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Therapist works with local churches to reduce mental illness stigma

Therapist works with local churches to reduce mental illness stigma

By Nancy Price

Joel Hutton decided to pursue a career as a therapist after witnessing a number of people hurting from their problems. “People would come to my church asking practical questions and get spiritual answers. There was a disconnect. I started studying social work for the sole purpose of becoming a clinical therapist and filling a clear need as I saw it.”

Hutton has practiced therapy for four years, and opened Indy Therapy and Counseling last year. He has recently worked with local TV stations and newspapers to provide advice and promote the importance of managing one’s mental health during the coronavirus. He also works with several churches in the area to help reduce the stigma of mental illness by offering group trainings for leadership, small group leaders, ministry departments and the congregation.

“Educating on various mental illnesses, how to support people experiencing mental illness, when to refer to a professional, how to start the conversation and how to better assimilate individuals experiencing mental illness into community life,” Hutton said.

What is your greatest virtue? Compassion. I always say there isn’t anyone you couldn’t love once you’ve heard their story.

What upsets you? It is likely when I make the same mistake twice. Because tht is something tht is very upsetting. (In case you didn’t catch the irony, I misspelled that on purpose.)

What do you like best about Center Grove? I love the schools. I trust my children will gain a great education. I’ve loved the teachers they have had.

What’s your favorite Southside eatery? La Trattoria.

If you had to live anywhere else in the Metro Indianapolis area, where would it be? I would move to an area that I felt I could be of benefit for the community.

If you could begin life over, what would you change? I would not have many things I love and enjoy today if the difficult events or questionable choices changed.

If money were no issue, how would you spend it? Being an avid sports guy, I would love to buy a football or basketball franchise.

What makes you happiest? Watching my kids grow, develop and succeed.

Pick three adjectives that best describe you. Spontaneous, creative, down to earth.

What is your favorite vacation spot? if a friend called me up today and said we are going scuba diving around the parts of the Great Wall of China that are totally submersed … let’s buy plane tickets today!

What do you do with idle time? If my wife and I do get the chance to get some time away, we sponsor Broadway in Indianapolis, so we’ll go to a show, hit up Topgolf, or go somewhere like Mass Ave.

What would you change about our culture if you could? I would absolutely choose to eliminate systematic racism and the denial of its existence.

How do you escape from reality? Would really love to get into a dynasty league. If anyone is looking for another player, look me up and let me know.

What do you love most in life? My family. Everything else is just extra.

Which living person in Center Grove do you most admire? My wife, Maggie! It’s amazing to me how much she can accomplish and how she can still be so present while accomplishing so much.

What quality do you admire most in another person? Authenticity. If you aren’t yourself, then you never know what it truly feels like to be loved by someone else, because you will likely always wonder if the people showing love to you would continue to love you if they knew you.

What is your greatest extravagance? If you know me, then you know and also may have experienced embarrassment ordering my Starbucks drink.

What is your greatest fear? Not living life to the fullest. Settling for less.

What has been the happiest time of your life? Outside of my wedding and birth of my children, I would have to say the day my business went into the black. That’s the biggest risk when you start a business and it’s this consistent, nagging thought of, “Will I make it?” As a business owner, that thought never truly leaves. I feel it’s common to always wonder when the bottom might fall out, but to know I’ve made it this far with the help and support of my wife and team brings happiness.

Is there a special talent you really wish you had? it’s a tough choice between having really keen negotiating skills, painting, or speaking a few languages.

What do you most value in your friends? I value friends that are low maintenance. People that understand that life gets hectic and if you haven’t heard from me in a while it’s not because I love you less.

Which historical figures do you most admire? Jesus Christ, George Washington, Martin Luther King Jr., Aristotle, Sigmund Freud, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Ada Lovelace, Queen Elizabeth II and Neil Armstrong.

What tenet do you live by? Live in the now. Be present. Enjoy the moment. Relax. Release the things that are out of your control.

What would people be surprised to learn about you? There was a time in my life when I wouldn’t have shown any authentic grace to people experiencing mental illness. That’s a long story. So, I’m thankful that change is possible.


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