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Image by Mick Haupt

Hi! I'm Schlese!

Pronouns: She/Her

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”—Proverb
 

I believe therapy is a relationship that supports self-discovery. It’s a way of tuning in. Self-discovery matters because the problems we experience are often an invitation for personal growth. Growth is a process (and a solution) that takes time, but it can ultimately help you have a different conversation with life. That’s why I’m here: I’ll walk with you for part of that journey.

Why I'm a Social Worker

I love being a social worker who is a therapist because I think we are healthiest when we are in relationship (to self, other, family, culture, society, and for some, the Divine). I’m a social worker because I think society can either help or harm the types of relationships that help us to be who we fully are. I believe everyone—and not just a deserving few—is worthy of resources and access to resources that allow people and communities to develop and thrive.

 

Unfortunately, in societies where there is system-wide oppression and injustice, being who you are can be hard. That’s why I believe most mental health “problems” don’t begin and end with you or your symptoms. Instead, I think mental health “problems” are often related to our everyday environments because that’s where we experience the lived impact of system-wide oppression and injustice in our bodies and minds.

 

The story of you is also the story of us—of our society and your place in it. In that sense, I deeply believe the personal is political. I’m a social worker because I believe being who you truly are is an act of hope, resilience, and resistance that requires the help of community and a few good friends who understand how to challenge and channel power.

More About Me
When I was in my 20’s, I developed a set of health problems that doctors weren’t able to explain. Plus, I didn’t have financial means or status, and I was a Black woman. I quickly discovered the humiliation and frustration of not being listened to and taken seriously in the health care system. At the end of my rope, I decided to try non-Western therapy, rooted in the wisdom of Sufism. That choice changed my life. I learned how to find a better relationship with life and my life experiences. I was also able to restore my self-worth and dignity. As a way to express gratitude for the gift of that experience, I enjoy working with clients who, in some aspect of their lives, sense that there’s “another way,” but haven’t been able to find the road that might take them there.

 

My path to clinical social work is unconventional. Because of my  experiences, I’ve had the opportunity to work with diaspora populations from Africa, Asia, and the Americas who are dealing with different types of stress (chronic and generational) that affect their bodies, minds, and souls. Their lives affirm that sometimes, people have cultural and spiritual ways of addressing stressors that are legitimate and not at odds with therapy or the safe place they deserve to tell their story.

Special Interests

My special interests in the field of therapy include the intersections of: African and Indigenous forms of knowledge and expression, ancestors, communal ritual and memory, genealogy, culture, spirituality, decolonization, resistance, resilience, politics, and liberation.

 

Outside of therapy, I like reading, quilting, singing, solitude, researching family genealogy, and learning about traditional healing and medicine.

Specialties and Services

  • Individual Therapy for Adults 18+

  • College Students

  • Women's Issues/Women in Transition

  • Kink

  • Alternative Relationships

  • Racial and Ethnic Minorities

  • Immigrants

  • Refugees
     

My favorite clients to work with are adults who sometimes feel the desire to tune "in" (even if they don't know how or have the time)! I also like working with clients who are having a challenging time figuring out what to handle the impact of stress in their lives who:

  • Have cultural or religious backgrounds that include histories of loss, relocation, or separation

  • View themselves as spiritual or religious seekers

  • Are undergoing a spiritual crisis

  • Live with chronic illness or pain

  • Exist in-between multiple cultural, linguistic, or ethnic identities

  • Struggle to reconcile cultural or religious roles, expectations, and beliefs (gender, sexuality, etc) that seem problematic or worth questioning

  • Are trying therapy for the first time

Treatment Style and Methods

  • Attachment-Based Therapy

  • Emotionally Focused

  • Existential Therapy

  • Humanistic Therapy

  • Internal Family Systems

  • Mindfulness-Based Therapy

  • Narrative Therapy

  • Somatic Therapy

Education and Credentials

Education

  • 2022 George Mason University, Masters of Social Work

  • University of Virginia B.A. English

  • John Hopkins University, M.A. Writing

Credentials

  • Supervisee in Social Work 2022 under Kelly Cipera, LCSW

Fun Facts

A very random fun fact: My favorite telenovela is Lo Que La Vida Me Robó. I also adore Jane the Virgin. #JafaelForever!

Book Recommendations

  • American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

  • The Known World by Edward P. Jones

  • Homecoming by Thema Bryant

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