Hi! I'm Joanna Marcela,
I’m passionate about supporting people through transcendence. I believe that while our past informs our present, it doesn’t have to dictate our today, or our future.
Together we co-create a space where you can embrace all parts of who you are with understanding and compassion. A space in which you can repair and reclaim your relationship to your Self: body, heart, mind, soul and spirit. And a space where you can re-write your story and create a new beginning.
My practice is informed and enriched by my personal journey, my professional training and my experience in the fields of social justice, mental health and in “non-traditional” methods of ancestral and earth-centered medicine. Having sat on both sides of the therapeutic chair, I know it is important to navigate these moments in the company of someone who is empathetic and compassionate. Someone who can shed some light when thing get really dark, and who can help you reconnect with your inherit strength and wisdom.
I believe that in order to provide a space for others to heal, we must be invested and committed to our own healing. This conviction, combined with my experience as a therapist, supervisor, teacher and mentor to other mental health professionals, have given me a passion and an expertise for working with therapists and social workers. I also truly enjoy, and have years of experience, working with activists, humanitarian workers, mindfulness practitioners, holistic healers, and people dedicated to holding a healing space for others.
I am a trauma recovery specialist with over 20 years of experience. I began my career as a community organizer and activist working with BIPOC youth in the South Bronx in New York city, empowering them to be self-advocates and become organizers in their communities. I then worked as a program developer and manager, co-created an alternative to incarceration program for adolescents; and provided supportive counseling for youth and their families. Years later, while working for the Crime Victims Treatment Center in New York City, I created programming for victims of intimate partner violence, human trafficking and for surviving families of victims of violent death (homicide and suicide).
My clinical practice has included providing therapy to children, adolescent, adults, couples and families with attachment and childhood trauma, acute and complex post-traumatic stress, and traumatic grief and bereavement. I’ve provided individual and group therapy to women and transwomen forced into human and sex trafficking, immigrants and refugees, incarcerated youth and victims of crimes.
Since beginning my private practice 7 years ago, I’ve supported individuals and couples navigate life transitions and build more connected partnerships. Today, I continue to have the privilege of facilitating a healing space for adults to repair, reconnect to themselves, and to renew their lives after trauma. I support adults from diverse cultural, racial, and spiritual backgrounds, sexual orientations and gender expressions. And I provide bicultural and bilingual services in English and in Spanish.
As a clinical supervisor and consultant, I’ve supported graduate interns and mental health professionals in the non-profit and private sectors to develop their clinical skills as trauma recovery therapists. Rooted in my belief that our wellness is necessary to show up well in this work, I’ve developed and provided trainings, process and support groups for mental health professionals focusing on preventing and healing from burnout, compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma.
Additionally, I’ve served as adjunct faculty at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work; I’ve volunteered internationally providing services to humanitarian workers, and helping to promote trauma-informed practices; and I’ve consulted with various non-profit organizations across the U.S. assisting them in the development of trauma-informed programming.
My work is embedded in transformational anti-oppression, anti-racism, and de-colonizing work.
And it’s partly informed by the work of the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond and Dr. Kenneth Hardy, PhD, among others. I am committed to ongoing learning and owning my responsibility to heal and transform the internalized oppression and dehumanizing narratives I’ve inherited and been condition to in my society.
Through my commitment to decolonizing mental health practices, I’ve reconnected with the wisdom of my ancestral lineage and the healing traditions of my abueles. I’ve become a learner and a practitioner of ancestral, earth-medicine and rituals. I’ve had the honor to learn from my Chamama – Susana Tapia Leon and my mentors, Claudia Barfoot, Aarinade Williams, Andrea Arare, Jacqueline Rolandelli, and Kristen Roderick (to name a few). Today, I integrate traditional western psychology with the wisdom of the earth and spirit medicine of my people.
I’m an immigrant from Colombia, multiracial, with ancestral lineages originating from the Iberian Peninsula (Spain, Basque), Indigenous communities from the Northern Andes, and enslaved peoples brought forcefully to South America from various parts of Africa. I grew up in New York City, have lived and worked in San Francisco and most recently in Denver.
I am a cisgender, queer woman, married to a cisgender man. I’m Jewish by choice, a ritualist, an animist and a practitioner of earth, ancestral and soulful medicine.
When I’m not dedicating my time to my life’s work, I enjoy cooking up my tia’s Colombian food recipes and trying out new international ones. I’m a dancer of folclor Colombiano, salsa and really enjoy dancing hip hop. I love to travel, connect to new lands, and meet wonderful people. And I spend as much time as possible connecting with the Earth - whether I’m hiking with my dog and my partner, making offerings to Pachamama, or finding a quiet park in the middle of a city where I can dig my fingers into the soil and feel the grass under my feet.
Certified AEDP Therapist & AEDP Supervisor-in-Training
- AEDP Institute
- EMDR International Association
Certified Attachment-Focused EMDR Therapist
- Laurel Parnell Institute
EMDR Protocols for Early Intervention & Ongoing
Traumatic Stress: Individual and Group Protocols
– Ignacio (Nacho) Jarero, PhD
Advanced Trauma Studies
– Trauma Studies Center, Institute for Contemporary
Restorative Retelling Model for Violent Death; Working
with Traumatic and Complicated Grief; Separation & Loss
- E.K. Rynearson, MD
Multi-Cultural Relational Couples and Family Therapy
- Colorado Center for Emotionally Focused Therapy
Advanced Clinical Supervision
Seminar in Field Instruction & Social Work Supervision (SIFI)
- Columbia University School of Social Work
Advanced Trauma Studies
New York, NY
An intensive post-graduate, certificate program focusing on trauma theory and evidence-based trauma interventions. The program integrated basic training in EMDR, Somatic Experiencing, Internal Family Systems, AEDP and Cognitive Processing Therapy.
Master of Social Work
Silberman School of Social Work (formerly Hunter School of Social Work),
New York, NY
Bachelors of Arts in Psychology
New York, NY