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Lu Rocha, MA, MSW, LCSW, RYI (Founder)

Lu is a bilingual Spanish speaking trauma therapist. Her professional experience includes more than twenty years of counseling, organizing, activism, and advocacy within the Latinx community and other marginalized communities. Lu identifies as a Latina with indigenous roots, first born generation in the United States, a proud daughter of a Brazero. She is the founder of Multicultural Consulting Services, a for-profit business dedicated in helping institutions make their services accessible to everyone. 


Lu is dedicated in addressing trauma from a cultural perspective, while using methods that are evidence-based and trauma-informed. She works with clients from a variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds and has experience in providing services to youth who have experienced and/or witnessed family and community violence. Her professional aspiration is to support the growth of providers of color in the mental health field so that communities of color can have more options in obtaining services that align to their cultural beliefs and values.  


Tamara Fermaint, Biller/Community Liaison

Tamara Fermaint has been in the health care field for over 30 years as a registered dental hygienist. She has experience in providing patient care services in hospitals, private practice, and community settings.


She brings with her a commitment to advocate for individuals living with mental health illness, LGBTQ community members, people affected by homelessness, and children with learning disabilities, obtain quality services and support. 

Tamara is excited to join Lu Rocha Counseling Service as their new insurance biller and care coordinator.


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Nikiya Pruitt, LCSW, Psychotherapist

In a society filled with checkboxes, performances, and expectations, oftentimes we can start to feel overwhelmed, depleted, and left alone to feel like we don’t have much to offer or give.  We find ourselves questioning our worth, purpose, and existence, while still trying to live up to societal expectations. Why me?  Why wasn’t I good enough? Who am I? All of life’s hurts and disappointments can make us feel like we are just surviving and not living or that even in a crowded room of our loved ones, we still feel alone.  Where do we go from here?


Working in the social service field for more than 10 years, as a therapist, I offer a warm, affirming, and non-judgmental approach to help all those in need, feel welcomed, safe, and valued. I specialize in working with individuals who have a hard time managing their anxiety, grief, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, gender identity, HIV/AIDS, stigma, relationship issues, family conflicts, and suicidal ideations using the following approaches:

·         Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

·         Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

·         Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT)

·         Holistic Psychotherapy

·         Journal Therapy

·         Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

·         Motivational Interviewing

·         Person-Centered Therapy

·         Psychodynamic Therapy

·         Rational Emotive Therapy (REBT)

·         Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT)


Furthermore, as a therapist with a unique style and therapeutic approach, I enjoy helping individuals find comfort and strength in their spirituality along with exploring alternative therapy styles we can utilize both in and outside of sessions. Together, we will work on strategies that will allow you to address the root causes of your stress, identify your strengths, all while helping you build meaningful social connections through community support.

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JoAn Vargas-Herzfeldt, LSW, Psychotherapist

JoAn is a bilingual Spanish-speaking therapist. Her educational background includes undergraduate studies in psychology and intercultural communication with a Latin American focus. She earned her master’s degree in Social Work with a Mental Health concentration from the Jane Addams School of Social Work.
She is a Certified Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse Counselor (CADC). While she enjoys working with diverse populations, the bulk of her experience comes from working with the Latinx community members, the military, and individuals struggling with substance use. She also enjoys working with women navigating the challenges of motherhood. Her experience comes from working in programs such as Women Infants and Children (WIC), Healthy Families of Illinois, and postpartum depression programs.

Her approach to therapy is solution-focused and goal-oriented, collaboratively creating treatment plans for change. Her intentions as a therapist are to create a non-judgmental and safe environment where she can support self-efficacy to promote behavioral change by incorporating motivational interviewing, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and solution-focused therapy, while utilizing strength-based strategies and the principles of dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). She helps her clients manage their
symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, relationship issues, addiction, and make positive behavioral changes.


Briana Wright, LSW, Psychotherapist

Briana is an advocate and therapist. Her professional experience includes 20 years of serving young children, adolescents, and communities, including providing home visiting services, training and technical assistance, and counseling.  Briana has provided professional development training on working with schools, substance abuse prevention, and supporting trauma impacted families, engaging community leaders, youth, and volunteer development.


As a therapist, Briana wants to collaborate by listening to concerns and challenges, while establishing a healthy rapport. Through these conversations, she hopes to cultivate a consistent and honest dialogue. Collectively, with the individual, Briana creates a space of safety and trust. She employs a blend of therapeutic approaches, which includes Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Strength-Based, and Reality, to yield a more holistic approach to achieving your goals and desired outcomes.


She has experience in providing support to individuals experiencing challenges with anxiety, anger management, depression, grief, healthy-relationship management, life management and post-traumatic stress. Briana has a desire to assist individuals in the process of self-discovery, empowerment and development of strategies that improve your mental and spiritual health.

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Alma Quiroz, Clinical Intern

Alma is a Bilingual Spanish-speaking intern for Lu Rocha Counseling Services. She is currently a graduate student at DePaul University in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. Alma earned her B.A. from DePaul University in Psychology with a concentration in Human Services and a minor in Sociology.


Alma currently works with children ages 2-5, conducting individual early childhood assessments in English and Spanish. She wants to provide a safe and trusting environment for all her clients and offer them a warm, non-judgmental space.


Alma is ecstatic to continue my education and begin my counseling career with the Lu Rocha Counseling Services.


When Alma is not working or in school, she enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and fur baby.

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Stephany Baca, Clinical Intern

Stephany is a bilingual Spanish-speaking therapist. Her educational background includes a focus in psychology and Spanish. She is working on her master's degree in social work with a focus on health and wellness at Dominican University. In her clinical experience, she has worked with a variety of age groups ranging from ages 8 to 25. Her educational background knowledge includes the state approved 40-hour domestic violence training, Chicanx Affirmative Therapy, and art therapy techniques. 

She strives to provide a comfortable and inclusive environment for all clients. Stephany has worked with a variety of age groups ranging from ages 8 to 25. She has conducted therapy groups focused on socialization and communication skills for children ages 8 to 11. 

She uses resilience informed practices to empower clients to find their power and assists them in building a stable foundation using those strengths.  Lastly, Stephany is dedicated to providing client-centered therapy, focused on addressing emotional, behavioral, and life stress challenges. 

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Gema Gaete-Tapia, M.S. Counseling

Gema is a bilingual Spanish-speaking counselor, advocate, and Racial Healing Practitioner. She was born in a small desert town in northern Chile. Her family was forced into exile and settled in Little Village, Chicago in 1976.


Gema has over 20 years of experience in youth development, community organizing, and education. In her years of working with community youth and in her own personal healing journey, she struggled to find mental health providers of color. Therefore, in 2015 Gema decided to add her little grain of sand and
contribute to our individual and collective healing and help fill this void by pursuing a master’s degree in counseling.

Gema’s core values include equity, self-determination, and honoring each other’s humanity. In this spirit, she will collaborate with you to create a supportive, safe, and empowering environment where you are an active participant in exploring and addressing your concerns. This process may include narrative and/or art therapy, as well as the practice of meditation and breathing techniques. Gema is devoted to providing a culturally relevant and accessible, trauma-informed, mental health practice.

Lu's Method of Therapy

Lu prefers to provide therapy from a strength-based approach. This form of therapy emphasizes a person’s self-determination and strengths. It is a philosophy and a way of viewing a client as resourceful and resilient in the face of adversity. To help clients improve their mental health, Lu utilizes diverse inclusive therapy (DIT), which includes talk therapy and other modalities that have been proven to be effective and beneficial.


DIT includes:

  • Talk therapy

  • Breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga, which are proven to improve one’s mental health. And as a registered yoga instructor (RYI), trained in therapeutic yoga, Lu teaches her clients how to use these tools to better manage anxiety, anger and other overwhelming emotions and sensations. 

  • Understanding how trauma and anxiety effects the body, brain, and one’s overall health is important; therefore, Lu teaches her clients how the effects manifests within the body.

  • Lu believes that having a spiritual practice is important in one’s healing, so when appropriate, Lu addresses spirituality in her therapy sessions. This may include conversations on connecting with one’s ancestors, practicing traditions or rituals, smudging etc.  

  • Historical trauma (HT) is an emotional and psychological wounding experienced by a group/community across generations and within one's lifespan. When appropriate, Lu believes it is important to explore how historical trauma is currently affecting one’s mental and physical health.


Dulce Sanchez, Intern

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Dulce is a bilingual Spanish-speaking intern at Lu Rocha Counseling Services. She immigrated to Chicago from Mexico and is a current DACA recipient. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in social work this year, she decided to aim higher and pursue her master’s degree. She is enrolled in the advanced graduate program at Northeastern
Illinois University where she will receive her master’s degree in social work with a concentration in therapy with children, youth, and families. Dulce has experience working with children ages 5-14.


She is eager to help and provide a safe environment for all her clients. She hopes to make a change and help members of marginalized communities see the importance of mental health in all stages of life. When Dulce is not at school, she likes to spend her
free time at the gym, with family, and friends.

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