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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, LCSW, 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, LCSW, 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 L. Quiroz, M.Ed, Psychotherapist

Alma is a bilingual Spanish-speaking psychotherapist who recently graduated from DePaul University, achieving a Masters's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.


Alma's heartfelt passion lies in supporting various populations, including BIPOC, 1st & 2nd Generation Immigrants, LGBTQIA+, and Sexual Abuse Survivors.

With a profound commitment to serving underserved communities, Alma is a trauma-informed, multiculturally competent clinician at the graduate level. She incorporates mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) approaches to address a range of critical issues such as trauma, depression, anxiety, anger, low self-esteem, emotional regulation, and family and peer conflict.

Alma's primary goal is to foster a safe and trusting environment for all her clients, providing them with a warm and non-judgmental space to navigate their challenges and heal.

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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.

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Dulce Sanchez, MSW, Psychotherapist

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.

Daisy Meza, Intern Therapist

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Originally hailing from sunny San Diego, CA, Daisy now calls Chicago home as she pursues her master's degree at the University of Chicago's Crown School of Social Work.

Daisy brings a wealth of experience to our team, having previously interned at a resource center in Little Village. Her role involved connecting individuals with essential services and agencies, offering accompaniments to various locations across the city. She has also dedicated her efforts to helping individuals and families experiencing chronic homelessness find stability through supportive services in subsidized housing. But Daisy's impact doesn't stop there; she has also worked diligently with teens and young adults, facilitating their journey toward higher education by addressing accessibility and retention issues.

Daisy's true passion lies in mental health, and she is committed to serving both her Chicago community and her hometown of San Diego. Beyond her academic pursuits, Daisy is an avid reader, with a penchant for memoirs and historical fiction. She thrives on learning new skills and is currently mastering the art of roller skating. As a devoted food enthusiast, she is always on the lookout for new culinary gems in the vibrant city of Chicago. 

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Griselda Jaimes , Intern Therapist

Griselda is a Mexican American professional with a diverse background in arts, music, culture, and social work. She holds a BA in Business and Entrepreneurship from Columbia College Chicago and is currently pursuing a Master of Social Work at Northeastern Illinois University.

Griselda's previous role as a Mental Health Professional intern at Abbott House involved leading various activities and workshops for residents with severe mental illness. She is deeply passionate about mental health, empowerment, social impact, political advocacy, and immigration rights.

Griselda is committed to providing client-centered care using strengths-based, holistic approaches. Her approach is antiracist, gender-affirming, and culturally sensitive. She's open to working with clients from all backgrounds and is dedicated to their well-being. 

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Hemeng Zhu, Intern Therapist

Hemeng is a bilingual Mandarin-speaking intern at Lu Rocha Counseling Services. She earned her bachelor's degree in psychology with a minor in gender and health from the University of Michigan and is currently pursuing a master's degree in social work at the University of Chicago, where she's received training in Contextual Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and contemporary psychodynamic theory.

Hemeng is a compassionate and trauma-informed therapist, welcoming and supportive of LGBTQ+ individuals. Her dedication lies in helping clients conquer challenges and discover their resilience. She provides a safe, non-judgmental space for those dealing with depression, anxiety, traumatic stress, cultural conflicts, grief, and life transitions.

As an international student from China, Hemeng is especially passionate about serving diverse generations of immigrants, multicultural individuals, and marginalized communities. She also brings experience in supporting individuals and families affected by cancer.

In her downtime, Hemeng enjoys cherishing moments with her 20-pound cat. 

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Courtney Cain , Intern Therapist

Courtney is a dedicated Clinical Mental Health Counseling student at DePaul University. Her goal during her tenure at Lu Rocha Counseling Services is to make a positive impact in the field of mental health while honing her skills within a diverse counseling framework. 

Before embarking on my graduate journey, Courtney pursued a blend of psychology and Spanish studies at Miami University in Oxford, OH. Courtney is eager to apply my education and passion to support those in need.


Isis Flores, Intern Therapist

Isis is a graduate student in DePaul University's Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. She holds a B.A. in Applied Psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Isis currently works as a community outreach worker for a local nonprofit, aiding underprivileged, low-income adults with severe chronic mental health issues. Her diverse experience includes providing counseling and support to various populations, from older individuals in residential facilities to youth aged 8-15 in Southside Chicago.

Isis is a firm believer in creating open, inclusive, and compassionate counseling spaces. She specializes in trauma-informed therapy with a strengths-based approach, with a passion for empowering individuals with marginalized identities to navigate life's challenges.

In her free time, Isis enjoys ramen and perusing adoptable dogs and cats online. Welcome Isis to our team as she contributes her dedication and expertise to our counseling services.

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Jessica Rodriguez, Intern Therapist

Jessica is a bilingual Spanish-speaking therapist intern and graduate student at the University of Chicago's Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice. With a profound commitment to empowering diverse communities and individuals, her professional journey has primarily focused on providing direct support to immigrant and refugee communities. Jessica's mission is to establish a safe and encouraging space that empowers people to realize their fullest potential.

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Natalie Casal Alcaíno, Intern Therapist

Natalie Casal Alcaíno (she/her/ella) is a bilingual, queer Chilenx immigrant with roots in both Santiago, Chile, and Miami, Florida. Growing up in the aftermath of the 17-year dictatorship, she developed a profound awareness of the interconnected socio-political-environmental factors influencing intergenerational trauma.


Natalie draws extensively from studies in post-memory, epigenetics, and liberation psychology, placing emphasis on uplifting non-Western healing modalities that honor ancestral praxis. Currently pursuing a Master of Social Work at the University of Chicago, she aspires to attain licensure in clinical social work.

Her commitment extends beyond academia, as she actively engages in organizing efforts with immigrant and undocumented communities, addressing the harsh realities of body terrorism. Inspired by popular education, fat liberation movements, and abolitionist values, Natalie firmly believes that genuine healing necessitates a recognition of systemic harm and a pursuit of justice.

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.

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