What We Do
Our mission is to develop localized healing resources in mental and relational health in every community, with an emphasis on increasing resources in communities of need.
Through collaboration and employing community health models integrated with attachment theory, interpersonal neurobiology, and trauma-informed therapies, we seek:
Conexa envisions communities that have access to affordable, integrated resources for mental and relational health that consist of promotion, prevention, and intervention by people within their own community, leading to communities that develop, grow, thrive and share.
Conexa seeks to reduce or eliminate a community's reliance on outside health care systems that will hold them in a cycle of dependence while failing to meet their needs, provide quality care, integrate with their culture, or empower them to lead healthy lives.
Empowering Our Communities
To see our relationships as the solution. To work across different levels of economic resources. To engage one another and collaborate to bring the same access and quality of therapeutic care no matter the context. To be connected to one another’s healing for broader social change.
Our mental health system has a problem. Much of it is rooted in antiquated or unhelpful concepts that frame our common human struggles of anxiety and stress and our emotional struggles of sadness, fear, or anger as a disease, a sickness, or a disorder. This creates not only a tremendous stigma to emotional struggle and to our body’s natural response to stress, but it also frames it as a very personal, individual problem. Our system does not take into account or target the sources of stress and anxiety, sadness or depression within a person’s context, their environment, and especially their relationships.
In short, our system focuses on the symptoms rather than the sources. We focus on intervention and treatment, the removal of pain, and coping without addressing the systems that created and are holding the sources in place.
But that is not the only problem.
On top of our focus on intervention to treat symptoms, we have commodified the entire process. For centuries, people found healing in their communities- going to elders, leaders, or even professionals. Our current system, however, has devolved into one that is dependent upon insurance companies, medical and pharmaceutical industries, and highly trained professionals that charge a lot of money for an hour. Due to the high cost of intervention, as well as the medical approach to mental and relational health, insurance controls this process through codified diagnosis. If a person doesn’t have insurance, they have to pay out of pocket. If their struggle does not fit a diagnostic code the insurance company will cover, they have to pay out of pocket. If the intervention they are seeking is not approved or covered by insurance, they have to pay out of pocket. Private practice clinicians have to charge fees that are only growing higher over time due to the cost of their own business and training, leaving anyone unable to afford their fees without any kind of help. Unfortunately, this is most people.
High cost does not stop there. It takes an extraordinary amount of money and time for anyone to become a counselor or therapist. First they must go to graduate school, oftentimes requiring student loans as most counseling programs do not qualify for grants or scholarships (most grants fund only research oriented mental health programs). They have to work for free while getting their degree and then for very low rates before finally getting their license, which takes a few years. In that time, they also must pay for expensive trainings and certifications, especially if they want to specialize in a particular approach. Of course, the most successful and powerful models of therapy are also the most expensive and time consuming to be trained in. It is very difficult for anyone from any community, especially a low income or marginalized community, to successfully complete this process. And when they do, the people in their own community often cannot afford their services.
Finally, with the focus primarily on symptoms, intervention and cost, very little energy, attention or resources are aimed at actually promoting and developing mental and relational health in communities, that would allow families to grow, thrive, and better respond to the challenges we all face in life or the trauma that comes our way. Most of this work, if it does exist, is not integrated with the helping and healing professions or informed by the latest science in trauma, relationships or interpersonal neurobiology.
In the end, this leaves many people stuck with few resources in their community, high costs for care and insurance, and health systems that do not address their struggles adequately, much less understand or approach their issues contextually and systemically. The people actually within communities of need trying to address challenges or build resources and resilience are confronted with the high costs of education, training, and other resources, leaving them under equipped and overwhelmed.
The Conexa Response
Conexa seeks to develop ways to approach this dilemma through collaboration with professionals in the mental and relational health community and the leaders of local communities.
We want to build THIS funnel, an integrated community health model, where agents of change such therapists, coaches and leaders work together to seamlessly provide the community access to quality systemic mental and relational health at all levels: Promotion/ Prevention, Development, Intervention, and Specialized Care. The agents work together in modalities that are systemic and trauma informed, culturally integrated and empowering.
If you are a therapist, a counselor, or a mental health professional in a community, we want to help you get access to the best training, connect you with organizations and agencies in your community, and become not only a resource and referral source, but a mentor, a coach, and a collaborator.
If you are a community leader, a faith leader, or a leader in a non-profit or agency working in the community, we want to not only support you as a resource, but help train people in your community to become a resource as well.
If you are a member in the community, we want to not only help you heal from struggles and thrive in relationships, but to have a community that thrives as well, with access to people who can help.
Conexa has a blueprint. A pay-it-forward model that seeks to increase resources in funding and training for community projects, develop collaboration with community agencies, and incubate and support these projects to complete the funnel and meet the goals of community health.
When performing services in communities of clients with financial resources, Conexa raises awareness and finances to invest in projects for communities in need and meet these goals by:
Establishing access to affordable systemic therapy treatments through collaboration with community organizations
Promoting therapists of color that use systemic and trauma based models in those communities.
Training and equipping community agents (Relational/Mental health Coaches) beyond trained therapists.
Developing Prevention and Promotion programs for organizations in the communities
Scaffolding and incubating the infrastructure until the project operates autonomously
What We Believe
We believe in the integrity, strength, and beauty of the human person. Grounded in the “pillars” of our work, we do not look at people as flawed, broken or deficient, but rather developmental, resourceful, and capable of tremendous growth and change.
We believe that when people feel strengthened and nurtured in their relationships, the capacity to heal from hardship and trauma is multiplied at every level, allowing people to thrive, be creative, and share.
We believe that growth does not stop with just the individual, but continues through family and community. We believe that community, with a sense of belonging and purpose, is critical not only for the growth of individuals but for humanity as a whole.
We believe this applies to all human beings, regardless of race, ethnicity, color, age, sexual orientation, or physical and mental ability.
Our model touches each environment that an individual interacts - within themselves, families, communities, and the larger society.
The Future We Imagine
Centering relationships for healing and growth
When it comes to mental health, access to care is the number one factor in determining whether people can receive help. We have an audacious goal, to transform communities that are hurting and the broken mental health system together. Enter the share economy. Or, as we like to call it, Pay It Forward. We believe in the abundance of human relationships and that we have more than enough resources to go around.
The Conexa model trains and equips people to support the relational needs of the community directly. Whether you are a therapist, community leader, or someone seeking help, we all possess gifts that we can share with one another and the broader human community. Our teams are mobilized to provide workshops, training, and on-going support to organizations and communities around the world.
The "Pillars' of Our Platform
To implement change, we believe we cannot just focus on what is within or even what is just outside a person. Rather, it is the focus on the process that happens both on the inside and the outside. It is both within and between. Systems theory does not pathologize, but examines how the body interacts and is affected by its environment. With people, this means a focus on relationships, on interaction and communication that affects meaning-making, body process and overall health.
This tried and true perspective confirms that we grow and develop because of the people who care for us, from birth and beyond. Our emotional bonds with others inform our understanding of safety and danger, trust and belonging in order to navigate our environment. When disconnected or isolated from relationships, we experience a range of impacts - from a loss of purpose or motivation, to mental health concerns like anxiety and depression. Strengthening emotional bonds and learning how relationships work is critical to thriving as a community and tending to the needs of the world around us.
Our brain is a part of our body and understanding the process of the brain with the body and how that works in relationship is important for healing and growth. This comes critically into focus with communication as well as healing for trauma the body experiences from past events. In order to heal, thrive and achieve the sense of wholeness and balance for a human being, we cannot just engage in “talk therapy” but must integrate our conscious thoughts, reflections and dialogue (our cortical) with our subconscious (or subcortical) processes that involve the entire body. Interpersonal neurobiology is creating exciting developments in our understanding of the human person, greatly influencing our approach to mental and relational health. Every community should have access to these “cutting edge” approaches.
To make sense of who you are and what you care about, you need connection to your context. Community psychology focuses on human beings at an ecological level, or personal and family relationship as well as larger socio-political structures. Traditional applied psychology tends to focus on individual thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Most of us recognize that we need larger systems to go about our day, whether it be public transportation, attending a church or school, or paying taxes. These are all examples of how institutions shape public life, and therefore the lives of individuals and families. Community psychology moves us from beyond intervention at the individual, couple or even family level and moves us to promotion of mental and relational health at a community level, building resources and prevention that allows an entire community to grow and thrive.
At the community level, we often discover dynamics of power and influence on the mental, relational and physical health of human beings. These dynamics are embedded into the larger socio-political, institutional and belief systems and structures we live in. Sometimes they are obvious and the focus of our efforts in change. Often, however, they lie outside of our awareness, leaving us suffering in oppression without understanding the source and behaving in predictable ways that hold these power structures in place. It is not uncommon in therapy or even in struggle to come into awareness of these oppressive dynamics and their affect on the community. We believe this critical consciousness is important at a community level to find a foundation and focal point to develop change and bring the entire community into health.