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Therapist Spotlight: John Chawarika, Graduate Clinical Intern

What inspired you to become a counselor?

I was inspired by the passion to serve as a clinician after realizing that mental health is not a priority in many different spaces throughout the world. My social location claims that you cannot expose your “dirty laundry” publicly, and so people suffer by carrying heavy untold stories and experiences.

Counseling is the opposite. It is a private and confidential space in which untold stories can be shared, explored, and addressed, and new insights to life and meaning discovered. Therapy, therefore, offers a warm and safe space for people to share their embodied stories which are in many cases full of pain, hurt and confusion, and this in order to achieve wholeness and healing. It can also be liberating, transformative and impactful by providing a new sense of direction and growth.

What is something you would like new clients to know about beginning the counseling process?

I would want new clients to know that creating a warm, safe space for them is of paramount importance to me. I am very intentional about it because beginning counseling and the counseling relationship for the first time can feel new, awkward or anxiety-producing. It is important to normalize that so that a new client feels safe and comfortable enough to address that which brings them to counseling.

How would you describe your style or approach in counseling?

My approach to counseling is strengths-based, anchored in an integrative philosophy that is multicultural, relational, and transformation focused. It is also based on connecting with clients utilizing compassionate presence and attunement to the individual’s story and experience, offering helpful paradigm shifts leading to healing, growth, and desired change. Each client has their own story that deserves compassion, safety, and care to be effectively explored and addressed. I believe in accompanying and journeying with clients in their goals towards healing, joy and fulfilment. Yes, we can do this together!

What self-care practices do you enjoy doing most?

My favorite self-care practice is taking late afternoon walks by lake Michigan. I take advantage of staying very close to the lake where l can walk or ride my bike, as I love watching the majestic beauty and calmness of the water. In addition, I love watching epic action and romantic movies on a big screen and listening to music, especially the new South African Amapiano genre and dance for both enjoyment and exercise. I appreciate reading, writing and traveling internationally.

How do I schedule an appointment with John?

To schedule an appointment with John Chawarika, contact us here or email him directly at If you would like to learn more about John, you can also check out his biography here.


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