The Family Table Podcast

The Family Table is a place where our clients and their families speak with our therapists and counselors and share when they lived with fear and pain... during a time when they felt the most alone.  Listen to the raw discussions of healing and growth from those who have overcome substance use, mental health disorders, violent relationships, and so much more.


Episode 22: 

Meet Tina Cloer; 
President and CEO of Children's Bureau  

January 2021

As the President and CEO of Children’s Bureau since 2013, Tina Cloer strives to make life better for central Indiana’s children and families. She grew up in an at-risk family faced with the same challenges that plague many Indiana families today.

Listen to episode 22 to learn more about the integration of Families First and Children's Bureau's missions—and the greater hope and impact the merge will offer Indiana families. 

Practicing Gratitude

December 2020

Practicing gratitude has incredible effects, from improving our mental health to boosting our relationships with others.

Building your capacity for gratitude isn’t difficult, especially during a year like 2020. It just takes practice! Join The Family Table's featured guest, Joey Gray-Purcell, as she discusses how we can bring our attention to that which we feel grateful for!

Keeping Politics in Perspective

November 2020

This year has been an emotionally intense, sometimes scary, and often overwhelming experience for many of us. While the reasons for this are plenty, we can add politics to the list. Being politically aware, engaged, and paying attention to the media are of top priority for a large part of the United States and some even see being politically active as their moral imperative. But, when does it all become too much for us to handle? Has the upcoming election left you feeling drained, depleted, and taken a toll on your mental health?

Join Rene Elsbury, Therapist and Supervisor of Home Based Services and former Policy with a Purpose podcast host, to hear more about managing emotions and setting boundaries during and after the 2020 election.

Supporting others

october 2020

While 1 in 5 people will experience a diagnosable mental health condition in their lives, 5 out of 5 people will go through a challenging time that affects their mental health. There are simple things that every person can say or do to help the people in their life who are struggling to get through the tough times.

Listen to episode 19 as Sandi Lerman, Community Educator, discusses ways in which we can support others who are going through a life challenge or change. 

Creating Healthy Routines

September 2020

Work, paying bills, cleaning, cooking, shopping, exercising, getting enough sleep, and taking care of children are just some of the things millions of Americans do each day and it is easy to be overwhelmed. It can feel impossible to get everything done, let alone take care of yourself – especially if you’re already struggling with a mental health concern like depression or anxiety.

Listen to episode 18 to learn how to create healthy routines. Amanda Stropes, Families First's Clinical Director, shares how we can organize our days in such a way that taking care of tasks and ourselves will become a pattern that makes it easier to get things done without having to think hard about them!

Eliminating Toxic Influences

August 2020

Certain people and situations in life can trigger us to feel badly about ourselves or engage in destructive behaviors. Identifying the toxic influences in our lives and taking steps to create boundaries or a new life without them can improve mental and physical health over time.

Listen to episode 17 as Carolyn Passen, counselor at Families First, teaches us how to create healthy boundaries and gives tips on ways to get rid of toxic influences in our lives.

Resources mentioned in Episode #17:

Personalize Safety Planning

National Domestic Violence Hotline

Sexual Assault Counseling and Advocacy

Episode 16:

Connecting with others

July 2020

It’s possible to be surrounded by people and still feel alone. It’s the connections we make with other people that help enrich our lives and get us through tough times, but sometimes it’s hard to know how to make those connections.

Listen to episode 16 as Aly Austin, Survivor Advocate at Families First, shares tips that can help when trying to make meaningful social connections

Finding the positive after loss

JUNE 2020

At some point in our lives we will all experience loss. It may be the end of a relationship, being let go from a job, losing a home, or the death of a loved one. It is natural to go through a grieving process. By looking for opportunity in adversity or finding ways to remember the good things about who or what we’ve lost, we can help ourselves to recover mentally and emotionally.

Joey Gray-Purcell, Counselor at Families First, joins us in Episode 15 and gives tips on how to get through overwhelming emotions that can come from loss. She teaches us how to change the way we see negative situations, re-frame common negative thoughts, and practice gratitude so we can move forward and reduce our stress and sadness.

Owning your feelings

May 2020 

While 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health. Over the next 6 months we will be providing practical tools and tips that everyone can use to improve their mental health and increase resiliency.

We are kicking off the 6-part series with Owning Your Feelings. It can be easy to get caught up in your emotions as you’re feeling them. Most people don’t think about what emotions they are dealing with, but taking the time to really identify what you’re feeling can help you to better cope with challenging situations.

Listen to Episode 14 as Rene Elsbury, Home-Based Therapist at Families First, gives tips on how to successfully own your feelings!




APRIL 2020

We all know romantic relationships are hard work. Like cars, they require regular maintenance to keep them running well. If there is a problem, it’s best to have it repaired right away to avoid further complications down the road.

Often, we can do some of the basic maintenance and repairs ourselves. Other times, despite our best efforts, we need to rely on a professional to take a look and give us a hand.

Kat O’Hara, Survivor Counselor at Families First, joined us at The Family Table to talk about the behaviors that destroy our romantic relationships and what we can do to repair the damage we have done. 

Listen to episode 13 to get tips on working better together with your partner!

A look into the long history of social work and Families First

March 2020

The White House officially recognized March as the National Professional Social Work Month in 1984. The theme for Social Work Month 2020 is “Social Workers: Generations Strong.

Join us as we look back and honor the powerful, positive impact the social work profession has had on our community for many generations. Our guest Katherine Badertscher, PhD, and author of the dissertation “Organized Charity and the Civic Ideal in Indianapolis, 1879-1922” shares how Families First has played an evolutionary role in meeting the needs of our neighbors. 



Every February across the United States, teens and those who support them join together for a national effort to raise awareness to teen dating violence. Dating violence is more common than many people think. One in three teens in the U.S. will experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse by someone they are in a relationship with before they become adults.

Listen to Episode 11 to learn more about what healthy teen relationships look like; talking to your children about boundaries, sex, and the use of technology; and why teens stay in unhealthy and abusive relationships. Get tips from Families First’s Protective Order Advocate, Melvisha P, to learn the signs of a potentially harmful and toxic relationship and help keep your teen safe!

EPISODE 10: Understanding Substance Use

January 2020

Katie B., Substance Use Program Supervisor at Families First, sits with us at the Family Table to talk about Substance Use. We discuss when substance use becomes a problem; what recovery looks like; if it's okay to have a drink around someone who struggles with alcohol use; and how to support a friend or family member who is trying to maintain their sobriety.



So many people talk about the holidays as the happiest time of year, but for many it's not. Feelings of loneliness and loss can heighten during the holidays and the start of a new year. These types of feelings can be brought on by grief, illness, the loss of a job, the end of a relationship, and general anxiety and pressure around the holidays.

Listen to episode 9 to learn more about depression and the signs to look for; how to help someone who may be experiencing depression; and how to cope if it’s you that is feeling low.



Domestic violence is complex and dynamic and can have significant impacts on many areas of a person’s life.

When working with women who have survived abusive relationships, we sometimes hear about their own use of abusive tactics. Listen to episode 8 of The Family Table podcast and hear about the experience of one woman who used violence to be seen and heard. 

EPISODE 7: power & control in the home
NOVEMber 2019

Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. In the United States, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner.

Listen to episode 7 to hear from one man who used power and control in his home and the affects it had on his wife and children. Ben shares his experience in the Families First's Batterer's Intervention Program and discusses taking accountability for his actions.

September 2019

It is generally believed that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 6 men will be sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetimes. 

At Families First, we believe that everyone deserves to feel safe and respected. This is why our sexual assault program provides options for survivors and their families to work through the healing process.

Do you want to help others through their healing process? Listen to Janine talk about her experience to learn what it's like to be a Hospital Response Volunteer for survivors of assault!


JULY 2019

The start of the new school year is exciting for a lot of kids, but it can also spike anxiety in others. Even a pretty easy-going child can get butterflies… and kids aren’t the only ones. Parent’s feel the anxiety, too!

For Episode 5, we brought in the experts to learn what makes them anxious as they approach the first day of school. These elementary, middle and high school students also shared what they plan to do to help them successfully get through the school year!

EPISODE 4: Building Better Brains in our children

MAY 2019

A house needs a sturdy foundation to support the walls and roof. And a brain needs a good foundation to support all future development. Positive interactions between young children and caregivers literally build the architecture of the developing brain. Building a sturdy foundation in the earliest years provides a good base for a lifetime of good mental function and better overall health.

Listen to Episode 4 to learn more about today’s mental health conditions in children and how we can build better, healthier, stronger brains in our children! 


March 2019

 Have you ever wondered who answers the Crisis & Suicide Hotline calls and texts? How do they know what to say to an individual in crisis?

Families First operates a crisis and suicide intervention text and phone line that is operation 24/7, 365 days a year. It is volunteers who take the calls and/or respond to text messages .... and from the convenience of their own homes! Shawn has been a volunteer for the hotline for over a year and he talks about his experience on the line.

Interested in volunteering for the Crisis & Suicide Hotline? 

Episode 2: The Mentor group 

February 2019

What happens after addiction treatment? A new substance use disorder support system was recently launched at Families First, the Mentor Group. The inspiration was the belief that when every person and every family in our community has the support necessary to overcome challenges and changes and reach their full potential, Central Indiana will truly thrive.

The Mentor Group is composed of individuals who have successfully completed Families First’s substance use education & outpatient treatment program and are dedicated to staying sober and helping current clients in recovery. Listen to a couple of Mentors share how they choose to volunteer their time as a mentor and peer to help others through the stresses of day-to-day life during their times of crisis, recovery, and healing.

Episode 1: Getting to know david siler, president and ceo of families first

January 2019

President and CEO of Families First sits down to talk about his experiences and what led him to Families First.