Mental health is a serious problem in this country with too many people without access to the care they need. We all know this, but Kristin Belkofer, MS, LPC has dedicated her livelihood to improving it.
Recently, Belkofer opened the CLARA Healing Institute in Wauwatosa. CLARA – which is an acronym for “Connection," “Leadership," “Attunement," “Regulation” and "Agency" – offers a holistic, multi-faceted approach to mental health with the goal of revolutionizing how we see, treat, speak and think about mental health and wellness.
“CLARA Healing Institute has a unique, person-centered model that allows for holistic care that addresses every facet of mental wellness,” says Belkofer.
Belkofer is the founder and clinical director and her husband, Dr. Christopher Belkofer, PhD, LPC, ATR-BC, serves as therapist and consultant.
"We are currently onboarding a clinical staff of multiple amazing therapists, with specialties in EMDR, breathwork, art and expressive therapies, yoga, reiki and somatic therapies among more traditional therapeutic modalities," says Belkofer.
According to Belkofer, the United States mental health system is very focused on treating and eliminating symptoms instead of treating people holistically and proactively.
‘This is a huge problem because often root causes aren't taken into account, especially societal influences like racism and sexism, and how they lead to trauma and illness," says Belkofer. ""CLARA is actively anti-racist. We strive for deep understanding and respect for intersectionality in all levels of our clinical and community work.”
And secondly, Belkofer believes people are more than their symptoms.
"We aim to treat the whole person, including their mind, body, and soul," she says.
CLARA’s services are numerous, and all fall under three categories “Clinical Services,” “Community Circle” and “Wisdom Collective.”
Clinical Services provide individual, family and couples counseling and psychotherapy.
"Much of what we do is help clients to build a healthy tolerance to their own emotions and physiological reactions. We do this in small, gentle, compassionate baby steps: through narratives, art, meditation, visualization or simply expressing and talking in a nonjudgmental environment," says Belkofer.
Community Circle offers different group therapies, and The Wisdom Collective unites community healers and visionaries like Venice Williams, a cultural and spiritual midwife who is offering spiritual advising services and herbal consulting, and Dr. Jessica Larson who'll provide parenting support and programs for anyone identifying as a mother.
“One of the reasons I wanted to start CLARA is because therapy can be very lonely and isolating work, and becoming burned out is always a risk,” says Belkofer.
CLARA also has an inclusive, community space with access to a therapeutic and healing library curated by expert therapists, community leaders, spiritual guides and medical professionals from a wide range of disciplines.
“I believe that we do important, meaningful work that is desperately needed right now, and we want to meet that need. I wanted to create a culture where therapists and helping professionals gather, support each other, ask for help, find respite and never stop learning from one another,” says Belkofer. "And where people can truly learn how to be their best selves."
Molly Snyder grew up on Milwaukee's East Side and today, she lives in the Walker's Point neighborhood with her partner and two sons.
As a full time senior writer, editorial manager and self-described experience junkie, Molly has written thousands of articles about Milwaukee (and a few about New Orleans, Detroit, Indianapolis, Boston and various vacation spots in Wisconsin) that range in subject from where to get the best cup of coffee to an in-depth profile on the survivors of the iconic Norman apartment building that burned down in the '90s.
She also once got a colonic just to report on it, but that's enough on that.
Always told she had a "radio voice," Molly found herself as a regular contributor on FM102, 97WMYX and 1130WISN with her childhood radio favorite, Gene Mueller.
Molly's poetry, essays and articles appeared in many publications including USA Today, The Writer, The Sun Magazine and more. She has a collection of poetry, "Topless," and is slowly writing a memoir.
In 2009, Molly won a Milwaukee Press Club Award. She served as the Narrator / writer-in-residence at the Pfister Hotel from 2013-2014. She is also a story slam-winning storyteller who has performed with The Moth, Ex Fabula and Risk!
When she's not writing, interviewing or mom-ing, Molly teaches tarot card classes, gardens, sits in bars drinking Miller products and dreams of being in a punk band again.