Social Justice & Inclusion Track | Mental Health Institute for Washington State Providers

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We know there are disparities and inequities in access to culturally and structurally responsive mental health care for individuals from minoritized communities or identities. The Social Justice and Inclusion track of the Mental Health Institute will co-create a space to generate and learn ideas and practices that can support you in challenging this status quo and move toward more collaborative, relationally oriented, and just therapeutic relationships.


  • Increase knowledge of how context, power relations, and structural factors contribute to the development of mental health concerns, community disruption, and distress.
  • Develop the ability to formulate collaborative interventions that contribute to resilience and agency, build on individual and community strengths, and support a movement away from pathologizing narratives about the people who consult us.
  • Provide culturally responsive interventions and ideas providers can adapt to fit the needs of the people who consult them, therefore improving care for historically underserved communities


Fall 2022 Sessions

All times Pacific

Thursday, October 20

Queering Psychotherapy: Narrative Therapy Values in Action


Charley Lang, MA, LMFT

Register & learn more

Thursday, October 27

Liberatory Ideas and Embodied Practices


Mariaimeé Gonzalez, PhD; Cleopatra Bertelsen, LMHC, LMP, RYT-200

Register & learn more

Thursday, November 3 & Thursday, November 10

Power Threat Meaning Framework

9am-1pm each day

Jan Bostock, BA, MPhil, MSc; Ray Middleton, PhD

Register & learn more

Monday, November 14 & Wednesday, November 16

Cultural Formulation: Relevance of the Cultural Axis in Our Therapeutic Work

9am-1pm each day

Jaswant Guzder, MD, FRCP

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Friday, November 18

The Role of the Mental Health Practitioner in Decolonial Practices


marcela polanco, PhD

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Monday, November 28 & Thursday, December 1

Co-researching Anti-oppressive Practices

9am-1pm each day

Poh Lin Lee, Master of Narrative Therapy and Community Work; Akansha Vaswani-Bye, PhD

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Wednesday, December 7

Harm Reduction and Social Justice


Seema L. Clifasefi, PhD, MSW; Susan E. Collins, PhD; Michele Andrasik, PhD, EdM

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Wednesday, December 14 & Thursday, December 15

Walk the Talk: Foundations of Cultural Humility in Action

9am-3pm each day

Won-Fong Lau Johnson, PhD, NCSP; Kimani Norrington-Sands, PhD 

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Track Lead

Akansha Vaswani-Bye, PhD

Dr. Vaswani-Bye

Akansha Vaswani Bye, PhD, is an Acting Assistant Professor in the SPIRIT Lab (stands for Supporting Psychosis Innovation through Research, Implementation and Training) at the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine. She grew up in Mumbai and her first learnings as a professional came from individuals and families navigating developmental disabilities. Early in her career, she was introduced to the principles of family-centered care, early intervention, and community-based advocacy. Her interest in narrative practices and systemic change has been at the forefront as she moved into spaces as a researcher, clinician, consultant, and trainer. Her doctoral work focused on drivers of institutional corruption in psychiatry and solutions for reform, particularly the practice of deprescribing and rational prescribing grounded in informed consent. Her current research and implementation work is focused on supporting communities impacted by psychosis, building the family peer workforce, and developing and disseminating culturally responsive principles and practices. She is particularly interested in non-pathologizing interventions and interventions that account for the impact of structural and social determinants of health. Currently, her clinical work is located at the Madison Clinic, a primary care clinic for people living with HIV/AIDS.



Michele Andrasik, PhD, EdM

Michele AndrasikMichele Andrasik works to address psychosocial and structural factors associated with HIV risk and STI disparities among marginalized communities in the US. Her efforts have focused on developing collaborative and reciprocal relationships between researchers, community members and organizations to address existing health disparities. In her work with the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) she works to improve behavioral risk assessment, enrollment, recruitment and retention in preventive HIV vaccine trials. Dr. Andrasik also works to address the impact of stigma on disparities across the HIV care continuum. Dr. Andrasik has a doctoral degree in Clinical Health Psychology from the University of Miami and is an expert in Community-Based Participatory Research approaches and Qualitative methods. Prior to returning to graduate school, she worked as Director of AIDS services for a community-based organization with locations in the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan. Currently, she is the lead Behavioral Scientist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s (FHCRC) HVTN, Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington (UW), and Core Faculty in the FHCRC/UW Center for AIDS Research Sociobehavioral Prevention Research Core.

Cleopatra Bertelsen, LMHC, LMP, RYT-200

Cleo Bertelsen

Cleopatra Bertelsen, PhD candidate, LMHC, LMP, RYT-200 graduated with a MA in Drama Therapy and Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Antioch University, and a BFA in Theatre and Original Works from Cornish College of the Arts. Cleopatra’s work in private practice with adult clients is influenced by her background in theatre, art, and holistic wellness practices, as a registered yoga teacher, counselor, counselor educator, and artist. She utilizes creative arts modalities, mindfulness, and depth psychology through the lens of empowerment, social Justice, and liberation.  Currently, Cleopatra is completing her dissertation on Multiracial Counselors experiences with race while in counseling programs, and working towards her Ph.D. in Counseling Education and Supervision (CES) with a Creative Arts Cognate from Antioch University. She is the recipient of the CES Social Justice and Multicultural doctoral fellowship. Cleopatra graduated from the NWCEAI professional training in June 2022. Cleopatra is an avid learner, knitter, cook, and creative. In her free time, she spends time in nature and exploring new ways for creative expression.


Jan Bostock, BA, MPhil, MSc

Jan Bostock

Jan Bostock is a Chartered Consultant Clinical Psychologist who works in the National Health Service in the UK. Since qualifying over 30 years ago she has worked therapeutically with adults in primary and secondary care settings and also worked in Community Psychology and Public Health roles which involved participative research and training. Since 2000, she has managed and developed Psychological Services in the North East of England and recently retired as an Associate Director of Community Services in Newcastle and Gateshead. She is committed to co-producing mental health services with people who use services, to promoting staff wellbeing, and effective, collective and compassionate leadership in health. She currently works for the North East and North Cumbria Staff Wellbeing Hub that has been established for Health and Social Care staff since 2020, and also mentors mental health practitioners in voluntary organizations and in GP practices in London. She co-chairs the committee for the Power Threat Meaning Framework that is part of the British Psychological Society and is an active member of the BPS Community Psychology Section. She is committed to understanding and sharing how social and economic situations affect the wellbeing of individuals and communities, and how psychology can be part of social change.

Seema L. Clifasefi, PhD, MSW

Seema ClifasefiSeema L. Clifasefi, PhD, is an associate professor and codirector of the Harm Reduction Research and Treatment (HaRRT) Center at the University of Washington-Harborview Medical Center. Her research lies at the intersection of substance use, mental health, criminal justice and housing policy. Since 2006, she has been part of several collaborative academic/community-based research partnerships evaluating the effects of individual and community-level harm reduction programs and interventions designed for people with lived experience of homelessness and substance use problems, including Housing First.



Susan E. Collins, PhD

Susan CollinsSusan Collins, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and faculty at Washington State University and the University of Washington School of Medicine. At Harborview Medical Center, she codirects the Harm Reduction Research and Treatment (HaRRT) Center with her colleague, Dr. Seema Clifasefi. Dr. Collins has been involved in substance use research, assessment and treatment for over 25 years and has disseminated this work in over 7 dozen book chapters, abstracts and peer-reviewed articles. In 2013, Dr. Collins received the G. Alan Marlatt Memorial Research Award for her contributions to alcohol research. In 2015, she was invited to speak on her work at the White House and was honored with the New Investigator Award for her Harm Reduction Treatment development in the University of Washington Science-in-Medicine Lecture Series. She also brings her own lived experience as a person in recovery from addictive behaviors and as a woman embedded in families with the intergenerational experience of substance use disorder and harm. Currently, she works with multidisciplinary research and clinical teams, community-based agencies, and people who use substances to codevelop a toolbox of evidence-based treatments that empower individuals to reduce their substance-related harm and improve their quality of life – even if they are not ready, willing or able to stop using.


Mariaimeé Gonzalez, PhD

Dr. Mariaimee Gonzalez

Dr. Mariaimeé "Maria" Gonzalez, she/her/ella, is Professor of Counselor Education and Chair of the Master in Arts in Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) Program at Antioch University Seattle. She is the co-founder of the Antioch University Latinx Mental Health and Social Justice Institute. Dr. Gonzalez earned her PhD and Master’s degree from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She is an approved supervisor in the state of Washington and a Licensed Professional Counselor in Missouri. Currently, Dr. Gonzalez serves as the president of the American Counseling Association (ACA) of Washington, President Elect for the Western Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, board member for the Western Association for Counselor Education and Supervision Journal of Technology in Counselor Education and Supervision (JTCES), and member of the ACA Foundation. She co-edited, Experiential Activities for Teaching Social Justice and Advocacy Competence in Counseling, and currently working on research rooted in mental liberation and anti-oppression. She just finished serving as the ACA parliamentarian for 2021-22. The National Board of Certified Counselor’s feature Dr. Gonzalez in The Professional Counselor Journal Lifetime Achievement in Counseling series. She has been involved with global mental health for about 15 years and served as a United Nations delegate to advocate for global mental health, especially during the COVID pandemic.

Jaswant Guzder, MD, FRCP

Jaswant GuzderJaswant Guzder, MD, FRCP, is a McGill University Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, active in both Division of Child Psychiatry and Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, currently visiting professor (UBC), working in Victoria BC consultant to Center for Refugee and Immigrant Mental Health and Indigenous Child and Youth Health. She was former Head of Jewish General Hospital Child Psychiatry, Director of Childhood Disorders Hospital, first Director of Fellowship Program in Family Therapy Residency Training, founding Co-Director of the Jewish General Cultural Consultation Service. She has had active role in teaching and training at McGill and as an Associate of McGill School of Social Work. Her research work is mainly focused on children at risk and cultural psychiatry. She is active in the global health initiatives and training, the Dream a World cultural therapy project for high risk children since 2005 with University of West Indies. Her teaching and training work include ongoing work in India, Nepal, Turkey, India, Italy and Jamaica, collaborating with local and McGill partners. Her research and clinical initiatives in global child mental health include numerous articles and book chapters as well as the co-edited volume, Cultural Consultation: Encounter the Other in Mental Health Care. Her book in collaboration with the Museo Laboratorio della Mente was related to her art residency in Rome 2017. As an artist, clinician and advocate in mental health work she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Jubilee Medal.


Won-Fong Lau Johnson, PhD, NCSP

Won-Fong Lau Johnson, PhD, NCSPWon-Fong Lau Johnson, PhD, NCSP, is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and a Nationally Certified School Psychologist. She is currently the Assistant Director of Service Systems at the UCLA-Duke National Center for Child Traumatic Stress. Dr. Lau Johnson has clinical experience working in schools, community mental health, and hospital settings. As someone who identifies as a woman of color with a disability, she is passionate about creating more inclusivity and working with historically underrepresented populations. She has dedicated her career to advocate for change in policies and conducting research on culturally responsive treatments for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, and has developed a specialty in trauma-informed practice. She is a certified national trainer for CBITS (Cognitive Behavioral Interventions for Trauma in Schools), as well as the developer of the Racial Trauma Module (RTM) that is now integrated into CBITS. She is also a co-developer of TRANSFORM (Trauma and Racism Addressed by Navigating Systemic Forms of Oppression using Resilience Methods).

Charley Lang, MA, LMFT

Charley Lang

Charley Lang, LMFT, is co-founder of Narrative Counseling Center in Los Angeles. As director of the Psychology Concentration at Antioch University, his many courses include Queer Counseling & Narrative Practice, Madness in American History & Film and Shakespeare Deconstructed: Gender & Power Play. His 20+ years spent in the acting and directing professions continue to inform the creativity he brings to the field of psychotherapy. Always on the lookout for compelling new narratives, Lang produced and directed several acclaimed documentary films, including the HBO award-winning: Gay Cops: Pride Behind the Badge.




Poh Lin Lee, Master of Narrative Therapy and Community Work

Poh Lin LeePoh is a Chinese Malaysian Australian woman who comes to the practice through multiple experiences and relationships as a narrative therapy practitioner, social worker, co-researcher of trauma/displacement, writer, teacher, film protagonist and creative consultant. Since 2004 Poh has been engaged in therapeutic co-research with people and communities responding to themes of experience such as family and state violence, displacement (from rights, land, home, body, identity, relationships), liminality and reclaiming practices of staying with experience and preference. Creative and therapeutic fields intersected for Poh whilst working with people seeking asylum within a film project with director Gabrielle Brady, Island of the Hungry Ghosts (2018). Poh is currently on the teaching faculty of Dulwich Centre; the teaching faculty & Board of Re-authoring Teaching; honorary clinical fellow of the School of Social Work, University of Melbourne and a member of the International Advisory Committee of the Latin American Journal of Clinical Social Work. Poh is a sessional facilitator for KHM Academy of Media Arts Cologne, Germany; Dokomotive Collective Cologne, Germany; VCA Film and Television, Australia; Attagirl for female and non-binary filmmakers; DocX Archive Lab Duke University, North Carolina and The Flaherty, New York, USA.

Ray Middleton, PhD

Ray MiddletonRay Middleton, PhD, has over 30 years' experience of training and workforce development in mental health focusing on reaching people experiencing multiple disadvantages including combinations of; complex trauma, mental health, substance misuse and housing needs. Ray’s training offer focuses on; Trauma-Informed Practice (TIP), Psychologically Informed Environments (PIE), The Power Threat Meaning Framework, Pre-treatment and "How to facilitate Group Reflective Practice." He has written a chapter for a book comparing the USA and the UK around innovative approaches: Cross-Cultural Dialogues on Homelessness: From Pretreatment Strategies to Psychologically Informed Environments. Dr. Middleton has extensive experience delivering services to people on the frontline - including managing community “Personality Disorder” services and being a Care-Coordinator in an Early Intervention in Psychosis service in the UK - where he chaired an "Open Dialogue" innovative working group. He draws on personal lived experience of surviving complex childhood trauma grounding his values and his motivation to persevere in this area of workforce development.


Kimani Norrington-Sands, PhD

Kimani Norrington-Sands, PhDDr. Kimani Norrington-Sands, also known as Dr. Kimani, is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in California. As a Spelman College Alumna, Dr. Kimani focuses on supporting individual and collective healing so that clients can live a fulfilled life. Dr. Kimani draws upon her own healing journey as well as professional work to provide a range of services and products including The Manifesting Healing Job Coaching Program for Black Women who are interested in developing a plan to leave toxic jobs and  Butterfly Landing, her book that focuses on the healing journey of a Black girl who has experienced sexual abuse. Her website is and she can be found on social media: @liftingasweclimbconsulting on Instagram; Lifting As We Climb Consulting Wellness Services on YouTube; Kimani Norrington-Sands, Ph.D. on LinkedIn; and @as_climb on Twitter.

marcela polanco, PhD

marcela polanco pictureI was born in unceded and exploited territories of the Muisca indigenous communities. These territories became part of the Nation-State of what we now call Colombia. From the colonial system of social categorization of humanity and identities in modernity, my body is racially marked as a brown cis woman, middle class, heterosexual, able bodied, with no religious affiliations yet educated in the Colombian discriminatory, private, and Catholic schooling system. My ancestry is Southern European by colonization; as well as Muisca, Pijao, and Black (although, I know very little or nothing at all of my non-European ancestry due to the historical genocide since colonial times). I speak two imperial languages, Español Colombiano or Colombian Spanish; and 20 years-old U.S. Immigrant English. During my immigration experience here in the U.S. I came to learn to speak borderland Spanglish/Ingleñol. I live an advantageous urban life—financially unaffected by the pandemic– I live in unceded territories of the Kumeyaay peoples in San Diego, California. I actively participate in, hence sustain Eurocentric capitalist systems. My earnings come from institutional systems of power that are dedicated to the legitimation of the production of knowledge in standard English, through patriarchal science, and racialized professional education. I am part of a profession that abides singularly to Western systems of power that perpetuate relationality within the ideas of marriage, family, and therapy. I hold the MFT license in three states: California, Texas, and Florida. I am part of the faculty team of San Diego State University’s master’s program and Spanglish certificate in the same profession. I profit financially from my scholarly agenda on decoloniality and social justice that seeks to critique the very same racists and capitalist systems that my livelihood depends on. My name is marcela polanco. [lowercase is intentional.]

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