alumni corner: Ken lopez
A recent photo of Ken.
The Alumni Engagement Sector of our Fellowship program recently spoke with activist, therapist-in-training, and alumni Ken Lopez about their time at the organization along with current work and upcoming projects.
Ken started at The Food Project in the summer of 2010 in the Greater Boston region. They use the pronouns they/them and currently reside in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Ken is currently wrapping up their last semester of grad school at Columbia University’s School of Social Work, concentrating on mental health & advanced clinical social work. They will receive a masters in May and transition into full-time work.
What are you up to currently?
“ Right now I am working as an intern at a private practice called Spilove Psychotherapy based here in Pennsylvania. I specialize in things ranging from anxiety and depression to gender exploration and racial traumas. “
In this role Ken works primarily with members of the LGBTQ+ community. Ken’s main concern is representation and that consists not only of getting more variety in the types of therapists that are available to folks but also for therapists to open their minds and look at mental health as a social justice issue. There is a disparity when it comes to BIPOC & LGBTQ+ communities receiving care and a variety of different systemic barriers have to be taken into consideration for these groups which is something that isn’t talked about often in these spaces. Ken advocates for therapists to start looking at mental health through an intersectional lens.
Post master’s program, Ken plans to work at Spilove Psychotherapy full time as a clinical specialist. Ken’s speciality consists of gender exploration (specifically for members of the trans and gender expansive community), sexuality exploration, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, complex traumas, and racial traumas.
Ken’s ultimate goal as it pertains to therapy is to eventually create their own practice with primarily queer therapists of color. From their work as an intern alone they have seen a significant number in BIPOC & LGBTQ+ youth and young adults who have reached out seeking therapy. With the development of their own practice they hope to see more folks of these marginalized groups reaching out for therapy.
What were you focusing on before the internship?
“Before interning at Spilove Psychotherapy I worked at True Colors United, a nonprofit organization that addresses the issue of youth homelessness in the United States, focusing primarily on the unique experiences of LGBTQ+ youth. I worked there for a year and a half and started off as a Program Officer and after a year was promoted to Senior Program Officer. “
At True Colors United Ken had the opportunity to work with the National Youth Forum on Homelessness (NYFH). Ken helped launch their social media presence allowing the Communications section of their work to display their advocacy work on social media.
Between the work at True Colors United and Spilove Psychotherapy Ken has developed serious interest in regards to representation in this field. As a result, Ken is working on developing a podcast dedicated to black therapists and black therapist seekers that will talk about issues within the mental health system.
“I am still obsessed with pickles! Pickled cucumbers, pickled beets, pickled tomatoes! I will pickle any and everything!”
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
Most Impactful Workshop
Level the playing field
“This was the first time I visually saw how oppression worked. In the jobs I have had post youth programs (foster care & after school programs), I have mentioned this workshop in every activist space I have been in. This workshop had a huge impact on me especially as a visual learner.”
“Shoutout to A Squad (My Seed Crew) and shoutout to Lakeisha Gerald (Supervisor as a youth member)! She played a great part in my development as a young person.”