My initial background is that I spent over ten years as a trauma-focused Art Psychotherapist. Like many people who train as psychotherapists, I came to trauma work driven by my own personal experiences and a desire to help others build a better and more meaningful life. I approached this as a survivor, as a participant in the mental health care system, as a young artist, as a young queer person, and as a human who wanted to help other people. I also learned soon after that in order to do this work well, and meaningfully, I needed to take my own process of healing to greater and greater depths.
We cannot guide others to places we have not traveled
I began working with children and families in the field of Art Therapy, which I still believe is a very powerful modality for trauma healing. As my specialization in trauma recovery grew, I continued to learn new techniques so I could meet the needs of those I was working with, who didn’t always resonate with a creative arts approach. I always considered myself an eclectic therapist but gradually I was incorporating approaches that more oriented to the body and unconscious process. In 2014 and 2017 I had two very serious accidents that resulted in almost the exact same injury to each arm, and I acquired a permanent (moderate) disability. This was a pivot point where I personally began to feel the limitations of psychotherapy in working with more “chronic” experiences. Just as I had felt with the complex trauma of my childhood, the suggestion of having to simply endure chronic pain and accept it as the new normal didn’t sit well with me. I do think accepting the reality of your experience is important in any healing process, but I wanted to find a way to still thrive. I had to allow myself, and my idea of self, to change in a way that let me feel vibrant and alive alongside the memories of those tragic experiences. I didn't want to see myself as being in a recovery process that would "never end." And I needed a solution for renegotiating my relationship with pain, physical and emotional, so my life was not dominated by it.
I've come to see trauma recovery as a process that has many endings, and many beginnings.
In a mirror to my early journey towards therapy, I began exploring new ways of working with myself— Breathwork, Reiki, and later Hypnosis— and reconnected more deeply to my spiritual center in an earth-honoring way. As I watched myself transform yet again, I felt compelled to bring this into my work with others. I witnessed those transformations in others and increasingly wanted the flexibility of practicing outside the umbrella of psychotherapy. And then came 2020. Suddenly it seemed that these other ways of seeing, practices of living fully in the body, and confronting the ways that harmful and oppressive systems lock us into patterns of emotional deprivation, were the only way to offer something meaningful. There was openness to new ways of seeing. I gave myself permission to change my mind and pivot towards a new approach to facilitating trauma healing.
I like to describe my work as facilitating this healing for the mind, the body, and the spirit. All these layers must be worked with in order to see lasting, meaningful change. The unifying thread that connects these three levels, and the different modalities I use, is personal and universal energy.
My role as a facilitator is to hold the space for you to learn how to channel, move, release and recalibrate your energy. Reclaiming this ability opens the door to the flexibility, self-awareness, pattern-breaking, and sense of connection that is needed for true recovery.
Throughout this website you can learn about the individual sessions I offer, my approach to working with the modalities I practice, and the many groups I offer. I also offer Reiki Training, including a curriculum specifically for Psychotherapists. If you want to get to know me better through my writing, you can subscribe to my newsletter.
If you want the details on my training and certifications, and more explanation of what a liberation-focused perspective means to me from a professional lens you can continue reading below.
Mikella (she/they) is a licensed Art Therapist, Therapeutic Coach, Hypnosis practitioner, Breathwork Facilitator, Reiki Master Teacher, and 13th Octave LaHoChi Master living and working on occupied Lenape land currently known as NYC. She has a passion for helping individuals and couples to recognize and cultivate their innate strengths, and to promote healing through mindful practices, insight, play and creative process. After graduating from New York University she worked in a variety of community-based, outpatient, acute care, and residential settings allowing her to develop expertise with diverse populations. Her focus is in providing LGBTQIA2+ affirming, and trauma-informed healing care for adults. Through over thirteen years of trauma-focused therapy she has found that many are in need of more flexible options for therapeutic support that have an expansive use of different practices to support healing. She also wishes to offer support to those who are further along in their healing journey and may have started to encounter the limits of ongoing psychotherapy.
As a foundational aspect of her work, Mikella is committed to continually examining the ways that white supremacy, capitalism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, and colonization manifest not only in our lived experiences, but how this can infiltrate the systems of mental health and wellness. As a white practitioner she holds the awareness of her impact in working with people with different identity locations, and for those who are comfortable working with a white practitioner she maintains a humbled commitment to integrating anti-racist practice into all aspects of this work to the best of her capacity. This includes thoughtfully considering the role of cultural appropriate and cultural honoring within holistic practices, acknowledging their origins. Endeavoring to approach holistic modalities from a liberation-focused perspective means both acknowledging these systems and their impacts AND radical imagining of futures where we can all be free. As a healing arts practitioner this work sits in a particular lane of support to find greater resource and connection to support the tangible ways we must cocreate a better world.
Training and experience: Mikella has a Master's degree in Art Therapy form New York University and a Bachelor's degree in Fine Art from the School of Visual Arts. She was a consultant and supervisor with Sanctuary for Families (a leading multi-service agency for survivors of gender based violence and human trafficking), and was the lead supervisor and coordinator for the Art Therapy internship program at East End Hospice (for their once per year therapeutic bereavement camp for children) from 2014-2020. Mikella has been a guest lecturer with New York University's Art Therapy program and Silver School of Social Work, and has presented professionally for numerous organizations in New York City including the McSilver Institute for Poverty, Policy & Research, Coalition for Hispanic Family Services, the Expressive Arts Therapy Summit, the NYC Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence, and offers post-graduate continuing education with Dancing Dialogue. She has obtained additional training in Couples Therapy at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy. In 2017 and 2018 she pursued Reiki Master Training, Breathwork, Dreamwork, Ericksonian Hypnosis, Integrative Hypnosis, and Integrative Coaching. She has also trained with Jordan Deerheart Ix Mazatl Olsi to be a 13th Octave LaHoChi Master. Mikella has developed a unique style of blending different modalities to create a dynamic approach to healing work that works on the levels of the mind, body, and spirit. She continues to offer formal training and supervision to psychotherapists.
A note about fees and sliding scale: I recognize that individual sessions can be a financial burden, and am strongly committed to making this work financially accessible while also honoring my capacity to hold space effectively and sufficiently caring for myself.
Individual sessions are generally the most expensive due to the time, preparation, and effort that goes into such targeted work; the full rate for Individual sessions is $175/ 55 minutes and there are a limited number of sliding scale coaching sessions beginning at $100 which are accessible by using the coaching codes indicated on my booking site. If you are in need of sliding scale please read the instructions on my booking page and apply the appropriate codes. Full cost sessions help make it possible offer a sliding scale to those who need it, and so I ask that you consider this when scheduling a sliding scale appointment. BIPOC and trans/gnc folx may also utilize sliding scale appointments regardless of financial need. Packages and subscriptions are also available to reduce costs for those wishing to work together more consistently.
Periodically certain appointments may become unavailable to new clients. The reason for limiting the number of appointments is because I take my responsibilities as space holder very seriously, and can only work with a certain number of individuals at a given time and offer the quality of care and attention that you deserve.