EP 26: Hope for Hurting Parents with Dena and Tom Yohe

We are thrilled to have Dena and Tom Yohe, the authors of Hope for Hurting Parents, join us today. The book comprises a curriculum for support groups and is a resource that we, at Mosaics of Mercy, have used, and today we talk to them about their background and how they came to write this book. But before the book, Dena and Tom started a support group for parents whose children suffer from addiction and mental health issues and recognized a need for a group that is faith-oriented. While they benefited greatly from joining an Al-Anon support group, they realized that they wanted to create a space for specifically Christian parents to find encouragement and where the focus is on them and not their troubled kids. In this episode, the pair talks about their goal with the Hope for Hurting Parents community and groups, how the sessions are structured, and whether non-Christian parents will benefit from attending. We talk about the importance of mothers and fathers staying on the same page, coming to sessions together, overcoming the fears around vulnerability and sharing, and the numerous benefits to joining a support group. Dena and Tom also share the many other resources they have and some encouraging stories of restoring hope to parents.


Key Points From This Episode:

  • Our guests talk about their background in pastoral ministry and their involvement in Cru.
  • Hear about Dena’s and Tom’s children and the journey of starting Hope for Hurting Parents.
  • Their goal of helping parents to not only survive but thrive amid challenging circumstances.
  • Who the Hope for Hurting Parents groups are for and why they choose to be specific about it.
  • Find out how the groups are structured and how they facilitate engagement and feedback.
  • Two aspects they stress in the groups: confidentiality and not offering unsolicited advice.
  • Some insights on whether the group is suitable for someone who is not a Christian.
  • Fears people might have about coming to the group and how they approach reluctant fathers.
  • Overcoming the obstacle of men who are uncomfortable with vulnerability and sharing emotions. 
  • Becoming aware that working your own program is the best thing you can do as a parent.
  • The benefits of being part of these groups, including feeling understood and finding hope.
  • Learn about the many other resources Dena and Tom have to support hurting parents.
  • Stories about parents who are transformed even when there is no improvement on the part of their children.


“We really wanted to have a group that focused on the parent and helping the parent. And we developed a mission statement in the sense that we wanted to offer encouragement and hope to hurt parents and help them go from simply surviving to thriving.” — @tom_yohe [0:04:40]

“No one is ever under any pressure to talk. It is fine to come to these groups and just listen. So, you do not have to say anything; you can just be there and you will still benefit. We have time to share, we have content, and then we will pray.” — @dena_yohe [0:09:10]

“I think it is very important that a husband and wife go together. And when I first went to an Al-Anon meeting, I didn’t say a word for probably a month before I was comfortable enough to even open my mouth in a group.” — @tom_yohe [0:21:55]

“We both realized pretty quickly that we needed help. We could not get through this or cope with this without help from people who knew more, who understood this whole arena of addiction and recovery and mental health. Very quickly we knew we’ve got to do this and we’ve got to do this together.” — @dena_yohe [0:24:17]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Dena Yohe on Twitter

Tom Yohe on Twitter

Hope for Hurting Parents

You Are Not Alone

Hope for Hurting Parents (Organization)

Hope for Hurting Parents on Facebook

Dena Yohe YouTube Channel



The Other Side of Sadness

Sherry Burkhard

Mosaics of Mercy


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