Pay It Forward
What's Pay It Forward? For those of you with ample resources, or those of you with a desire to support sliding scale and donation-based community care to reach people who currently can't financially access it, this is a chance to donate in support of this continued work.
As I'm now a few years in to offering sliding scale care, I'm excited to create a fund to help support and sustain it. I offer sliding scale and donation-based care because I believe that we are in a Healing Industrial Complex moment where so much of the life-sustaining healing services are very financially inaccessible to lots of people. I offer herbal consultations and breathwork 1:1 sessions from $60-140 and also reserve 2 $30 1:1 breathwork spots per month for BIPOC/ queer/ trans/ low income/ sick & disabled** people. I also try to donate herbal remedies to as many organizing projects and social justice projects as I am able to and I commit some of my time to doing free and donation-based work. I'm someone who has benefited greatly from practitioners and therapists offering me sliding scale care and so in working this way, I'm hoping its an effort to pay it back and pay it forward, myself. I wouldn't be here, doing this work, without other people's generous and accessible care. Investing in each other and supporting each other in accessing care regardless of our financial status and in a culture where worth is tied up with financial "success" and affluence, is an incredibly radical act.
Why this work (and me)?
Since 2006 I have been engaged in anti-violence and trauma work in different capacities, from being a rape crisis counselor in an emergency room to a community organizer to a book editor to a trauma-focused somatic writing workshop facilitator, both IRL and online. I travel the country speaking at colleges, universities, and community organizations. I also have additional trainings in harm reduction & substance misuse/ addiction and will be bringing breathwork to these communities.
In this work I am uniquely skilled and always learning more. I bring a trauma-informed, queer & trans centered, person-first, non-pathologizing or shaming lens to this work. I also am always continuously developing my skill set further and will be doing additional breathwork trainings, Reiki attunements and additional trauma & PTSD study in the coming year, all in service of offering deeply skilled, trauma-informed care to the many communities I work with. I've been lucky to have been supporting people in some of their darkest (and brightest!) times for years and am incredibly heartened and inspired by this work.
To give you a sense of why I'm starting this fund:
While there are some other herbalists in NYC offering sliding scale care, I'm currently the only breathwork facilitator I know offering sliding scale rates for 1:1 sessions (and soon I will also be offering donation-based group work). Each month a good portion of my sessions are in the lower and middle of my scale and I welcome that, knowing that people are accessing care at a level they can afford however the only way for sliding scale to truly work is if the top of the scale also fills out and offers some balance. I don't receive outside funding to do this work and I don't have non-profit status. I also want to continue to offer even more donation-based work and need a bit more financial stability to do so. If I was charging full price in a way that would sustain me, personally, and sustain the work, I would be charging something around $120-140 flat rate, per session. That rate feels inaccessible to me, personally, and for many people that I work with and want to continue working with. It's a deep commitment of mine, it's a way I try to offer healing work as a form of justice work, and it's deeply in line with the integrity I hope to bring to this work. I also know that when I am personally and financially resourced properly, I am able to show up and give even more and that's the whole plan. I want to do even more!
I know that race, class, colonialism, sexual identity, gender identity, and disability greatly impact and shape access to care. Across my different modalities, practices and workshops my clients currently include LGBTQ people, BIPOC, members of a harm reduction clinic, people moving through substance misuse, members of sex worker communities, other practitioners who offer sliding scale care, Hasidic & Orthodox Jewish people and all of the overlaps and intersections, of course.
This work is not luxury work, it's medicine and something all people deserve access to.
How I navigate working on a sliding scale:
I take some work at higher rates to help support and supplement this work and also often do workshops at a full non-sliding scale rate. Currently, I'm able to operate my private practice out space each month for free (which I imagine will change in 2018 as I'm needing to increase days later this year and will be looking at high rents in NYC).
For access to my sliding scale, I don't ask to see any "proof" of income; I rely on the honesty, integrity and accountability of those seeking my services and allow people the opportunity to self-select where they fall on my scale, using an income-model as a guide. I also truly believe that if people are coming to me and this work from a place of honesty, integrity and accountability that the healing possibilities and alignment is that much stronger.
Where your donation goes:
If you donate, you can know that your donation goes directly to supporting the lower and middle levels of the sliding scale, supports me in continuing to offer sliding scale and donation-based work with breathwork & herbs, helps me to invest in my deepening skill set, and develop even more ways for people to access care at different financial entry points. I'm also working to save money to get my own practitioner space where I can do more sessions. With extremely high rents in NYC, saving when my sessions are sliding scale makes it harder for sure.
You can donate below or if you book a sliding scale breathwork session or a sliding scale herbal consultation you will also be given a chance to add an additional donation amount. I've already had some people Pay It Forward and it's warmed my heart so much to see people invest in other people's care and access.
Thank you thank you thank you so very much in advance for supporting accessible healing work. Thank you for helping me continue to poke holes in the Healing Industrial Complex so that more of us can access life-sustaining care and healing.
**coined by billie rain