ACE Digital Manager Ashleigh Kinsey spoke to Rachelle “Chelle” Pean about how she got started in her Holistic Health career.
Rachelle “Chelle” Pean grew up in Schenectady. Her father is from Haiti, and her mother from Maine. Chelle attended SUNY Purchase and got her degree in Psychology before completing her Masters in Social Work at CUNY Hunter in Harlem. She worked in hospitals in the Bronx before returning to the Capital Region to practice. After working at a hospital in Troy, Chelle began to build her business in January of 2018, and started running her practice full-time in August 2018. When asked why she decided to go into business for herself, she said, “I wanted to integrate mind-body healing techniques into talk therapy, but with the demands of working in a bigger system I didn’t have the time or energy to give my clients that experience as much as I wanted to. The demands of working in a large system were also crushing my creativity and I saw it only getting worse if I stayed.” Chelle’s business is all about holistic health. Integrating mind, body, and spiritual healing through talk therapy, yoga, and other mindful practices. Many of her clients have past childhood trauma and Chelle helps them stay present and thrive when past traumas resurface.
Although this was a career Chelle wanted and studied for, it still had some unexpected results that she never imagined. After speaking at an Intergenerational Trauma and Healing Workshop at SUNY New Paltz, Chelle says, “I never really enjoyed talking in groups, but found that if it is something I love, and something I care about, speaking in public is something I’m good at.”
Chelle’s days now consist of teaching yoga classes around the Capital Region, seeing patients, and speaking at workshops about holistic health. When asked what advice she would give to others pursuing a similar path, Chelle says, “Just start. People feel like they have to know everything to share their perspective, but if you share what you care about with your unique perspective, that’s enough [to get started]. That’s valuable. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.”
One of her favorite things about living and working in the Capital Region is that it’s easy to collaborate with others. “There’s so much going on in NYC, it’s tough to connect sometimes. Having a smaller network, you know who’s putting on what event, and [connections] feel more personal. Also, you can tell pretty quickly when you are making a difference.”
Although there are many advantages to living in the Capital Region, there is one thing that Chelle thinks could use some improvement. “Inclusion is always an issue. POC’s create their own enclaves, but this area would benefit if there were easy-to-get resources.” Many times
POC’s end up making spaces for themselves instead of trying to fit a particular mold. Chelle recalled an experience at a job where she had a “seat at the table” but still felt disconnected. “It was like the policies were not created for me, and although I’ve had a ‘seat at the table’, it was not effective.”
Chelle says that if there was a true opportunity to facilitate changes in policies within organizations to promote inclusion, she would love to be a part, but for now, it would be a better use of her energy for good if she focused on “building her own table” with policies and procedures that were more inclusive in nature.
Chelle teaches a donation-based yoga class every Thursday at the African American Cultural Center, 135 South Pearl St, Albany NY. She also teaches Sundays at 12pm at Yoga Bliss on the Boulevard, 140 Erie Blvd, Schenectady, NY. Chelle also does workshops. For more information visit chellemariewellness.com.