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  • Writer's pictureCarolina Campos Ruiz

Jennifer Froemel's journey in holistic healing and community health: how to expand therapy beyond relationship discussions and make it accessible to everyone

Updated: May 16

Jennifer Froemel on Speaking of Phenomenal Podcast artwork

For Episode 7 of the Speaking of Phenomenal Podcast, host Amy Boyle interviews Illinois-based therapist Jennifer Froemel, a bilingual Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) passionate about holistic healing, bilingualism and pro bono therapy. In 2014, Jennifer founded Innovative Counseling Partners, PLCC, where she integrates medical, alternative, and spiritual approaches to support her clients' well-being. Last year, after hiking to Mount Everest Base Camp and falling in love with the Nepali people, Jennifer started to plan an expansion of her services to Kathmandu and Nepal to provide free mental health support for their underserved communities. 

Jennifer, who began her journey as a therapist in community mental health centers, shares how her role as a parent and challenges with her son's well-being and performance at school made her want to learn more about different methodologies.

She became familiar with methods like somatic-based intervention, which helps clients shift their way of thinking, and started to apply those strategies in the treatment of her clients. Logistic and funding difficulties in community mental health made her found Innovative Counseling Partners, PLCC, in partnership with a pediatric occupational therapist and a nutrition response physician.

For Jennifer, therapy is more than a space to discuss relationships. In this episode, she explains how factors like our food habits, sleep hygiene and financial situation can affect our well-being. Regarding food, she described the hard work it takes to make clients believe in the importance of diet for mental health. She enjoys the challenge and doesn't mind spending 45 minutes discussing how consuming almond butter is better than peanut butter for a child with ADHD.

She also highlights the importance of pro bono therapy and discusses her work with communities like Cicero, Aurora and Glendale Heights and her recent partnership with CommunityHealth, a volunteer-based health center that, among other initiatives, assesses the needs of immigrant communities.

"I believe everyone deserves access to good mental health care providers," Jennifer says, adding that having Spanish-speaking therapists helps clients who are immigrants feel understood and welcomed. "I am bilingual myself and it's so important to me, I think, to realize that the world is bigger than just English speaking." 

As a final piece of advice, Jennifer invites us to listen to ourselves. "You have the answers. And even if it seems like it's scary, the reality is, when you lean into it, it's usually the best thing you could have ever done."

Carolina Baldin is a freelance journalist from Brazil. Having worked in law, policy and regulation, she is passionate about everyday stories that illustrate larger issues. She graduated from a master's program at Northwestern University in 2023 and became a guest blogger on the "Speaking of Phenomenal" podcast blog in March 2024.

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