MICHELLE KATZ, MA
Director & Rites of Passage Facilitator
Live your questions now and perhaps without even knowing it you will live along some distant day into your answers.-Rilke
Michelle lives life in the question of “How is this a ceremony?” or “How can this become a ceremony?” Her passion for this work began with her first vision quest, as she marked her movement into adulthood and faced the challenges of stepping into being an initiated adult. The experience opened her up to connecting more deeply with herself and the world around her. It is in this practice, she become awake to the lineage that moves behind and beyond her; and that she came awake to her gifts and place in community. She not only has a passion but a calling to this work. Having facilitated various experiences of rites of passage and counseling for youth, adults, and families of a variety of backgrounds and circumstance, she brings a knowing that nature helps support us in seeing and accepting ourselves. The experience of rites of passage supports the becoming of a person. The opportunity to witness someone intentionally marking a change in their life and recognizing their own human nature and unique gift to this world is what Michelle wholeheartedly dedicates her life to.
Michelle is a trained therapist with a MA in Counseling, deeply interested in the process of severance, threshold, and incorporation. In her work, she integrates knowledge of human development, family systems, empathy, attachment and attunement as well as the use of body-centered therapy, art, and mindfulness. She brings a wealth of knowledge from Jungian psychology, Gestalt therapy, Wilderness guiding, Council practices, Yoga instruction and Linguistics. She is an enthusiastic learner in her commitment to always growing into the role of Guide. She marries experiential transformation process with deep listening, patience, and trust in her participants.
Sara McFarlane, MA, LMHC
Counselor, Rites of PassaGe Facilitator
Sara is a deeply empathic partner in the process of healing and transformation. She has a Master's degree in Art Therapy and Counseling, with a foundation in Expressive Art Therapy, and extensive training in Eco-Psychology, which encompasses various traditional ceremonies and teachings, including Vision Quest, Lakota Pipe Ceremonies, and Peruvian Shamanistic Journeying. Sara's soul purpose is to stand beside others as they reconnect with the truth of themselves, the truth of life, which can be uncovered in our collective and personal creativity, as well as in connection with our natural world.
Sara works with people recovering from process and substance addictions, deepening her awareness of the impact of our current culture's disconnect from each other, from the earth, and most importantly, from themselves. Sara also works with those dealing with various mental health issues, and believes the current system for treating these issues is deeply flawed, and is continually reimagining a more holistic and effective approach.
Sara's personal journey of healing and re-connection includes yoga, African and Haitian dance, art, music, gardening, cooking, meditation, ritual, ceremony, spending as much time outside as possible, and mothering her young daughter.
Rites of Passage Facilitator, Family Guide
Kelsey has been living in the southwestern US for the past seven years and has worked for several conservation nonprofits working to protect wildlife and wildlands in the West. Most recently she managed a grassroots campaign bringing together diverse communities to protect a large portion of Utah’s West Desert. Kelsey comes to Oaks Counsel after spending a season as a Wilderness Therapy Guide in Utah. She has long been interested in utilizing the wilderness for personal and group development and is pursuing a graduate degree in Organizational Psychology and Family Therapy. Kelsey holds a Bachelors of Science from Arizona’s Prescott College and is a certified Mediator. In her spare time you can find Kelsey riding bikes, exploring the mountains and waterways of the West, restoring her 1968 Avion trailer, and making sub-par baked goods.
Rites of Passage Facilitator
Originally immersed in a career in the corporate realms in her 20's, Renea found herself restless for a different kind of exploration of meaning and place. When traveling for work, she often found herself persuading colleagues to venture out onto nearby nature trails and would find time to observe and take in the pulse of the local community. Before long, Renea returned to graduate school to study Community Psychology and after receiving her Masters degree embarked on telling visual stories.
She has created documentaries in a variety of lengths and subject matter and it is here that she was able to further hone the skills of listening and honoring patterns of authentic truths. Her documentary work is an intersection of practical and philosophical meanings -- often celebrating and diving into cultural and physical landscapes, beauty, social relations and individual empowerment. Interested in more avenues to explore non-linear storytelling, Renea just completed a graduate certificate in GIS (Geographic Information Systems) where she hopes to drawn upon research and drawn upon available to us in an ever increasing digital world.
It's in nature, however, that Renea feels the most in harmony. Nature emerged as an early healer for grief in her life and it has been a constant and true companion ever since. Fostering a deep respect for nature and what it returns to one - she can sustain integrity your life and your life's purpose - in whatever that means to you as an individual. A day well spent is often one lost in time...seeing new vistas, writing, making impermanent mountain altars and dancing under the open skies. Or just being in a forest or desert bath.
Oscar C. Pérez PhD
Grief and Rites of Passage Facilitator
Oscar C. Pérez PhD is a strategic intervention coach, consultant, and cultural advisor. For the past twelve years he has dedicated himself to studying the healing capacity of storytelling in emotional, social, and psychological contexts. He has focused cross-cultural wisdom from around the world for workshops and diversity trainings at Brown University, Harvard University, various public and private educational institutions and non-profit organizations. He was the Assistant Director of Diversity Initiatives at Brown University’s Center for Students of Color in 2011 prior to becoming faculty advisor for Harvard University’s Latino Men’s Collective. He is currently a consultant and board member for the Eastern Education Resource Collaborative, the Tsi Akim Maidu Tribal Non-Profit Organization, and The Voices of Angels Foundation. He holds a PhD from Brown University where he researched cross-cultural approaches to identity development through the art of storytelling.