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.
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.
Frameworks, trainings, 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.
Interested in working together? Let’s connect.