Licensed clinical social workers Victoria Aron and Mikki Guerra have joined forces to create Hungry Souls Collectivea woman-, LGBTQIA- and minority-owned business that specializes in trauma, addiction and spirituality.
According to the infographic provided to Windy City Times, the collective "is a multifaceted wellness organization that provides behavioral health and body-based alternative healing practices with skilled contract clinicians and practitioners to individuals 15 and over of all races, sexual orientations, gender identities and socioeconomic statuses."
Their focus will be on the three C's: client, contractor and the community. Guerra said she believes they will "leave this world a better place than when we entered it. As behavioral health clinicians, the client is always the sole focus however we realized that we needed to take this a step further to make a larger impact. All clients are a part of their individual and local communities and we know that when they heal and grow, so do their communities. And, our contractors are an integral part of the practice as they are the ones assisting in healing and growth with the client.
Guerra added that "the pandemic has highlighted how important clinicians and alternative healing practitioners are for these unprecedented times. In order for the contractors to keep doing amazing work, they have to be treated and compensated in a way that is sustainable and enables them to live the life that feels right for them. Each contractor is respected for their individuality and all of the healing gifts they bring into their work."
Aron (a straight white woman) and Guerra (a queer Latinx woman) met in a previous employment situation and discovered that they were both driven by the wellbeing of other clinicians. Both have also been supervisors. Additionally, they have guided other colleagues into their own private practices and launched their own practices; Aron's Radical Recovery LLC and Guerra's Hungry Souls Therapy LLC.
"I am also a substance use counselor and am obtaining my licensure in sex addiction therapy," said Aron. "I am extremely passionate about what I do and that is why I am launching this collective with Mikki. I am sober myself, for almost 10 years, and believe it is my duty on this Earth to help others recoveras a professional and as a person. At Radical Recovery, I provide intervention services, sober transportation services, sober coaching and concierge crisis management. It is my dream come true."
"Hungry Souls Therapy LLC has been my private practice for five years," said Guerra. "I became really exhausted working for others and realized I could build a thriving practice on my own. I have been working with clients who struggled with substance addictions, compulsive behaviors and trauma. It has been a wonderful and intense experience to learn how to be an entrepreneur and work as a full-time clinician. Recently I have niched into working with people who identify as women, have a history of trauma, disconnection spiritually and/or have had a spiritually transformative experience."
Guerra also won this year's LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois (LGBTCC) Biz Bootcamp Award for her Hungry Souls Collective venture with Aron. She said it was a "shock because the competition was fierce, but also incredibly rewarding."
There were 13 Biz Bootcamp participants chosen for an eight week program. The LGBTCC provided networking opportunities, mentors and critical communication skills to each participant and gave them weekly homework so they could submit their completed business plan and pitch deck at the competition. Of the 13 original participants, six presented to the judges and they chose Guerra as the winner.
"To have local businesses and entrepreneurs support the growth of Hungry Souls Collective is thrilling and a motivator to keep going as we have so much work to do to keep great healers healing, clients thriving, and our communities growing," said Guerra.
In April 2022, Aron and Guerra will be dissolving their individual practices so they can completely focus on Hungry Souls Collective.
As for their plans for the future, Aron said "we want to affect change throughout the mental health realm as well as an alternative healing practice environment. We would love to encourage other entrepreneurs, clinicians who are struggling and people who want to see change utilize our methodology and open their own collective. We want every person who enters our building to feel safe, heard and excited about their lives. We want to make sure this is the norm, not some outlier. We look forward to growing with this amazing city."
Their website is in the works. For more information, contact Guerra at email@example.com .