Adult Counseling Services

The Dempsey Center offers short-term therapeutic counseling services for individuals and families managing the impact of cancer.

Provided by Master’s-prepared licensed psychotherapists (LCSWs) who specialize in oncology, grief + loss.  Counseling can help with:

Cancer’s impact on body, mind, and spirit
Cancer’s impact on relationships
Cancer’s impact on care partners
Living with advanced cancer
Legacy & Life Reflections
Grief and Loss
Stress Management and Relaxation Techniques
Cancer’s impact on youth


Patricia Sands, LCSW (South Portland)
Oncology Counselor, Psychosocial Services Coordinator
207-774-2200, [email protected]

Patti Sands earned her Master of Social Work degree at Boston College Graduate School of Social Work. She is a licensed clinical social worker and has a background in supporting children, adults and families with grief, bereavement, loss and trauma. She interned and later volunteered at the Center for Grieving Children, serving as a facilitator in the peer model to all age groups. Patti has facilitated psycho-educational groups related to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and skill-based groups such as managing anxiety.

Patti uses a variety of therapeutic modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Play Therapy and Narrative Therapy. She also incorporates mindfulness and meditation into her practice.

Patti is a nationally certified Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy clinician and has presented extensively on subjects related to childhood exposure to violence and trauma, most specifically childhood traumatic grief. Patti is also trained Child-Parent Psychotherapy, Child and Family Traumatic Stress Intervention and Modular Approach to Therapy for Children with Anxiety, Depression, Trauma or Conduct Problems. Patti has most recently become a Certified Grief Counseling Specialist (CGCS).

Kailie Sullivan, LCSW, OSW-C (South Portland)
Oncology Counselor, Psychosocial Services Manager
207-795-8256, [email protected]

Kailie Sullivan, LCSW, OSW-C, has worked in oncology care settings since 2008 including Massachusetts General Hospital and New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weil Cornell Medical Center. She earned a Master’s degree in Social Work from New York University and holds advanced certification in Oncology Social Work. She is an active member of the Association of Oncology Social Work, serving in leadership roles as a state representative and special interest group co-chair.

Kailie utilizes a strengths-based approach focused on identifying and building resilience in clients of all ages who are impacted by cancer. She employs a variety of therapeutic modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Play Therapy. She also incorporates mindfulness and expressive arts based interventions into her practice.

Sarah Walters, LCSW (Lewiston)
Oncology Counselor, Youth and Family Services Manager
207-376-9686, [email protected]

Sarah Walter has more than 10 years of experience supporting children, teens, adults and their family members through life transitions, trauma and loss using a clinical lens grounded in attachment theory. She earned her Master of Social Work and Master of Public Administration degrees at the University of Utah’s Graduate school of Social Work in 2016. Prior to joining the Dempsey Center in 2020, Sarah worked as a clinician supporting children and their families at Sweetser’s Eslie J. Parquette school, community behavioral health clinics and as a Field Instructor at a wilderness therapy program in Utah.

Sarah was previously licensed as a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor and has experience treating adults and adolescents with Substance Use Disorders. She is trained in Motivational Interviewing, Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), the Attachment Self-Regulation and Competency (ARC) Framework, and Structural Family therapy. Sarah has facilitated life skills and psychotherapy groups related to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Skills, coping skills and mindfulness for children, teens, and adults. She has a passion for helping children and their parents build a stronger sense of connection and confidence in each other and their own resilience.

Christine Brome, LMSW-cc
Oncology Counselor
[email protected]

Christine Brome, LMSW-cc, earned her Master of Social Work degree at University of New England Graduate School of Social Work in 2019. Prior to coming to the Dempsey Center, Christine was a part of the Northern Light Mercy Cancer Care team, where she has spent the past few years having the opportunity to provide emotional, practical and financial support to patients and families impacted by cancer.

Christine has experience working with a variety of therapeutic modalities, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Narrative Therapy and believes in using a strength’s based, trauma-informed approach when working with those impacted by cancer. She has a special interest in offering support during end-of-life care, legacy and life review, and transition to survivorship.

Emily Smolin, LCSW
Healing Tree Oncology Counselor
[email protected]

Emily Smolin received her Masters of Social Work degree from New York University and completed post graduate training certification through The Training Institute for Mental Health located in New York City. Since 2005, Emily’s clinical work has focused on supporting youth, families and adults through various junctures in life. Emily received extensive training in early childhood development and positive parenting models, as well as has experience in facilitating multifamily groups aimed at enhancing the parent-child relationship. Emily served as a clinical social worker and clinical supervisor within nonprofit organizations and hospital-based systems in several states and has participated in a range of learning collaboratives focused on trauma-informed practices. Before joining Dempsey Center, Emily was part of a multidisciplinary team at a small residential hospice in northern New Jersey furthering her understanding and appreciation of an integrative body-mind-spirit approach, as well as, the healing benefits of deep listening and meaningful conversation.



When I first found out I had cancer I didn’t know who to turn to. My family is not the ‘norm’ where support is available emotionally or financially. I debated calling the Dempsey Center, but I’m not usually  one to ask for help. That phone call was the most valuable I’ve ever made. I scheduled a counseling session and met Theresa, she invited me to participate in the From Cancer to Health™ support group. Through the group I’ve learned many valuable techniques like relaxation, assertive speaking, etc. I learned it’s okay to ask for help, which had been the toughest thing for me to do. I don’t know how I would’ve coped; this group became my family and my support. I’m very thankful for making that call.

- Debbie Gogan-Koris