have a four-year-old granddaughter and a grandson who just turned one. I play the piano, knit lots of socks (and other things), and love to cook. I love fairy dust (sparkles!) and drive a car with pink, flowered stripes.

Do you have any advice for people looking to become mental health advocates or explore a career in behavioral health?

Curiosity is key and helps one avoid being judgmental.

During all of our community meetings at Trillium we close with an inspirational or thought-provoking quote.  To close our chat today, do you have a favorite quote you would be willing to share?

“If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away.” ~~Henry David Thoreau

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