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Reflections on Onsite Wellness House

A conversation with clinical director Hannah Phillips

A few months ago, we announced the launch of Onsite Wellness House.

Onsite Wellness House is home to our Intensive Outpatient Program, which helps individuals build practices and rhythms that lead to long-term success, not just short-term relief.  

By providing safe, accessible, and engaging weekly group programming coupled with best-in-class individual trauma counseling, Onsite Wellness House provides a bespoke healing experience to help those in the Nashville area find sustained wholeness.  

Recently, Hannah Warren, Onsite’s Creative Marketing Director, sat down with Hannah Phillips, Onsite Wellness House’s clinical director, to reflect on the healing and growth she has seen over the first four weeks of the program.   

HW: Hi Hannah! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today about Onsite Wellness House. Take me back four weeks ago, before our Intensive Outpatient Program began. What were you excited about?  

HP: When I did evaluations with these people specifically, I could tell that they were really open and willing to try something new. I have been doing this work long enough to have a little bit of a spidey sense around when someone is ready to heal. And I don’t mean, “In my brain, I’m ready to heal.” But I mean, the desire aligns with how their lives are set up—all they need are the right tools, support, and environment, and they’ll just take off. And I got that sense about this group and thought, “Oh, you just wait. This is going to be good.”  

HW: Tell me a little bit about your role within the group:  

HP: When leading groups, I’m simply setting a table, and the clients decide if they come to the table. They decide if they eat, how much, if they want dessert, etc. I’m giving them the tools, the opportunity, and a safe enough environment to do what they need to do. And over the last four weeks, they’ve consistently shown up to do just that. Within the first week, this group really felt safe and ready to dive in from the go.   

HW: How have you found that this type of environment (intensive outpatient program) lends itself towards sustained healing?  

HP: This level of care is truly a sweet spot because it’s integrated into your daily life. Residential care, workshops, or weekly therapy are all fantastic resources—but an intensive outpatient program like this allows you to do some really intentional work while addressing real-life circumstances as they arise.   

Something that’s really important to this type of work is what I call “resourcing”—connecting people to skills, strengths, or anything that gets them grounded. At our Intensive Outpatient Program, we meet three times a week for three hours at a time. I can spend 30 minutes to an hour every night doing something that is resourcing, safety building, or connecting group members to each other or themselves—and once they’re rooted in that, we can go deep pretty quickly because that builds safety. Both within the self, like, “I think I can handle this because I feel supported, resourced, and centered.” And also, “These people are here too, and I feel connected to them. And I believe they’ll support me.” I think this structure of three hours, three times a week, allows people to warm up, really drop in, and cool down—like a long workout.   

HW: What makes this program unique?  

HP: This program is really client led—which I believe allows for each individual to quickly gain momentum and get going. There are many elements, or ingredients, I want each person to experience throughout their program, but everyone gets to choose how they navigate it.   

Sometimes, I describe it as a big swimming pool. Some people start in the shallow end, some dive right into the deep end, some use a floaty, and some doggy paddle or lay on their back. Some clients choose to hold on to the edge, or they decide to link arms with someone. Everyone approaches it differently, but what’s important is that they get to choose how they want to show up.   

So, looking at the whole eight weeks, there is not a hard-written schedule that outlines, “Okay, it’s week one, day one; this is what we do every time.” Instead, I try to understand where the group is and where each person is in their process. From there, we can do activities and support the goals we want to accomplish together that day.  

As a group leader, I try to be super mindful about how we use our time. I try to make every moment count—and that doesn’t always mean it’s always intense, but it’s always intentional. Each time we gather, we focus on what each person and the group needs most at that specific moment.   

HW: How effective is group therapy in healing trauma?  

HP: Group therapy is incredibly effective for healing trauma, primarily because it fosters a sense of community and shared experience. When participants come together, they realize they’re not alone in their struggles.   

I remember, before we began, one of our participants told me that they had never really been in a close relationship with anyone who identified as having experienced trauma. And I told her, “I cannot wait to get you in this room.” I always tell people that are new to group therapy, “You will walk away, knowing that you’re not crazy, and knowing that you’re not alone.” There is something so healing about getting people together that can say, “Yeah, me too. I get it. I get the chaos. I get the pain. I get the brilliant ways each of us has had to survive.” It’s just almost like a deep breath. It’s the feeling that you can settle here. You can feel safe here. This shared understanding can be profoundly healing.  

HW: What has surprised you the most about this experience so far?   

HP: Everyone in the group has just really connected with each other. These particular people are actively showing up for each other. They’re curious about each other. In big ways and in little specific ways. One participant told another today, “I saw some peonies today, and I thought of you because I know you love them.” That sort of connection has made it so sweet. Connection is what heals trauma. So just feeling like you’re not alone and someone sees you and values you is half the battle.   

That, in itself, is a healing experience. All the exercises, activities, and therapies that we do enhance that and are kind of a cherry on top.  

If you’d like to learn more about Onsite Wellness House and whether it could be a good fit for you or a loved one, we’d love to connect with you.

Life can be complicated; healing doesn’t have to be. Our team is here to guide you back to hope.