About the Healing Tree

Support should feel good, the Healing Tree knows how to make cancer support enjoyable and helpful.

Get Started

Your family can get connected to the Dempsey Center’s Healing Tree program, contact Sarah Walter, Youth & Family Services Manager. She will guide you through your next steps based upon your family’s needs, which may include scheduling a parent consultation or a Healing Tree Introduction. See frequently asked questions for more information about Youth and Family services at the Dempsey Center.

Healing Tree Introductions

A Healing Tree Introduction is required before signing children up for services. For young people, connection to the environment and the people they might encounter are important to establishing the Dempsey Center as a source of comfort and safety. Additionally, this time allows Healing Tree staff to provide individualized care by getting to know you, your children, and your family better. During a Healing Tree Introduction your child will be given an opportunity to make a resource bag, take a tour, talk about the reason for their visit and why they might want to return.

Consultation and Guidance for Parents, Guardians, and other Concerned Adults

Healing Tree counselors are trained professionals in the areas of childhood and adolescent development, family dynamics, and parenting through cancer. We understand that your family and your cancer impact are unique and we will work with you to tailor our support strategy to meet your goals and address your concerns. You can access this guidance and support regardless of whether you choose to involve the children you are concerned for. Consultation support is available by phone, e-mail or in-person appointment.

Healing Tree Staff Members

Sarah Walter, LCSW
Oncology Counselor, Youth and Family Services Manager

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.

Jaclyn Blatt
Healing Tree Counselor

Jaclyn Blatt is a dedicated clinical social worker and public health professional, with a passion for delivering exceptional mental health care to children, adolescents, and their families. She earned her Master of Social Work and Master of Public Health degrees at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate schools of Social Work and Public Health in 2018, concurrently completing the Juanita C. Evan’s Fellowship for Leadership in Public Health Social Work Education awarded upon her acceptance to the University. Prior to joining the Dempsey Center in 2021, Jaclyn worked as an outpatient clinician providing mental health counseling to pediatric, adolescent, and adult clients in a community mental health setting. She is trained in Motivational Interviewing, Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), and trauma-specific play therapy modalities.

Jaclyn’s passion for oncology work developed prior to attending graduate school when she worked as a research assistant at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. In her role, as part of a multi-site NCI grant funded clinical trial, Jaclyn provided an evidence-based intervention (Problem Solving Skills Training) to parents and caregivers of children recently diagnosed with cancer. During her graduate education, Jaclyn demonstrated an unwavering dedication to serving children and families, completing a Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities and Disorders (LEND) fellowship in 2016, and being named a fellow of the American Public Health Association, Division of Maternal and Child Health, in 2018. She strongly believes in minimizing barriers to service participation and promoting world-wide health equity.


Tish Caldwell
Youth Yoga Instructor

You’ll find Tish at our Little’s Group every Monday. Tish is a certified yoga instructor with a specialty certification in “Color Me Yoga” classes for  children. She was the Health and Fitness Center Director at the Auburn-Lewiston YMCA for over twenty years where she designed fitness activities for youth and their families. She currently teaches kid’s yoga classes at the Y.