Certified Somatic Stress Release® Practitioner
Certified Trauma Support Specialist
Certificate in Narrative Focused Trauma Care
Hello, my name is Monica! (she/her) I live in the Midwest and practice on the land of the Kaw/Kansa, Osage, Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, and Kiikaapoi Tribes. My background is in organizational leadership, and I spent 11 years in a variety of sectors using those skills. Over the last couple years, I transitioned into a new career as a trauma-informed wellness practitioner. I have expertise and training in narrative focused trauma care and certifications as a Somatic Stress Release® Practitioner and Trauma Support Specialist.
The definition of trauma I operate from is anything that overwhelms the nervous system beyond its capacity into prolonged dysregulation. My definition is influenced by the examples The Embody Lab uses as possible traumatic events: "There is too much too soon. There is too much for too long. There is not enough for too long. Power and agency have been taken away from the person or collective. The stressors outweigh the resources available to navigate them. When primal protective instincts, intuitions, and responses are thwarted, and when there is not enough time, space, or permission to heal." I'd venture to say that most people have had one or two instances from that list in their life. A perfect example is the global pandemic. I also believe as Dr. Peter Levine, the developer of somatic experiencing states, "Trauma is a fact of life. However, it does not have to be a life sentence."
My journey with trauma began when I started to engage my own trauma over a decade ago. I came to realize there are traumatized people all around us, and yet not enough understanding on how to meaningfully support someone's healing. This led me to begin formal training a few years ago. I started my studies with narrative trauma care. From my own personal experience and what I witnessed among folks I worked with, I soon learned that narrative alone isn't enough. To meaningfully engage trauma, the impact of trauma in the body must also be integrated into any form of care. This led me to study how trauma gets trapped in the body and developed tools to process it. To quote Dr. Peter Levine again, “trauma is not what happens to us, but what we hold inside [our bodies] in the absence of an empathic witness.”
I’m trained to guide you as you listen to your body, and I strive to be an empathic witness as you honor what your body needs to help it find regulation and safety. I believe our bodies know what they need to get there; they may not have been given the permission or a safe avenue to express it. It would be an honor to work with you to create that space and permission.
I founded Find a Third Way, because I believe that things don't have to be black or white, one way or the other. There are other options, a "third way," and I'd like to help you discover what those options are for you. I've spent many years disrupting unhealthy inertia and rigidity within systems. Now, I want to help those who are disrupting the unhealthy in their systems to find respite, resources, validation, and a champion. You're not alone on your journey and longing for attunement and a healthier you.
I am continually growing my cultural competency as a practitioner, and I specialize in the impact of systems to the body. I'm most passionate about working with immigrants, children of immigrants, and other BIPOC folks.
Other things that I enjoy and am passionate about are my Persian heritage, the environment and living sustainably, advocating for equal rights, learning about other cultures, gardening, experimenting in the kitchen, bird watching, morning cappuccinos, indulging my sweet tooth, cozy blankets, watching reruns of Murder, She Wrote, and being out in nature with my husband.