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Encouraging and Building Others Up with Vanessa Brenner

In this episode, we are talking with Vanessa Brenner. Vanessa is the Clinical Program Director at the Hanley Center at Origins.  


Vanessa shares about her journey from the finance industry to being a family counselor and recently returning to the women’s unit as the Program Director. She shares the impact kind words and encouragement have on her own life and how life-giving it can be to offer the same to others. She also shares about being genuine and honest with others even when it can be tough. 


Show Notes:

  • [00:39] We are excited to welcome Vanessa Brenner. Vanessa is the Clinical Program Director at the Hanley Center at Origins. 
  • [01:20] She is a licensed mental health counselor in the state of Florida. She has been living in Florida since 2008 and prior to coming to Florida, she worked in the finance industry. 
  • [02:54] When she changed industries and went back to school, she knew from the very beginning that she wanted to work with addicts and alcoholics.
  • [04:37] When she came to Hanley, she started working with families. She is a family counselor, mother, fiance, and exerciser. 
  • [06:30] She is returning as the Program Director of the women’s unit.   
  • [08:38] We are all human. There are times when we feel very frustrated, stuck, and that we are not getting anywhere.  
  • [10:13] It is okay to be stuck. There is hope. We are not going to be stuck forever. Kind words or encouragement can often help someone get out of their rut.
  • [11:21] Think about where you can be that encouragement for others.  
  • [12:58] You have no idea the impact you can make when reaching out to someone. Vanessa keeps a special email folder with notes of encouragement she has received.  
  • [14:47] It isn’t about the big things. It is about the little things we can do to support and encourage others.  
  • [15:58] Her own alcoholism and experimenting with drug use brought her to a place where she knew she wanted to help people.  
  • [17:02] She felt like she wanted to share her human experience with others.  
  • [19:25] Drinking was a very big part of the culture she was immersed in, but not her home culture.
  • [20:26] She suffered serious consequences from her drinking and that sealed the deal that she didn’t want to go on like that. She did some treatment, got a sponsor, and worked the Twelve Steps. 
  • [21:34] You can live with this and have a happy life sober. It is not easy sometimes, but it is a lot easier than the other way.  
  • [23:32] Being genuine is telling people the truth. The truth isn’t always easy, but it is necessary.  
  • [24:51] Everyone of us is going to encounter people and that means that we have multiple opportunities for an act of kindness and something that can build people up. Look for the moments to build someone up today.    
  • [26:39] We have opportunities to build someone up and help them get out of the rut that we all struggle with. 


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