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Meet Katrina Long of Manifesting M.E. Wellness in Inglewood and South LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Katrina Long.

Katrina, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My passion for mental health began in childhood watching family members and other members of the South LA and Inglewood communities struggle with trauma and its numerous effects. I knew I wanted to help people in the hood become well and thrive, so I embarked on a journey to become a therapist immediately after high school. While providing therapy in communities of color, I began to see that talk therapy was simply not effective enough to treat the complex trauma we often face. I grew tired of watching so many people falling through the cracks and struggling with the side effects of medication.

Parallel to my professional journey, I was working through my own struggles with a hormone imbalance which caused a number of physical and mental health symptoms. After 10 years of frustration with doctors, multiple diagnoses and the exhausting side effects of the medication I started searching for holistic methods of healing.

It was my own healing journey that led me to the world of holistic mental health. As I expanded my journey to include herbs, energy healing, nutrition, yoga, therapy, and art I also started to expand my professional training to include similar holistic healing methods. Today, I am happy to be known as an International Holistic Healing Arts Therapist because my work includes the use of my Master’s degree in clinical social work, and training in expressive art therapy, essential oils, Ayurveda, Vini-yoga, Reiki, Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and trauma-informed yoga. This work has led me to do healing work in Haiti and Thailand as well as creating my own holistic mental health organization in Los Angeles.

Has it been a smooth road?
The thought of this journey being smooth makes me laugh. I actually titled my blog, Manifesting Me: Self-Actualization as a Journey Not a Destination, because I am learning to embrace and love every part of the journey. I believe that our challenges are often the fuel we need to grow and live our full potential, but believe me, they have not always been fun.

I would say the only smooth part of the journey has been the support I continue to receive from my friends, family and the community. I have even gained mentors and supporters I would have never thought to ask for. It is a true testament to the notion that when we begin to live in our purpose things begin to fall into alignment.

Full-time entrepreneurship is the most challenging job I have ever had. Every new project, interview, or event is a journey that comes with many lessons and disappointments. Without my support system, I’m not sure how I would manage.

Oh yeah, and by the way, I still have a chronic condition. My hormone imbalance is under control however when our bodies develop a condition they create a habit of dealing with stress in unhealthy ways so we are always susceptible to relapse. My hormones are thrown off by too much stress, not enough sleep, and poor eating habits, which are frequent in the life of an entrepreneur. I cannot begin to tell you how rough some weeks have been because I did not pay enough attention to my body. The biggest struggle has been learning to create a balance between managing my mental health, physical health, and business. My body never stops changing and hopefully neither will my business.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Manifesting M.E. Wellness story. Tell us more about the business.
Manifesting M.E. Wellness is an organization I founded to provide healing through culturally competent, trauma-informed holistic Mental and Emotional health services. We are passionate about breaking the stigma of Mental and Emotional health in marginalized communities and creating holistic services that are accessible to all.

Manifesting Mental and Emotional wellness is about preventing and treating illness by creating a lifestyle that integrates and enhances mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects of the individual and community. We do this through health and wellness workshops, healing circles, art therapy, yoga therapy, reiki, health coaching, and hormone wellness coaching. Although we are a mental health organization we use a mind, body, soul approach to treatment and prevention. Manifesting M.E. Wellness also provides support to other holistic mental health practitioners of the African diaspora across the United States through an online forum and future conferences beginning in 2020.

Manifesting M.E. Wellness began with Manifesting Sisterhood, a healing circle for feminine-of-center people of color in the Los Angeles area. This circle is a space I felt called to create after feeling uncomfortable in many women’s circles in LA due to the lack of diversity. Manifesting Sisterhood has grown into a beautiful space of healing and support with monthly gatherings, an annual brunch, and two vision board creation events every year. It brings me great joy to watch the beautiful people in our circle grow and support one another every month. It was the folx in that circle who inspired me to expand my vision and bring Manifesting M.E. Wellness to life.

Our hormone wellness coaching programs are one of the services that set us apart. Given my own history with hormone imbalances and mental health, I felt it important to create programs dedicated to providing awareness, education, and treatment for mental health symptoms related to hormonal imbalances. Part of my mission with these programs is to make the conversation about hormone imbalances and menstrual disorders inclusive of people of color and the queer community. We will soon be announcing support groups and group coaching programs for 2019.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I think we are in a transitional phase in the health and wellness industry as a whole. It seems like preventative care and holistic healing methods are on the rise. My hope is that this trend will continue in the next five-ten years.

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