Hello. I’m Kelly (she, her, hers).
I am woman of European descent. I belong to the Celtic and Hellenistic diasporas, many of whom live still today as economic & cultural refugees from our ancestral lands. I was born as a settler, raced as white, on the occupied land of the Shawnee Nation. I live and organize today on the occupied land of the Gabrielino-Tongva Nation, what our empire calls Los Angeles, California. From a young age, I knew I was a healer and Truth-teller and I’ve been refining my tools ever since. I’m a politicized somatic trauma therapist, coach, facilitator, and movement builder. I help healers, activists, entrepreneurs and institutional organizers recover from trauma so we can get free.
My Medicine, Lineage, Training, & Organizing
My medicine is a weaving of:
politicized somatic embodiment
justice- trauma- & body-centered healing
blaming systems not people & communities
systemic & historical analysis
a commitment to academic rigor & root-cause identification
living out liberation theory in anti-oppressive action
healing ourselves with plants
decolonized mystic spirituality
self-knowing, mystery, devotion, rhythm, & discerned action
I believe you cannot teach on what you do not live out yourself, and that it is through our lineages of organizing (change-making) & training (change-equipping) that we learn to embody the healing, justice, and spirituality we desire.
My institutional training began as a psychotherapist, studying trauma therapy at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. I worked for 5 years years with womxn & families seeking healing from sexual trafficking, sexual abuse within their communities & families, immigration trauma, and eating disorders. I studied under many beautiful, diverse, experienced psychotherapists, and did all of my work bilingually (English/Spanish). One of my favorite mentors is Birgitte Espitia, LMFT - a Danish marriage and family therapist who taught me the art of asking really great questions. During my schooling I was trained in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Once I learned the limitations and dis-embodied nature of CBT, I immersed myself in somatic training. Much of my practice is now rooted in the somatic and complex-trauma training I’ve received through Bessel Van der Kolk, Somatic Experiencing trainings, and the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.
The non-profit industrial complex eventually over-worked me and burned me out, and in 2014 I took a year-long break from my healing work to heal myself & get clear on a call to open my own practice. At this time, I also began reversing many of my chronic illnesses through detoxification and went on to become a Certified Detoxification Specialist under the study of Dr. Richard Morse. During this year, I also hired coaches at the intersection of healing and justice - Dr. Raúl Quiñones-Rosado and Jardana Peacock; They both helped me become clear on my movement role, and how to begin weaving my skills to support healers, activists, entrepreneurs, and institutional organizers devoted to systemic change.
I am primarily trained in my anti-racist analysis by the Racial Equity Institute (REI) as well as mentors from its ‘mother organization’ - the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond (PISAB). I am particularly grateful for mentorship I received from Deena Hayes-Greene, Suzanne Phlicik, Bay Love, and Dr. Michael Washington (one of the founders of the curriculum that both REI and PISAB build from). Additionally, I want to say here that the only reason I ever got training in anti-racism in the first place was because of the generous support and encouragement of the CityWell Church and its founding pastoral couple - Amy and Cleve May - who put their money where the movement was and funded the training of its leaders.
As my analysis on race deepened, I began to see the limitations of organizing against racism without simultaneously addressing other systemic oppressions like sexism & classism. I began virtually learning from the wisdom of Kimberlé Crenshaw and had the honor of being trained on intersectional feminism by Tony Porter and Afua Addo through “A Call to Men”. I am also exceptionally grateful for my ongoing relationship with Spirithouse-NC and the black womxn and femmes there who help(ed) me in implementing my analysis with grassroots, cultural organizing grounded in intersectionality.
I have organized for/with:
Economic & Housing Justice — in rural Appalachia with Good Works Inc.
Undoing Racism — in the Triangle (Durham-Chapel Hill- Raleigh) of North Carolina with Organizing Against Racism (OAR)
Native Sovereignty & Environmental Justice — with the American Indian Movement (AIM) & the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
Black Liberation & Ending Mass Incarceration — in Durham, NC with Spirithouse & in Cincinnati, OH with Black Lives Matter Cincinnati (BLMC), now known as Mass Action for Black Liberation (MABL)
Ending Gentrification — in Cincinnati, OH with the Peaselee Community Center, BLMC, & as the Vice President of the Over-the-Rhine Community Council (OTRCC)
My private practice as been open for 5 years. My focus has been serving:
white activists weaving spirituality into their anti-racist organizing through co-created workshops with the Liberatory Leadership Project (LLP) called PRACTICE SHOWING UP
activists + healers with chronic health illnesses through my program SIMPLY HEAL
activists + institutional organizers who desire to unpack the legacy of whiteness through narrative in my group facilitation — Whiteness: A Creation Story
white womxn creatives & entrepreneurs who desire to heal themselves and their work from internalized whiteness, sexism & classism in my 1-1 coaching program POLLINATION
white entrepreneurs, healers, and activists who want to orient their work to healing & justice through the medicine of the Celtic Cauldrons —with a private coaching & certification program called ORIENTATION. ORIENTATION is a program under Energetic Justice, a space that a co-steward with my partner-in-liberation, Kelly Elizabeth.
the Healing-Justice Movement at large — through sharing on podcasts, offering pro-bono workshops/facilitation to local communities & student groups, and consistently releasing free content on my platforms. I’m particularly proud of our free resources section at Energetic Justice.
Recent frameworks, trainings, content, coaching, relationships & adventures that have been forming me:
Workshops, courses, 1-1 coaching sessions, peer conversations, blogs, books, podcasts and more with my colleagues in the emerging field of Racialized Trauma & Politicized Cultural Somatics — Particularly the bodies of work put forth by Generative Somatics, Sumitra Rajkumar, Mark Charles, Resmaa Menakem, Tada Hozumi, Kelly Elizabeth Behrend, and Susannah Bartlow.
Conversations with & content by my colleagues in the praxis of Decolonized Spirituality — Particularly the virtual teach-ins over at the Mystic Soul Project, conversations and workshops with Xan West & Teresa Pasquale-Mateus, and the abundance of content Ebony Janice keeps putting out there.
Everyone and anyone teaching us about biomimicry - especially the iconic book “Emergent Strategy” by adrienne maree brown, which really transformed my facilitation.
I am an alumni of Union Theological Seminary’s Millennial Leadership Project (MLP) and get to stay connected to other incredible millennial leaders who are weaving spirituality and justice.
A recent initiation into of the Sisterhood of the Rose with EXALT — a sacred immersion in the lineage of the Rose & the teachings of Yeshua + Mary Magdalene, created by Karen Prosen and Luna Love Isbell.
A training on Anti-Racist Practice in Health and Human Services with Colleen Dempsey & the National Association of Social Workers for helping me concretely engage anti-racist praxis in my field of study
A training on Anti-Racist Genealogical Research with Darla Antoine for helping me concretely engage anti-racist praxis in my personal ancestral research & recovery
A 4 month ancestral-adventure with my husband Ian — It’s probably the most fun, freedom & healing I’ve ever had.
My current 1-1 Coaching With Karen Prosen for helping me heal & emerge more fully into my leadership
The hours and hours I get to spend each week imagining, dreaming, and scheming with my Partner-In-Liberation: Kelly Elizabeth Behrend.
“Kelly is a truly gifted healer committed to collective liberation…She has a way of navigating clients through the fire of activism and the balm of devotion, creating real space for personal breakthroughs on the most pressing issues facing humanity. It's no small task, and yet Kelly navigates it with such grace and intention. Her coaching style allowed me to more deeply discover my own truth rather than just be told what it should be — a sign of a true healer with high integrity for enabling the sovereignty of all beings. This level of empowerment and encouragement has enabled me to feel more whole, more human, and more prepared for and committed to dismantling white supremacy. I am so grateful to have Kelly's support as I continue on the path of personal healing and collective liberation.”
- Kelly Elizabeth Behrend, Founder of Awaken Your Chakras
Interested in working together but want to make sure it’s a good fit?