Dreams, Dilemmas and Dialogues Podcast

Dreams, Dilemmas & Dialogues podcast cover art

Welcome to Dreams, Dilemmas and Dialogues, a podcast produced by the Pacific Southwest MHTTC, that explores thought-provoking discussions between educators and school mental health providers on issues that impact our schools, classrooms, and communities. 


In this four-part podcast co-hosted by Oriana Ides and Candice Valenzuela, and with guests throughout, we cover a rich tapestry of themes, ranging from fostering a positive school culture that empowers both students and educators, to the importance of centering compassion and empathy in the classroom, and creating spaces where learning and personal growth intertwine.


Join us as we dive into the realm of staff development, uncovering strategies to help educators continuously enhance their skills and ignite their passion for teaching. We also look at cultural shifts in education, examining how societal changes shape our classrooms and influence the way we educate the next generation.


Whether you're a school mental health provider, educator, parent/caregiver, student, or anyone curious about the future of education, these episodes are here to inform, inspire, and ignite conversations to inform our practices and policies. Tune in for fresh insights, and thought-provoking conversations that allow us to question and contemplate. Welcome to Dreams, Dilemmas and Dialogues—where every episode is a journey into our own and collective hope and healing.


Listen to each episode below, or click the "View Resource" button above to subscribe on Spotify!



Episode 1 - What Informs Us and Our Work? Reflection and Action: An Introduction to Liberation Psychology

In this opening episode, hosts Candice Valenzuela and Oriana Ides explore their foundational values and formative experiences as healing centered practitioners in education.  Their conversations elevate some of the tenets and practices that have been most transformative in their individual and collective efforts to build school communities rooted in hope, healing and liberation. 



Episode 2 - Interrupting Grind Culture; Shifting Professional Development, Pedagogy and Practice to Center Staff and Student Wellness

Episode 2 features longtime classroom teacher Giulio Sorro, and co-hosts, Candice Valenzuela and Oriana Ides who steer the dialogue to how educators can uplift frameworks and orientations that support professional development where learning and personal growth intertwine. This episode illuminates the possibilities and practices for fostering a school culture that centers humanity, justice and empathy in the classroom. 



Episode 3 - No Missed Steps; Laying the Groundwork for Healing and Restoration in Schools

Episode 3 welcomes Stephanie Cariaga, professor of Teacher Education and Tatiana Chaterji, Restorative Justice (RJ) visionary, into an honest conversation that quickly moves beyond the implementation of programs and initiatives towards the possibilities of embodying the principles of RJ and building entire infrastructures rooted in its indigenous, culturally sustaining values. Together we witness, uplift and celebrate one another’s experiences of joy, righteous rage and safety as a pathway towards healing and visioning. 



Episode 4 - Honoring Praxis; The Intentional Practice of Reflection and Action

In this final episode, Candice Valenzuela and Oriana Ides reflect upon their decades in education and the ways in which they’ve consciously and unconsciously created culture in school sites and beyond. In the spirit of trailblazers and change-makers, this episode celebrates the abolitionists of traditional educational norms. Our podcast invites you to join the conversation on revolutionary approaches to teaching and learning, and to explore the transformative potential of anti-racist pedagogy.




Meet the Podcast Co-Hosts


Oriana IdesOriana Ides, MA, PPS, LPCCI (she/hers) is the School Mental Health Training Specialist at CARS, who approaches healing the wounds of trauma and oppression as core elements of social justice.  She has worked with young people across the life course from elementary school to college, and has served as teacher-leader, school counselor, classroom educator and program director.  She is committed to generating equity within school structures and policies by focusing on evidence-based mental health techniques and institutional design.



Candice ValenzuelaCandice Valenzuela MA, MFTI, YT-200 (they/them) is a proud Afro-Latinx native of Watts, California. They have worked at the crossroads of education and healing for 17 years.

Candice earned a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities and a minor in Philosophy at Loyola Marymount University, earned a secondary teaching credential from Alliant University, and a Master of Arts in East-West Psychology at the California Institute for Integral Studies. Candice is certified as a trauma-informed yoga and mindfulness instructor through the Niroga Institute and has training in mesoamerican indigenous healing practices through Ancestral Apothecary in Oakland, California. Candice is currently training as a Marriage and Family Therapist in Denver, Colorado. 

Candice believes that ancestral, community and ecological healing are the most urgent issues of our time. They coach administrators, train teachers and lead professional development at schools throughout the nation in addition to providing gender affirming therapy as an Intern Therapist at Queer Asterisk in Denver, Colorado . When they are not working or studying, Candice enjoys sharing their enthusiasm for nature with their 6 year old child.



Meet the Guests


Giulio SorroGiulio Sorro is a father of three as well as a son, brother, uncle, teacher and learner. He is forever in search of balance between the stars above and the concrete streets he walks. The Bronx, Enssogologo, Africa, San Francisco and June Jordan School for Equity serve as his official classes and continue to provide rich opportunities for learning and growth.  Even as a classroom teacher, he believes we must find our way out of these four walls and turn liberation theology into practice.  His bougie tendencies are loose leaf tea.



Stephanie CariagaStephanie Cariaga has served the wider Los Angeles community for sixteen years as a high school and middle school literacy teacher, founding member of the People’s Education Movement and co-organizer of the People’s Education Conference, and now an assistant professor in teacher education at California State University, Dominguez Hills. Rooted in radical feminist ways of knowing that center the body, wholeness, and justice, her teaching and research examines the intersections between trauma/healing-informed pedagogies, critical literacy, and critical teacher sustainability.




Tatiana ChaterjeeTatiana Chaterjee is an educator, trainer, and restorative justice practitioner working at the borders of criminalization, intergenerational trauma, structural violence and youth empowerment. With over a decade of experience in schools, prisons, re-entry, juvenile justice, and community settings, I bring deep commitment to peacebuilding, violence prevention, and healing.

​Using personal narrative and embodied practice, I deepen conversations across difference and cultivate humanizing relationships. I integrate tools from multiple traditions to recover human connection between people at multiple ends of historical injustice.

I seek opportunities for dialogue and accountability regarding systemic oppression and the way it manifests in interpersonal relationships. I mobilize my survivorship from violence for radical love, with an eye toward (dis)ability, disrupting power & hierarchy, and stopping harm.



August 29, 2023
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