Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Licensed Master of Social Work, Gottman Method Couples Therapy Level 1 , 2 & 3 Trained, Advanced Perinatal Mental Health Psychotherapy Training, Components of Care Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders Certificated (Postpartum Support International), Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work Leader, Bringing Baby Home Educator & Adjunct Professor
Kimberly M. Lee-Okonya, LCSW, LMSW is a passionate psychotherapist who specializes in healing the mind by using several evidenced based practices. Kim has over 12 years of experience in the field of Psychology. Kim received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology with a minor in Child and Family Development from Georgia Southern University and graduated with her Masters in Clinical Social Work from the University of Georgia, graduating in the top of her class at both universities. She is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa). She is affiliated with several professional organizations including the International Association of Trauma Professionals, Postpartum Support International, National Association of Social Workers, Psi Chi Psychology National Honor Society, Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, Delta Epsilon Iota Academic Honor society and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
She has a wide range of valuable experience having worked in psychiatric hospitals, medical hospitals, university counseling centers, state agencies, private practice, and infectious disease clinics as well as in primary care settings. Kim primarily works with individuals, couples and groups. Her specialties include working with pregnant women, mothers, couples, anxiety, depression, stress management, relationship issues, identity and minority issues. Kim possesses a multitude of experience working specifically with mothers, couples, pregnant women and the LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS communities.
Kim has a strong unwavering passion for all mothers, but especially African American mothers. African American women are 12 times more likely to die during childbirth or from pregnancy related causes. This is one of the top health disparities affecting our nation and Kim is on the frontlines to help bring awareness any way she can. Kim has dedicated her doctoral education to addressing this disparity in hopes of joining and educating providers, clients, women, communities and everyone in between on ways to address and eliminate this issue. She founded the organization The Melanated Mommy Tribe which is a safe space for African American mothers to discuss the mental impact of motherhood and to receive resources and support. She was awarded the Contribution to Scholarship Award by the School of Social Work at the University of Alabama’s (Tuscaloosa) Honors Day 2020 for her scholarly work in the Doctorate of Social Work program relating to this topic. Kim’s work “Addressing racial disparities among birth outcomes in African American women” was also selected to be presented at the 2020 National Association of Social Workers National Conference. Kim has been trained as a birth doula through DONA international and has several certifications from Postpartum Support International which has helped to strengthen her skills, abilities and experience in helping mothers and their families. Women have birthed nations and have literally populated this earth since the beginning of time and Kim knows firsthand the importance of taking care of the mother mentally, physically and emotionally as the mother needs to be holistically well in order to adequately care for her baby.
Kim has been an ally of the LGBTQ community for decades. She has personal reasons that connects her to this community and she cherishes the relationship that she has developed with the community over the years. She understands some of the struggles this community in particular have faced and continue to face and she stands with the community to face these issues. Ultimately she believes people should be allowed to love who they love…Love wins!
She has worked with the HIV/AIDS community for just over a decade. She is an advocate of this community and jumps at the chance to educate others about HIV/AIDS. She has attended conferences all over the country and even with the White House during President Obama’s term to advocate on behalf of the HIV/AIDS community. She assists clients who have been diagnosed since the onset of the virus/ disease, those who are newly diagnosed and those in between to cope with their new diagnosis and assist them with processing, acceptance, disclosure, compliance and simply embracing all parts of who they are.
Kim is trained in Motivational Interviewing, Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Advanced Perinatal Mental Health Psychotherapy, Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders, The Gottman’s Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work, Bringing Baby Home (these workshops will be offered several times a year; for more information visit our services page) and Gottman Couples levels 1, 2 and 3 trained. She utilizes multiple frameworks and modalities in her practice as she understands there is no one size fits all therefore she tailors the methods used to each individual client. However, Solution Focused, Psychodynamic and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy are three of her favorite frameworks to use in therapy. Kim does therapy from a traditional approach however uses life coaching approaches and techniques. Kim uses mindfulness, music, meditation and other relaxation techniques as a part of the therapeutic process. Kim provides feedback, homework (most times to do in between sessions) and tools for clients to use to live an authentic, peaceful, colorful and warm life far beyond the therapeutic process.
Kim knows everyone has a story full of roadblocks, speed bumps, detours, potholes and stop signs. However the beauty of our stories does not lie in the trauma but in how we overcome those traumatic experiences. Kim believes we all deserve peace (mentally especially). And in order to reach the destination of peace and healing we must travel on a journey throughout our life’s events that may have contributed to our current state. After all the saying goes “You don’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been and how you got there.” Through traveling along this journey it is Kim’s hope you will gain closure, peace and understanding which will lead you to live an authentic and peaceful life. Kim wants this for all of her clients and wants to work with them to achieve this.
Kim believes in helping her clients see their lives in a new perspective, somewhat like looking through a kaleidoscope (remember playing with those paper towel shaped things as a kid?!); same pieces but by shifting it some it gives a whole new picture. And assisting them in utilizing their full potential despite what the former years of life may have looked like. This belief also explains why our logo is a butterfly emerging from a cocoon. As like a caterpillar who lives a rudimentary life and then goes through a transformative period turning them into a creature admired by many for their beauty, grace and gentle nature. Just like the caterpillar, if you are willing to do the work to transform your life your future will be brighter than you could ever imagine.
If you are ready to start on your journey of gaining peace, no matter what that looks like or means for you, send us a message or call TODAY to schedule your appointment! The real living begins here…Life Begins Here.
Who Is Kim LO?
Hello my beautiful souls! Thank you for visiting my page and specifically this page to learn more about me and who I am as an individual. Well a little background is I was born and raised in the great city of Atlanta, GA (Whhhaattt a native…YES! LOL! 🙂 ). I went to school (K-12) within the Fulton County School System and loved track, basketball, music and dance. In the community I serve as a mentor in a Rites of Passage program with youth aged 13-18. I am also an adjunct professor at the University of Alabama in the Bachelors of Social Work program. I love everything musical, positive, unique, colorful and artsy. I am an ally to the LGBTQ community and want all my clients to feel safe, welcomed and understood. I also have a passion for black maternal mental health and have become determined to address the crisis that is currently happening in the United States. As a part of this mission I created The Melanated Mommy Tribe. I believe in embracing differences and love, love, LOVE seeing people being true to who they are regardless of who agrees with it or not. People will disagree even if you’re perfect, so why not just do what you want to do? After all, we have to live in the moments we are given and make the most of them. Life is too precious not to live it fully and authentically…or at least this is my personal belief and outlook on life.
What made me choose this career path?
I have always loved to help people by assisting them in solving their issues and in embracing their true self. I remember being a little kid riding with my parent(s) through downtown Atlanta seeing all of the homeless people. I would ask my parent(s), “Why is he homeless? Where is her family?” I would often ask if they would let me out to speak with them…of course, like I imagine most parents would, they told their 8 year old daughter talking to strangers was not allowed. I had my own views about that as well; at that time I did not understand why I could not talk to “strangers”. I truly felt and currently feel like I almost never meet a stranger. I just sincerely enjoy talking to people about their story and life in general. Besides I know everyone just needs someone unbiased and non-judgmental to talk to.
Even in my school aged days, seeing my classmates being picked on or judged because they were different use to infuriate me. Not always fully being aware of the risk, I would stand up for them and often times we would quickly grow to become friends. I made some of my best friends that way many of which I still am friends with today. However some of the people who I would stand up against would suddenly change their opinion of me for the negative. I’ll admit it use to bother me as a teen not to be accepted by my peers (and even as an adult not being accepted can be extremely hard) but over time and with personal growth, I honestly started to care less; I mean who did they think they were to judge people because they did not act or share the same beliefs as they did?! Furthermore, throughout my life I have consistently felt a need to stand up for those who may not otherwise have a voice or an advocate. Now with years of training and experience I teach those individuals to be able to do that very thing for themselves. So it’s safe to say that passion to help people, wanting to understand and to assist them with telling their story and living their best life never left me. My goal is to help others learn how to LIVE with no strings attached and to be free! Free from caring about other people’s thoughts regarding how you live your life, free from wearing a mask in society or around family and friends…free to be your authentic self!
From a young age I understood we as humans are all truly books full of stories. As I grew older I came to understand what it truly meant when people said “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover.” I believe we all have a story riddled with trials and tribulations as well as triumphs and successes. Life can serve some harsh blows and knock the hell out of us at times. However the importance is not in how we fell down but mostly in how we recover. I have seen some astounding butterfly stories (refer to The Story behind Life Begins Here link for more information about the life of a butterfly) in my day and they have all left me feeling so inspired. I have dedicated my life to assisting people through life’s journey and in writing their own butterfly story. I love witnessing my clients have their ah ha moments and seeing the transformation of their way of thinking begin. If you can transform your mind some amazing unimaginable things are bound to happen for you. We all deserve to live our best life…whatever that looks like for each of us. If you are ready to do the work and start transforming your life I am here to walk alongside of you and to give you the tools you need on your journey. You do not have to go through it alone. You got this!