We had the good fortune of connecting with Julie Fernandez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Julie, what are you most passionate about?
I am most passionate about empowering people to reconnect with their strengths and innate capacity to heal. Survivors of trauma often lose trust and no longer feel safe in their bodies and their environment. As a somatic trauma therapist, I help people reclaim their bodies and build trust in their innate wisdom. As a survivor myself, I am passionate about working specifically with survivors of both sexual and domestic violence. I feel fulfilled in the role of helping survivors feel strong in their bodies, reclaim their agency, and further empower them with basic self-defense techniques.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As a Somatic Trauma Therapist, my goal is to guide individuals in discovering their innate capacity for healing. This includes the ability to feel SAFE in your body, COMFORTABLE in your skin, and EMPOWERED to take on the world. I help people feel alive, connected, and complete. My desire to become a trauma therapist stemmed from personal experiences of sexual abuse during my childhood and adolescense, and being involved in unhealthy and abusive relationships later on in life. This led to cycles of depression, anxiety and eating disorders. Only by listening to and befriending my own body, I have been able to transform through these experiences. Today, I take what I have learned throughout the years and work closely with my clients as they begin their healing journey. This process has evolved over time, and the connections that I develop with my clients also aids in my self-healing journey.
What began with Trauma-Informed yoga has now grown to incorporate a variety of healing practices including: Breath-work coaching (identifying unhealthy patterns/habits which prevent us from breathing fully and in turn feeling our best self); Mindfulness (learning to stay in the present moment while recognizing and accepting our thoughts, feelings, sensations as is); Physical fitness and self-defense (helping people get out of stagnation and more active and strong in their bodies by incorporating simple strength building exercises and basic self-defense techniques. This also includes using emotional skills to support the fears and trauma issues that are blocking people from accepting their own strength); and Somatic Experiencing practices (body-based therapy inviting the exploration of unsettled trauma using the language of the body).
Through creative expressive movements, I support people in the exploration of unsettled trauma using the language of the body – following their bodily sensations and natural impulses rather than suppressing them to create their own form of bodily expression. Through these practices, I have found my power and strength while also reclaiming my softness and femininity, and I help others do the same.
As a Trauma Therapist, I practice a unique approach to recovery. I create a fun and safe environment for my clients to heal and avoid the entrapment of “clinical bubbles.” My unique experiences and training make me approachable and I can truly relate to what my clients are experiencing. My clients can expect a healing process that incorporates curiosity, playfulness and physical strength-based practices. Let’s connect with your Inner Warrior!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love nature so I would recommend something outdoors: hiking up to the Wisdom Tree, a day trip to the Joshua Tree, and for the full LA experience, visiting Santa Monica and Venice. Eating at Gjusta in Venice is a must! I would also recommend breakfast at Sqirl on the Eastside. Another favorite place to enjoy with friends is Tequilas in North Hollywood. They have the best molcajete, margaritas, and live music on Friday nights. I also love spending time on the east side of town so I would recommend a walk around Echo Park Lake and a visit to the local bookstores and cafes.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are many individuals who have supported me throughout my journey. From mentors, teachers, and colleagues – each had a strong influence on me and provided me with inspiration for moving forward. Particularly, I’d like to recognize Exhale to Inhale, who provided me a path for growth and opportunity in this field of work. Exhale to Inhale is a non-profit organization that teaches yoga to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault throughout New York City and Los Angeles. I joined the organization as a volunteer yoga teacher in 2014 and have continued to work with them in various roles. Today, I serve as the Lead Trauma-Informed Yoga Teacher Trainer while I head my own private practice in Los Angeles. More on Exhale to Inhale – since 2013 they have empowered over 3,000 survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault through the healing practice of trauma-informed yoga. Today, as we all navigate this time of collective chaos, Exhale to Inhale is offering an online series, A Space to Breathe, a self-care resource for our students and larger community to gain stability and practice important coping strategies. This donation-based series takes place daily, M-F. I am extremely proud of all that the organization has accomplished and their continued impact in our communities. I am grateful to work with such an amazing group of people who are passionate about helping survivors.