CarmenLeah Ascencio, LICSW, MPH, RYT, CPC, is a bilingual (Spanish-English) public health social worker, therapist, radical life coach, trauma-sensitive yoga instructor, educator and proud Boricua queer. She loves supporting people to dismantle their ideas about what can’t be done in order to focus on a vision that will be achieved. CarmenLeah integrates artistic, spiritual and body centered practices into her therapeutic and transformative work. CarmenLeah is also a novice surfer, outdoor explorer and is learning to build sustainable tree houses.
- Therapy (walk & talk nature-based therapy, mind-body therapy & traditional office based therapy)
- Life Coaching
- Trauma Sensitive Yoga
- Organizational consulting
- Training and Workshops
- Public Speaking
After 15 years of working in various types of non-profit organizations, including small grassroots organizations, public schools, health centers, and international humanitarian aid agencies, I identified multiple factors that lead people to feel burnt out and uninspired by work they once felt passionate about. I myself had become one of these people. I witnessed and personally understood how people with passion and talent could become burnt out and resigned when an organization did not have a structure or culture in place to support the emotional well-being, education, creativity, collaboration and empowerment of staff and clients. My observations led me to study and practice trauma informed care and design programs that embody the values of an agency, in organizational culture and daily practice. I now support non-profit and educational organizations to care for people with compassion and knowledge about trauma, while engaging in creative and effective means to cause a big impact. I also support individuals through therapy, life-coaching and trauma sensitive yoga to heal from trauma, sustain themselves in social justice work, and identify and do what makes them come alive.
I integrate my training in clinical social work, public health, trauma informed yoga, mindfulness, theatre of the oppressed and education to provided transformative services to individuals, organizations and schools. I specialize in supporting:
- People affected by violence and abuse (including commercial sexual exploitation/sex-trafficking)
- People affected by depression and anxiety
- Queer and trans people (with focus on QTPoC)
- Social justice activists
- Adolescents (with a focus on youth of color and youth in urban environments)
- Latin@s (including monolingual Spanish speakers)
- Refugees and asylum seekers
- College students of color
I have over 14 years of clinical and program management experience working in domestic and international non-profits with a focus on partner abuse, sexual violence, the commercial sexual exploitation of children, refugee resettlement and positive youth development. My professional experience includes: program management and design, individual and group counseling, advocacy, case management, outreach, training development, workshop facilitation, staff supervision, quantitative and qualitative research, monitoring and evaluation, facilitating applied community theatre, and teaching. I have worked for agencies such as GEMS in New York City, the International Rescue Committee, the Center for Global Health and Development at Boston University, Apne Aap Women Worldwide in Delhi, India, the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center and the Violence Recovery Program at Fenway Health. I am currently a therapist and life coach in private practice at The Meeting Point, the director of Get Free, a Black Girl Dangerous program for queer and trans youth of color; an online course instructor for Simmons School of Social Work; and, the creator of Freedom Labor Love, a consultancy business that helps organizations and schools become emotionally healthy and inspired social change environments.
EDUCATION AND TRAINING
I have a bachelor’s degree in post-colonial and third world feminist theory and theatre for social change from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University. During undergrad I studied the role of art in the revolution at the University of Havana in Cuba. I have a Masters in Social Work, with a specialization in trauma, and a Masters in Public Health, with a specialization in global health from Boston University. I am in the process of being certified as a professional life coach through the Leadership That Works Coaching for Transformation professional certification program. I am a Massachusetts state certified rape crisis counselor and domestic violence counselor. I am a Kripalu certified yoga teacher and specialize in teaching yoga for anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. I also received training in Theatre of the Oppressed from the Theatre of the Oppressed Laboratory of the Brecht Forum in New York City.
My work is informed by:
- The neurobiology and physiology of trauma
- Paulo Freiri’s Pedagogy
- Theatre of the Oppressed
- Buddhism and Mindfulness
- Critical Race Theory
- Third World Feminist Theory