Chynna is Caribbean American and a Womanist in every way. Her mother’s Trinidadian roots and her father’s Puerto Rican heritage are integral to who she is, how she loves herself and how she loves others. In different counseling iterations over the years, first as a substance abuse counselor and later as a case manager, she watched patients wrestle with their pain while knowing there was a better way but lacking the skills and knowledge. For her it is not about solving issues for her patients, but rather introducing more light for them, so that they are able to see their own path to liberation from pain. Over time, Chynna learned the deep power of curiosity and the roaring strength of silence. She learned to love the non-linear healing and wholeness that inevitably reveals itself to patients. She believes in each patient, and that the goals for change they set out for themselves are attainable. It is imperative to her that it is the patient’s goals, not her own, that are primary. The value she adds to the lives of her patients is that she approaches her work from a strengths-based perspective. In assessment, she spends time identifying her patient’s strengths, because these can often be overlooked. Drawing upon these strengths, Chynna helps patients see their own resources for change and growth. Unlearning long held patterns is important work that requires patience. Having patience as a guide to help patients learn to replace unhelpful patterns is key to developing healthier ways of seeing themselves, others and the world. Chynna knows wellness is achievable so she continues to offer hope and possibility as patients grow towards their goals. Her practice is unique in the way she infuses humor throughout her work. Chynna hopes that patients graduate from working with her feeling confident in their abilities to recognize and meet their needs with deeper knowledge and commitment to their own healing journey.
Maria is a first-generation Mexican-American woman who has worked in the mental health field and with the geriatric population for over 10 years. She has provided grief counseling, transitional support through life changes with couples, families and groups of unrelated persons. We are all individuals who require different interventions for navigating our personal goals and challenges/changes in life. The process of creating individual plans based on a patient’s strengths and resources is a creative process that helps Maria find joy and excitement in the work that she does. She loves that her work allows patients to build their tool box for managing phases in their lives. In addition to being a psychotherapist, Maria is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS), Substance Use Disorder Rehabilitation Counselor (SUDRC) and Zumba Instructor.
Giselle is an Afro-Latina, Army Veteran, survivor, and overcomer. She is also fluent in Spanish. She has always known her calling was to become a therapist in order to help others overcome. After serving in the military, Giselle felt she needed to get into the field to better support and serve those who are struggling and need guidance toward the light out of darkness. She enjoys working with patients who are brave enough to reach out for help and willing to work towards reaching their goals. She walks alongside her patients, helps them process, and teaches them tools and skills to their goals. Giselle adds value to her patients’ lives by giving them her full attention, showing them she is invested in their wellbeing, and by being there for them every step of the way. Giselle most enjoys the therapeutic relationship and seeing progress in the work she does. She uses her own life experiences and curiosity to empathize and validate her patients. She wishes for her patients to graduate from therapy feeling like they no longer need it because they’ve learned the tools and skills they need to make it and to also feel secure knowing that if they ever need help they can reach out anytime.
LaToya is an African American woman who provides comprehensive counseling and crisis intervention services. Working as a counselor is not only a job but rather a passion. LaToya views her role as a facilitator who helps to guide her patients to and beyond the goals they have set for themselves. She believes it is important to help her patients find their own answers.
One way she adds value to the lives of her patients is by offering space with the opportunity to restore or heal one’s relationships with self and others. LaToya enjoys collaborating with patients to identify and discover their core values and how they can apply them to their current lifestyles.
Geovana is a child of immigrants (First-generation Chicana) and understands the experience of adjusting to both the family’s culture and American culture. She is a feminist who advocates for mental health, BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ issues that need to be heard. Her therapeutic work experience includes working with young adults with various mental health concerns. Geovana hopes that sessions are a safe space for her patients to share and grow. She hopes to add value into the lives of her patients by instilling confidence in knowing they have grown within their time together.
I am the Great Great Great+ Granddaughter of enslaved Africans and African Freedmen of the Muskogee (Creek) Nation. I stand on their shoulders.
I believe that society is shifting its focus—companies/billionaires are planning to create “metaverses” and it leaves me wondering about the role of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in these new “worlds.” Considering that many of the current roles for communities of color have been that of consumers, are “we” planning to assume the same roles in new worlds?
I am an AfroFuturist and I propose that we RE-Imagine our roles in the new world meta landscape from consumer to CREATOR. I believe we can only do that by REIMAGINING Liberation. So, my contribution is a space for Black, Indigenous, and POC to safely explore lineage healing as a roadmap to a future of our own design—we create our participation from a place of power, imagination, and equity.
The paradox of Ancestor psychotherapy is that it wants us to look back at the past and identify the roots of our suffering to contribute to our future. My theory is that it is in this process we go back and RETRIEVE what is nurturing, what is healing, and what is necessary for our evolutionary journey. This is what the Akan of Ghana refer to as Sankofa.
Ancestral psychotherapy holds that we (BIPOC) are critical shapers of the future and that the key to our survival is rooted in the past wisdom of our Ancestors.
I grew up in a family where social justice was a regular topic of conversation at the kitchen table. My family linked personal success with knowing one’s self, history, and culture as a source of strength. I have worked and lived within a variety of communities and have had the opportunity to learn from many rich cultural traditions. It is important to me to practice cultural humility by being respectful and curious. As a clinician, I believe deeply in the exploration of ancient ancestral wisdom as a psychological resource. Over the last few years, I have been working with traditional African Indigenous practices and honoring the wisdom of plant medicines to help heal generational trauma.
My psychotherapy practice is holistic in its foundation—meaning my primary focus is the whole person. Everything a person brings into therapy is important, valid, and worthy of exploration. I hold sacred the intersectionality of race, age, sexuality, religion, gender, ability, socio-economic background, citizenship status, and more. All identities are welcome in my practice, which I hold with integrity and respect. I work with the understanding that people are multiplicitous and there exist unique relationships to the many parts of the self. As an African American womxn, I understand the importance of linking our mental health to re-remembering our personal narratives and evolving identities. I am an advocate for addressing historical harms and healing intergenerational wounds through trauma-informed practices, that can include ancestral veneration, expressive arts, mindfulness, depth/dream analysis, nature-based spirituality, and the exploration of consciousness.