Our Team

Psychotherapist | Owner

Masuma Rasheed Ph.D. RYT

She/Her
License No. 180.011806
Founder & Owner
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
Registered Yoga Teacher

Specialties

“Don’t fight the darkness, bring the light and the darkness will disappear”
– M. Mahesh

Welcome! My name is Dr. Masuma Rasheed, I’m a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and founder and owner of Mindful Life Counseling. I have 15 years of experience helping clients find more clarity & direction in their lives. Our practice specializes in supporting adults, specifically marginalized individuals, to take control of our life story.

I root my therapy practices in anti-oppression and offer a safe therapy space for clients to come as they are. Societal structures can lead marginalized people to dim our authentic selves; in session with me, there’s no need to hold back, self-censor, or explain— my role is to work with who you are and your experiences. I do this by inviting awareness and conversation of racial, gender, and sexual dynamics and the impacts of institutional racism and discrimination into the therapy room.

I also do this by acknowledging that I am a hetrosexual, abled body, cis South Asian woman; I recognize that my privileges will impact how I show up in this space. I acknowledge that we all come from different life experiences and backgrounds and that we are all activated by different things that may come up during our time together. I am actively reflecting on my privileges and know that because of my identities, there are areas of growth I have to pay attention to and barriers to my understanding that may come up along the way. I am committed to paying close attention to my own advantages and remaining humble.

“Choosing our people is the closest we come to controlling our destiny“.   

As a therapist and team leader, I combine two major constructs and personal passions; movement and community. I founded Mindful Life Counseling to build a safe community for therapists to authentically serve clients in addition to fostering a space where clients feel a sense of belonging.

In the therapy room, I employ mind and body techniques, such as guided breathing, body movement, somatic techniques, and trauma informed yoga-based therapy. I also encourage clients to connect with safe spaces and communities outside the therapy room with the belief that “choosing our people is the closest we come to controlling our destiny“.

I have a strong passion for using Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, in sessions. EMDR enables clients to live more fully in the present by working through past triggers and letting go of beliefs that no longer serve them. I am also certified as a LifeForce Yoga Practitioner (LFYP®), trained in using yoga to treat depression and anxiety. I believe that although talk therapy is necessary, I strongly believe that we need to incorporate the body for a sufficient journey in the healing process.

Outside of the therapy room, I continue to value service to communities of color. I am a former board member of HEART Women & Girls, an agency focused on sex education and sexual violence prevention for marginalized communities. I also serve as a consultant to educate and train mental health providers in dismantling inequitable power structures and decolonizing the mental health field.

In my free time, my Mindful Life rituals include yoga, tai chi, breath-work and meditation — not to mention kickboxing, running, and weight lifting. I believe in strengthening the body to condition the mind. Other rituals include learning, dancing, journaling and connecting to nature as often as possible. I am usually working on a project that feeds my creative side; in addition to playing with my dog, Winnie.

Dr. Rasheed obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Finance from Southern Methodist University in 2003, a Master of Science degree in Counseling in 2008 at University of North Texas (UNT), and a Ph.D. in Counseling Education at UNT in 2011. Dr. Rasheed founded Mindful Life Counseling in June 2020.

“Our most radical work is to love ourselves.”
– Kim Katrin

I’m Alex Ngo and I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who specializes in trauma recovery, mindfulness, and racial, sexual, and gender identity development. As a Chinese Vietnamese queer and trans woman, I am especially passionate about the healing and liberation of queer and trans people, people of color, and their intersections. I am also committed to being a therapist who is affirming of sex workers, sex positivity and kink, and people in polyamorous and non-monogamous relationship structures. 

I have over a decade of experience in anti-oppression and social justice work that informs my clinical approach and understanding of trauma and healing. I believe in fostering our collective radical imagination, in pleasure activism, in celebrating the resiliency of queer and trans people of color, and in the power of transforming ourselves to transform the world. I also bring my experiences as a child of refugees, a Buddhist, and a believer in trans divinity, into my work in breaking cycles, fostering intergenerational growth, and developing an ancestral connection and spiritual practice. 

I am passionate about helping clients develop a gentle, curious, mindful, and compassionate relationship with themselves. I believe we are all made up of multiple parts, each with their own motivations and fears. When we are feeling distressing thoughts and emotions that come from these different parts of us, our first instinct is to push them away or use unhelpful coping skills to distract ourselves. However, relieving our suffering is possible when we learn to accept that, while we cannot control our thoughts and emotions, we can learn to control how we respond to them. 

I can help you get to know these parts, understand your thoughts and emotions, create opportunities for self-reflection and self-dialogue, and provide tools to heal old wounds our younger selves still carry for us. I find parts work to be especially helpful when helping queer and trans people re-establish a relationship with our younger selves who did not have access to the safety required to be their most authentic self. It is possible for us to become the person we needed when we were younger.

Parts work, mindfulness, and a mind-body connection are also integral parts in my approach to trauma recovery. I can help guide those with unprocessed trauma through painful memories to create new meanings from the harm you survived and to heal the parts of you still stuck in those traumatic experiences. My passion for this kind of work began in my work as a sexual assault prevention educator and activist. That passion continues to guide my calling towards helping us heal from violence, whether systemic or interpersonal, and foster safer communities by interrupting oppression, cycles of abuse, and intergenerational trauma. 

My most valuable clinical tool is my authenticity, vulnerability, and unapologetic approach to life, and I model that for my clients in the way I move through each therapeutic relationship. 

My friends and clients alike would describe me as someone who is very direct and provides feedback in a “no-nonsense” manner. I am firm, will absolutely push and challenge you, and also understand that this work takes time, patience, and compassion. My most valuable clinical tool is my authenticity, vulnerability, and unapologetic approach to life, and I model that for my clients in the way I move through each therapeutic relationship. 

Because I don’t believe healing can be all-encompassed within the context of talk therapy alone, I also engage in healing work in a number of different contexts. I am an adjunct professor at the University of Chicago where I teach a course on intergroup dialogue and facilitation. I provide conflict mediation, healing circles, and keynote speeches, consultation, and training on a wide range of topics, to universities, corporations, and organizations. I am also a performance artist and writer who has been active in the queer nightlife scene of Chicago, specifically working to make nightlife spaces that center and celebrate trans femmes of color.

Alex Ngo received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications, Community Action and Social Change, and LGBTQ and Sexuality Studies from the University of Michigan and a Master of Arts degree in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago.

Psychotherapist

Malarie Edwards LPC, NCC

She/Her
License No. 178.017443
Licensed Professional Counselor
National Certified Counselor

Specialties

“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do.” – Brenè Brown

My name is Malarie Edwards, and I am a Licensed Professional Counselor and a National Certified Counselor. I work with clients across a range of specialties, but I am particularly experienced in helping clients with anxiety, intergenerational trauma, identity development, dating and intimate relationships, and most recently, perinatal mental healthcare. My practice is centered around serving adults ages 18-50 within BIPOC communities, but welcoming of individuals from all backgrounds.

I believe in social justice and strengthening communities within the therapy space. As a cisgender, heterosexual, Black Woman from the inner city of Milwaukee, I have received therapy from clinicians who lacked cultural responsiveness and did not understand my nuanced, Black-lived experience. Those negative experiences in therapy often left me feeling gaslighted and invalidated. Over time, I realized that my experience was not unique to me, but was often experienced by many people from all walks of life. It took years for me to find therapeutic spaces that resonated with my identity and gave me room to do deeply emotional work that addressed many of my own adversities as a Black Woman. Now, I want to change that narrative for others from diverse and intersectional communities. I actively work to dismantle stereotypes associated with how with how individuals should appear in the world and in therapeutic spaces. I intentionally demolish implicit bias and stereotyping by ensuring I do not make assumptions about my clients based on how they identify themselves. As a counselor, I feel it is my responsibility to ensure the therapy I provide resonates with and validates my clients experiences.

Women, particularly BIPOC women, often experience healthcare and mental health related disparities before, during and after pregnancy. Not to mention, there are many factors connected to these experiences that may impact a woman’s overall mental health as they navigate through a very life changing experience. I am intentional about learning ways to hold space to support women who are experiencing perinatal mood disorders, such as: depression and anxiety related to fertility, pregnancy, and motherhood. Having worked with women who each have such a unique experience with embarking on motherhood, it is important that they feel validated and heard to promote mental wellness that encourages them to feel connected to their mothering experiences.

I believe accessibility is vital and part of anti-oppressive mental healthcare practices, and this also extends to the LGBTQ community. I consider myself a strong ally and intentionally work to advocate for the LGBTQ community to bring awareness to the issues it faces. I am committed to seeking more knowledge about this community on a daily basis through activism, literature, and personal experience.

I focus on how client experiences have shaped who they are while also validating and celebrating their accomplishments, focusing on joy & resiliency to build a strong therapeutic bond with them. As a Black Woman, understanding the duality of managing pleasure, joy and pain is an experience that is all too real for me on a daily basis. In therapy with me, I will understand you by speaking with you and not at you.

In my practice, I approach therapy as a partnership, with the goal of improving clients’ wellbeing and overall quality of life. I believe the client is the true expert on their own life, and as the counselor, I am there to guide them to find insight in their past experiences.  My philosophy supports empowering individuals to examine their lives in a way that is impactful for themselves, their families, and their communities. I promote introspection into the issues that clients feel are a barrier to their happiness, and I safely support them in examining those issues.

I approach counseling from a psychodynamic and client-centered perspective; focusing on my clients’ individual life experiences and how these experiences have shaped who they are while also validating and celebrating their accomplishments, focusing on joy & resiliency to build a strong therapeutic bond with them. As a Black Woman, understanding the duality of managing pleasure, joy and pain is an experience that is all too real for me on a daily basis. In therapy with me, I will understand you by speaking with you and not at you.

We cannot just develop individual approaches to dealing with trauma, but also group and communal approaches are vital. It is important that I, as a therapist, create a welcoming safe space for my clients to express themselves, share their experiences free of judgement and for me to challenge them to be the best version of themselves.

Outside of therapy, I genuinely value self-care. The time and space I make in my life for self-care is intentional to ensure I am emotionally prepared to work with my clients. My spare time is rooted in self-care activities that promote mindfulness and relaxation. Music, cooking, coloring in coloring books, journaling, and exercise are most restorative for me. Also, ensuring I get restful sleep is the most significant way I advocate for myself daily. Beyond self-care, I am a huge film buff and often watch new films with my fiancé.

Malarie Edwards received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Northeastern Illinois University in 2019, and Master of Arts degree in Clinical Counseling from Northwestern University in 2021.

Psychotherapist

Noah-Christina Reed LPC, NCC

She/Her
License No. 178.017602
Licensed Professional Counselor
National Certified Counselor

Specialties

Noah-Christina Reed

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” -Audre Lorde

Hiya! I am Noah-Christina, a Licensed Professional Counselor and National Certified Counselor. I am a Black, cisgender, heterosexual therapist who practices cultural responsiveness and humility in the therapy space. I approach my clients with curiosity, make no assumptions, and honor each individual’s lived experience. It is my philosophy to empower individuals so that they may further empower themselves and others in the face of adversity, creating a sense of community and global healing.

Sometimes we feel stuck, ruminating about the past or anticipating an unpredictable future. It can become difficult to live intentionally in the now. Therapy with me offers a safe space to slow down, tolerate, and embrace the present moment. My specialties include issues related to anxiety, depression, trauma, occupational- and goal-striving stress, life transitions, and identity development. My purpose is to serve BIPOC folx, Black women, and queer folx of color.

I understand that just because two clients have the same identity presentation, their lived experience with gendered racism and other traumas can be very different. For example, I am an African American woman, and I am a lighter-skinned Black woman. I was raised on the Southeast side of Chicago, grew up as an inner-city kid, and I come from a two-parent household. Additionally, I attended predominantly white institutions (PWIs) and found myself emotionally taxed by some of my white counterparts who did not understand my experience. It is the intersection of all of my identities and their relation to systems of oppression and/or  privilege that contributes to my lived experiences. Therefore, I understand firsthand the importance of acknowledging how we experience the world, how the world perceives us and how this impacts the way we think, feel, and behave. With this awareness, I invite conversations about intersectional identity into the therapy room with my clients, which lead to a deeper and more fulfilling therapeutic relationship on their path of healing.

My goal is to decolonize and destigmatize mental health by dismantling power dynamics and opening the floor to voices that are often silenced or may fall upon deaf ears. Our commitment to rest and rejuvenation, care for self and community, and untying the connections between self-worth and labor production are acts of resistance. In my work with clients, I offer a space to honor their authentic voice. You will not have to filter and censor your true thoughts and emotions in our sessions, as you may have previously in other settings. Come as you are, and I will meet you there.

I support my clients in assigning a more helpful meaning to their stories. We are made to feel that adversity is the most prominent part of our story, yet we encompass many additional and remarkable parts such as our strengths, resiliencies, and pleasures. I will help you honor and acknowledge all of these parts on your path to healing.

In our space, I will normalize and validate the idea that healing is not linear. It is a process that allows you to move at your own pace, and even take a step back if necessary. I approach counseling with a psychodynamic foundation and integrate narrative therapy to assist my clients in assigning a more helpful meaning to their internalized stories. We are made to feel that adversity is the most prominent part of our story, yet we encompass many additional and remarkable parts such as our strengths, resiliencies, and pleasures. I will help you honor and acknowledge all of these parts on your path to healing.

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” -Aristotle

Additionally, I believe it’s important for us to observe all domains of  life (e.g., physical and mental health, spirituality, interpersonal and life stressors). When one area is suffering, other areas can be important to highlight. My therapeutic approach is client-centered, putting you at the focus of our journey. I create a space that is genuine, authentic, and non-judgmental. With this humanistic approach, I believe it is quintessential to bring empathetic collaboration into the therapeutic setting. In our space, we will work alongside one another; you are the captain of our ship, and I am simply the sail that guides us through rocky waters to safety and peace at shore.

Outside the therapeutic space, I focus my time on social justice advocacy and self-care. You might catch me on the frontlines or behind the scenes supporting various human rights movements and promoting community wellness. I also like to paint, read by the lake, cook, taste different soups, and cuddle up with Mylo and Lynk, my two adopted cats.

Noah-Christina Reed received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Augustana College in 2019, and Master of Arts degree in Clinical Counseling from Northwestern University in 2021.

Psychotherapist

Keenen Stevenson, MSW

He/They
Social Worker
Community Organizer
Educator

Specialties

Complex Trauma

Teacher Mental Health

Workforce Trauma

Intimate Relationship Issues

Athlete Mental Health

Hello I’m Keenen Stevenson and I am a mental health professional with 8 years of experience dedicated to creating a safe space for BIPOC clients.  I specialize in complex trauma, teacher mental health, workforce trauma, intimate relationships, racial identity development, and athlete mental health. My experiences as a Black man have shaped my approach on addressing issues that involve race and gender. As a therapist and researcher, I examine how systemic barriers impede the mental and spiritual advancement of BIPOC folx. My intersecting identities help me understand the culture, values, and experiences of my clients; especially those relating to oppression, racism, and intergenerational trauma. I personally understand what it’s like to live in a system where racism and gendered institutionalized practices keep those in my community invisible/hyper-visible and oppressed. It is through my lived experiences that I can connect with my clients on a personal and authentic level.

Mindfulness is an important tenet of my practice. I define healing as a process that embodies both mind and body work. I believe our mind can take us in all sorts of directions (past, future etc.) but paying attention to the body is what keeps us in the present moment. In order to work towards healing and growth, we must be able to stay in the present to do so. Therefore, I help support clients in building a tolerance to stay in the present moment and to learn where emotions such as anxiety or fear live in our bodies to then learn ways to release these emotions through breath work, yoga, meditation, paying attention to physical activity such as cooking, awareness of nutrition, and other mindfulness-based approaches. How we move our bodies on the outside reflects how we feel emotionally on the inside and vice versa; therefore, paying attention to both mind and body is crucial.

My therapeutic approach is rooted in several theoretical frameworks that are focused on dismantling systemic inequity. I use ecological systems theory to examine how one’s environment impacts their development and decision making. For BIPOC folx, factors such as racial discrimination and economic inequality can contribute to their stories and shape their lived experience. Additionally, I use a solution focused approach to examine the root cause of presenting problems. This approach focuses on goal setting and future outcomes. I want clients to feel liberated in the therapeutic space.

Oftentimes BIPOC folx experience a power differential when interacting with dominant identities in their world. I work to dismantle these hierarchies by challenging systems that impede liberation and empowering clients to embrace their identity while navigating society. My mission is to provide an anti-racist environment and promote self-acceptance. I do this by validating a person’s lived experience and valuing their racial and gender identity. In sessions, clients do not have to code switch or operate with a double consciousness. 

 

Oftentimes BIPOC folx experience a power differential when interacting with dominant identities in their world. I work to dismantle these hierarchies by challenging systems that impede liberation and empowering clients to embrace their identity while navigating society. My mission is to provide an anti-racist environment and promote self-acceptance. I do this by validating a person’s lived experience and valuing their racial and gender identity. In sessions, clients do not have to code switch or operate with a double consciousness.

I believe that self-love is attainable to everyone. Everything I do is rooted in love. I want my clients to be authentic and open to the process of healing.

In my personal time, I work on dismantling systemic barriers in education through participatory action research. In addition to that, I am a gardener, nature enthusiast, and foodie that loves to cook dishes from other countries.

Keenen Stevenson received a Bachelor of Science in Outdoor Recreation and Nonprofit Management in 2012 and a Master of Social Work from Loyola University Chicago in 2016.

Psychotherapist

DeKhari Dixon, MA

He/Him

Specialties

Complex Trauma

Racial & Sexual Identity Development

Intergenerational Trauma & Growth

Recidivism

Somatic-Based Therapy

Gender Identity & Transgender Health

Spiritual Development

Mindfulness

Hi, My name is DeKhari. I am a psychotherapist with over 5 years of experience working as a mental health clinician and over 10 years of professional experience mentoring and coaching LGBTQ+ folx. My specialties include navigating trauma recovery, mindfulness and racial, sexual,  gender and spiritual identity. I work best with individuals who are ready to get unstuck and work toward defining who “they be” based on their resilience and not their trauma. With practical, engaging therapeutic practices for emotional regulation and self-awareness, it is my hope that you will re-discover the power of being uniquely you — without having to conform to the limiting ideas and narratives of others. It is my honor to walk alongside you during this pivotal time in your life.

As a mental health provider and 2Spirited Black man of trans experience, I understand the impact of being underrepresented in the healthcare field. I believe a safe and culturally responsive therapeutic space can be a powerful way to reclaim one’s health and foster individual and generational growth.  In addition, I honor the importance of viewing my clients’ racial sexual, gender and spiritual identity as not separate parts of themselves, but as one intersectional identity.  I have a keen understanding of the multiple layers that underrepresented folx experience within their social, spiritual, religious, and community roles.

My passion lies in supporting clients through liberation and building meaningful social connections within the context of their own lives. It is monumental for clients to expand their capacity for joy, to celebrate their identities and to create and sustain a healthy perception of self. This healing process reflects the powerful dynamics of acknowledging the adversities in their lives, while at the same time building coping tools. Our work together will identify areas where survival tactics may have led to behaviors such as over compensating, perfectionism and/or the labor-driven mentality. As we deconstruct the complexities of biased ideologies, the deep healing from white supremacy tends to take shape.

As BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and spiritually attuned individuals, it is common to be silenced by white supremacist ideology and the idea that we are “too radical.” This can cause intense self-esteem issues, internalized hatred and abandonment, or rejection issues for all of us. The media is infiltrated daily with microaggressions and racial gaslighting with the message that we should change and morph to cultural norms. This systemic oppression is an example of the trauma that we can work through together while in therapy. 

I also incorporate body sensory awareness, or somatic-based therapy. I believe that by indulging in somatic work we are acknowledging our cultural lineage and our origins of strength and fortitude —we are energetically tapping into the depths of “who we be.” This integrative approach is helpful for addressing dissociation, anxiety and trauma reactions, which are often carried in the body and show up as health disparities in BIPOC communities.

Some of the methods I use in sessions include behavioral modification, solution-focused, motivational interviewing, and cognitive behavioral therapy. If utilized in a culturally responsive way, these methods can help folx of marginalized identities deconstruct systemic ideas of how one “should” act to appease others, learn how to approach problems and/or concerns with priority and practicality, and  explore their dreams, ambitions and image of life beyond social limitations. Together we will process your thoughts and work to align behaviors with your true intentions.  

I also incorporate body sensory awareness, or somatic-based therapy. I believe that by indulging in somatic work we are acknowledging our cultural lineage and our origins of strength and fortitude —we are energetically tapping into the depths of “who we be.” This integrative approach is helpful for addressing dissociation, anxiety and trauma reactions, which are often carried in the body and show up as health disparities in BIPOC communities. Somatic work is useful in physically processing the trauma and re-training the mind, emotions and body to be present and at ease. 

Furthermore, I am especially aware of the trauma and discrimination that transgender individuals face within the judicial system. My goal is to support healing and guide clients through the complex struggles and challenges that come with addressing the cycle of recidivism.

I’m one who enjoys time with my wife and our fur babies. I like all things outdoors including camping, cycling and skating. Music is also a major part of my life and I enjoy live concerts!

Psychotherapist

Erika Chavez, MSW

She/Her

Specialties

Complex Trauma

Racial Identity Development

Intergenerational Trauma & Growth

DBT Informed

Somatic-Based Therapy

Issues Related to Immigrants

Dual Cultural Identity

Mindfulness

Hello, my name is Erika, and I am a Latinx therapist that can facilitate sessions in English, Spanish, or Spanglish. I have experience working with individuals across various specialties, such as anxiety, depression, intergenerational trauma, immigrant struggles, and race and/or ethnic identity exploration. My niche involves trauma work that explores early childhood experiences, relational attachment, social interactions, cultural and physical environments, and how the neurobiology of the brain is affected through traumatic experiences.

When individuals experience trauma, parts of the brain produce strong emotional reactivity and may become over activated. Fortunately, somatic and sensory therapy can help strengthen parts of the brain associated with rationality and consciousness. This is why I integrate mindful, body-based, and somatic activities, such as music, art, movement, and deep breathing into my sessions.We will work together to approach our own bodies with curiosity and reconnect with our body’s sensations to aid healing.

I believe intersectionality is crucial to explore and understand the complexities of lived experiences among BIPOC and LGBTQ+ folks. For example, I am a cisgender, heterosexual, Latinx woman who was born to working-class, immigrant parents and raised on the lower west side of Chicago. At the same time, I recognize that my skin color is White-passing, and I was fortunate enough to pursue a higher education at a PWI. Throughout my lived experience, I have learned how to be an active participant in my own self-reflection and healing work. This means I am continually reflecting on my own positions of privilege, power, and oppression in the therapeutic space. I am also actively learning how to find balance in a ni de aqui, ni de alla (neither from here nor from there) world where we can come to embrace multiculturalism, multilingualism, values, and traditions. I strive to support individuals who struggle with finding balance and belonging in multiple cultures. I believe that we can work together in your self-discovery journey as we explore how your intersecting identities and cultures can be a source of strength, reconnection, and celebration to your lived experiences in two worlds.

My work has focused on providing culturally responsive, anti-oppressive, and affirming therapeutic services to BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities. Growing up in a predominantly Mexican-immigrant community has allowed me to witness the stigma and barriers community members face when receiving ethnically, linguistically, and culturally responsive mental health services. In the therapeutic space, I aim to cultivate a safe, collaborative, and supportive environment in which exploration, healing and growth can occur. I practice therapy in a direct, empathic, compassionate, and affirming way. I will challenge my clients, while remaining mindful of what feels right for them at any given time or day. I also understand that healing is a nonlinear process and sometimes we are faced with resistance and fear. I will honor your experience and allow you to sit with the uncomfortable feelings for as long as it feels necessary for you. What is most important in our work together is that you feel seen, validated, and supported as you work towards your healing.

I am actively learning how to find balance in a ni de aqui, ni de alla (neither from here nor from there). I strive to support individuals who struggle with finding balance and belonging in multiple cultures. I believe that we can work together in your self-discovery journey as we explore how your intersecting identities and cultures can be a source of strength, reconnection, and celebration to your lived experiences in two worlds.

In my practice I utilize techniques from various treatment modalities, such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), Family Systems Theory, and Trauma-Informed theories. My therapeutic approach is a holistic, integrative model that includes the combination and adaptation of Western theoretical frameworks, alongside non-Western practices of healing. I recognize that traditional Western models to mental health are not a “one-size-fits-all” approach, especially for BIPOC communities. This means, we may explore elements of shame, collectivism, spirituality, religion, cultural perceptions of illness, help-seeking behaviors, and other elements of culture that inform the treatment approach.

I also view issues from an ecological and intersectional lens that recognizes how multiple systems and structures affect individuals’ experiences, especially BIPOC folks. White supremacy, patriarchy, colonization, and anti-Blackness have left historical and intergenerational trauma on BIPOC communities. I acknowledge the pain and suffering these forms of oppression have on these communities. It is important that throughout our work together, I am flexible to your needs and knowledgeable of the multiple layers of experience based on your intersecting identities. For centuries, power has been a damaging tool utilized by dominant groups to maintain hegemonic and systemic narratives. For BIPOC communities, these mechanisms of control and gaslighting have profound physical, emotional, and psychological generational effects. Thus, I aim to deconstruct power differentials in the therapeutic room, and I believe that consciousness is power. I believe my clients are the experts in their lives and my role as a facilitator allows them to identify, connect, and reclaim their narratives. My goal is to develop a therapeutic space that fosters liberation, empowerment, and consciousness.

Outside of the therapy room, I cherish integrating activities that nourish my mind, body, and soul. I enjoy exercising, reading, watching TV shows (psychological thrillers are my favorite), learning new recipes, and creating digital art. I am also a coffee lover and like to explore local coffee shops around the city. Finally, I spend a lot of time cuddling with Luna, my furry Corgi.

Erika Chavez received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Loyola University Chicago in 2020, and a Master of Social Work degree from Loyola University Chicago in 2022.

Psychotherapist

Luz Maria Miranda, MA

She/They

Specialties

Complex Trauma

Gender & Sexual Identity Development

Intergenerational Trauma & Growth

Trauma from Deportation

Mindfulness

Queer Sex Education

Dual Cultural Identity

Anti-Oppression and Social Justice Education

My name is Luz and my pronouns are she/they. I am a National Certified Counselor who specializes in working with BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ individuals in areas such as identity, queerness, anxiety, depression, attachment, life transitions, relationship conflicts, childhood trauma, and acculturation stress from being first-generation and in immigrant families. I understand that therapy can be scary! It’s not easy opening up to a stranger, but I want you to know I will meet you where you are. I believe in treating my clients with softness and aim to build trust and safety in the therapeutic relationship through empathy and patience.

Identity work has always been a passion of mine. I am proudly Queer and know first-hand how difficult and time-consuming it can be to find acceptance around your identities and therefore work tirelessly to validate and affirm the queer identities of my clients. I am especially passionate about working with survivors of religious trauma. Along with my Queer identity, I am also a first-generation child of immigrants. I know too well the feeling of not belonging and what that can do to our mental health. I am passionate about working with children of immigrants with generational trauma that has influenced the perceptions of the self and has hindered personal growth. You may be having a hard time setting boundaries, celebrating your success, or not diminishing your struggle because “my parents had it worse.” There is space for both being grateful and also feeling a sense of loss caused by parentification and/or self neglect. I am here to help you navigate and accept that those feelings are all valid and are allowed to co-exist.

My work centers Queer, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color with a focus of decolonizing and decentering eurocentric perceptions of life – from beauty to mental health. As a descendant of the Nahua (indigenous people from Mexico), I honor the mind, body, and spirit connection. I value indigenous healing like breathwork, mindfulness, and dance and movement. In our capitalist society, it is easy for us to go on autopilot and simply work, work, work. That is completely valid since we need to work to survive. However, slowing down and being mindful of our breath, what we feel in our bodies, and simply listening to our heartbeats reconnects us to not only ourselves, but the Earth. I find it vital to practice mindfulness to break the conditioning that we aren’t worthy of rest, slowing down, or taking care of ourselves unless we’re actively “doing.” You are a human being, not a human doing! 

My therapeutic approach is compassion based and trauma-informed. Being trauma-informed means I will never push you to open up before you’re ready. This is your space, your time, and I respect you always. Storytelling is a way I engage clients when working through their trauma. We will work together in identifying the stories in your life that have been the most painful and re-write the memories in a way that makes them more approachable to you. I wish to empower you to find your voice, be the expert of your own life, and take accountability for your healing. I believe it is important to connect to our inner child in trauma work as well. 

 As a descendant of the Nahua (indigenous people from Mexico), I honor the mind, body, and spirit connection. I value indigenous healing like breathwork, mindfulness, and dance and movement. In our capitalist society, it is easy for us to go on autopilot and simply work, work, work. That is completely valid since we need to work to survive. However, slowing down and being mindful of our breath, what we feel in our bodies, and simply listening to our heartbeats reconnects us to not only ourselves, but the Earth. I find it vital to practice mindfulness to break the conditioning that we aren’t worthy of rest, slowing down, or taking care of ourselves unless we’re actively “doing.” You are a human being, not a human doing! 

I welcome intuition, creativity, and all forms of expression that honors your inner child. As a therapist that also holds a degree in studio art, I value the arts as a medium to express and explore perceptions of the self that are strengths-based. I encourage and challenge clients to be “in the here and now.” This can look like role playing, exploring your imagination, and being present with uncomfy feelings coming up in therapy.

I’ve served as a crisis counselor for The Trevor Project where I supported LGBTQIA+ individuals with issues related to gender and sexual identity. I also worked as a Queer Sex Therapy (QST) co-writing a gender-neutral workshops that were designed to cover general and basic LGBTQIA+ education for the general public. And I’m currently completing a Sex Educator Certification, Everyone Deserves Sex Education this summer.

A fun fact about me is that I love changing my hair color. You see my hair color in my photo? Yeah, most likely it’ll change every 3 months! I had a strict childhood, so changing my hair color is something I do for my inner queer child. I also love going to Target. Perhaps you’ve heard of the phrase “you don’t go to Target because you need something, you go to Target and let Target tell you what you need.” I think it’s hilarious because it’s true. I love spending time with my community engaging in activist work and being around people. I also love going to the beach and parks. My degree in art has made me have a love/hate relationship with painting, but I still love it nonetheless! On my off time, I also volunteer for the Chicago Period Project where I help distribute period products to homeless or menstruators in need.

Luz Maria Miranda received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Art with a Concentration in Studio Art and a Minor in Child Advocacy Studies in 2019, and Master of Arts degree in Clinical Counseling from Northwestern University in 2022.

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We Offer Telehealth

To help against the spread of COVID-19, our practice offers video therapy through HIPAA compliant video platforms.