KIYONDA HESTER, LMSW (she/her)

Hi, I’m Kiyonda.

I want to say that I’m proud of you for starting this process. Let’s have an open, heartfelt talk about what’s going on in your life and in your heart. This is a partnership and it’s important for us to be honest in this process so that I can do my best in my assessment to nurture your growth. I will always show up as my authentic self, hoping to provide you with a brave space to show up as your authentic self. 

Together, we can help you understand yourself more deeply, shift unhelpful thought patterns, establish healthy self-care and relationships, and truly thrive. My role is to meet you exactly where you are now with complete empathy, create a safe space for transparent conversations, help illuminate patterns or root causes of distress, and offer the psychological tools personalized for your growth. Together we’ll nurture resilience, insight and sustainable life balance.

Licensed in New York

SPECIALTIES

ADD/ADHD

Attachment wounds related to dating, codependency, peer relationships, relationships

Anxiety

Autism

Burnout

Codependency

Grief

Life transitions (including caregiver stress & support)

LGBTQIA & Sexuality

Men's issues

Women's issues

Privilege

Performance anxiety

Racial & cultural identity

Self-harm

POPULATIONS

Children

Teens

Young Adults

Adults

Couples

My Approach

Working with me

I blend research-backed modalities like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), mindfulness practices, and play therapy to meet your unique needs. But I won’t just throw theoretically proven models at you. Counseling is a human relationship built on mutual trust, respect and safety. I’ll start by listening closely so I can get to know the beautifully complex person within you.

My goal isn’t to rush you through textbook therapeutic checklists. It’s to support you on your personal journey toward hope, self-worth and wholeness – no matter how long that takes or what unexpected turns that involves. Each small step forward is meaningful progress.

I also love creating out-of-the-box, fun ways to heal. I have a distinctive gift for working with youth and adolescents but equipped to make healing fun for all. Who says that therapy can’t be fun? 

My belief is therapy at any age can be fun. I’m not dismissing the hard work one has to put into it.  It doesn’t have to feel scary or dreadful. I would love to change that narrative. I’ve been blessed that clients are excited to come to therapy even though they know it will be challenging. They know it’s their time to heal, learn, laugh, and grow.

 

latinx therapy and latinx therapist. New york psychotherapist
latinx therapy and latinx therapist. New york psychotherapist

Education

  • M.S.W. Clinical Social Work, Long Island University (2017)
  • B.A.  in Criminal Justice, John Jay of Criminal Justice (2011)
  • Improving Cultural Competency for Behavioral Health Professionals Certification (2022)
  • Differential Diagnosis Using the DSM-5-TR Certification (2023)

About Me

Self-acceptance or self-love in a world that denies that your skin’s hue has beauty or your hair is desirable was a challenge for me growing up. I didn’t receive the emotional deposits a child needs in their formative years to allow them to feel secure. This and other environmental factors lead to abusive relationships, self-esteem issues, anxious attachment styles, and much more. During this time, I learned that I needed an outlet. I have always been a talker, so the outlet for me was being heard.

I did not always get the opportunity to be heard, but I wanted to ensure others did not feel the way I felt. I became an advocate for others, no matter the issues, I disliked injustice of any sort. Imagine a teen determined to give a voice to the voiceless, that was me. I had great intentions but needed modifications in my strategies. I had a teacher in 8th grade that made a huge impression on me. She was willing to listen to me beyond her designated hours and invested time in me. No, I didn’t want to become a teacher but I wanted to heal people in the way she was unknowingly healing me, and that was through conversation and building a relationship. She is the reason I believe there is no such thing as a “bad” kid, they are just in need of an outlet, a person who is willing to listen and see them beyond the ridicule or pain.

Schedule a free 15 minute phone consult here

Prioritize your mental health and self-care from the comfort of your home.

Schedule a phone consult here. We’ll chat about any questions you might have, and it’ll be an opportunity for me to learn more about you and what you’re going through.