Be the hero of your own story. Unleash your superpowers. That’s what Sunset Sip 2018 is all about. But, how do superheroes and superpowers connect to our mission at The Guidance Center?

Last week, Luis Maimoni, LMFT, provided insight into our theme from a board member’s perspective. This week, we enlisted the help of Patricia Costales, LCSW to help answer that question from her perspective as the CEO and leader of our organization as well as one of the founders of Sunset Sip.

Hi, I’m Patricia Costales. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and the CEO of The Guidance Center. I have been in community mental health my entire adult life and have a true connection to the superheroes in our industry. I can relate to their stories. I believe that my role in mental health is to be a role model in many ways, not just for our clients and staff, but for our community. I do that by letting people know how I am the hero of my own story.

My Story and Our Clients

I had in many ways a difficult childhood. I wasn’t a happy child growing up, but with the support of my teachers, I found help. It made a tremendous difference in my life. I credit those teachers for offering help and I credit myself for having the courage to accept it.

Accepting help is one of the hardest things The Guidance Center clients have to do. It is scary to walk through the doors of a mental health agency and ask for help. Many of the small children that we see haven’t had experiences with adults who are trustworthy. It takes heroism for them to come in and share their experiences and fears with our therapists.

Batman and Community Mental Health

There’s a superhero character who I think has a real correlation with community mental health, and for that reason, he is my favorite: Batman. Although he grew up with immense privilege, he had a tremendously difficult childhood. He saw both his parents murdered as a result of community violence. While he had someone to care for him, it must have been a pretty emotionally isolating experience. His physical needs may have been met, but I doubt anyone read to him, went to his open houses at school or slept with him at night if he was afraid of the dark. I’m not convinced he got all of those nurturing elements necessary to a child’s development, especially as a child who experienced that level of trauma. I think we could have helped him.

Despite his story, he found the courage as an adult, without any particular abilities, to dedicate himself to saving others and giving back. I think there is a direct parallel between his story, the work we do, the staff we have and the clients we see.


Everyone has a superpower. Empathy is mine. It’s different from sympathy. It’s different from compassion. Empathy is the ability to really sit with what someone is telling you. Sit with their experience, put yourself in their shoes and try to feel what they’re feeling. It’s a different level.

And, it’s with empathy that we can change the world.

I would like to invite you to join us at Sunset Sip on Sept. 15 at the Hotel Maya where you can unleash your own superpower, and meet the superheroes Saniya and Christopher, two Guidance Center clients who will be there to share their story.

To purchase tickets or become a sponsor, visit