Counseling alum writes her trauma and journey to heal with memoir

Contact: Chris Hybels

Demarra West, author of "Me Too: A Therapist's Journey to Heal, Find Liberation, and Joy"

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Demarra West, a graduate of Western Michigan University's clinical mental health counseling program, is inspiring readers with her memoir, "Me Too: A Therapist's Journey to Heal, Find Liberation, & Joy." As a therapist and self-healer, she offers insight for readers seeking to overcome past trauma and live abundantly in every area of their lives. A survivor of trauma herself, West shares her healing journey and offers a roadmap to overcome even the most challenging of obstacles.

"The book has been 26 years in the making, and I started writing it before I even realized I had a lot of my own healing to do," explains West. "Before my healing journey, I really was under the impression that my past was my past and I was moving forward. I had gotten married, became a mother, attended graduate school and started a business."

"Then about 10 years ago when I stared learning about holistic practices, I found myself gravitating to doing trauma sensitive yoga, reiki, forest bathing, breathwork and other types of healing practices. Initially I thought these are going to be modalities that I use to help support my clients and community. But what I realized through finding these practices that I had my own healing to do myself," says West.

West's earliest recollection of trauma occurred at age six, although trauma was present long before that with her absentee father and the violence she witnessed from her stepfather. By age 13, she had already experienced eight of the 10 Adverse Childhood Experiences, including substance abuse, incarceration and homelessness. According to the Cleveland Clinic, these negative experiences affect a child’s brain and health as they grow into adults. They can also lead to mental health or chronic health conditions.

West describes the trauma suffered in her childhood as nearly obliterating her existence.

"In the book I talk about the most significant things that I faced in terms of trauma, the aftermath and struggle to talk about it and allow for my healing journey," says West. "So it's really a blueprint for people to understand some of the research-based holistic modalities that are revolutionary to helping us heal ourselves."  


Demarra West

Demarra West is a community advocate, counselor, entrepreneur and author of "Me Too: A Therapist's Journey to Heal, Find Liberation, & Joy." She has a bachelor's in family life education from Spring Arbor University and masters in clinical mental health counseling from Western Michigan University. West is also the former chair of YWCA Kalamazoo and led the organization's CEO search in 2023.

Starting her own full-service consulting practice in 2008, West's Change Agent Consulting has provided expertise in strategic planning, fund and program development, coaching and DEI training to organizations in Southwest Michigan. Additionally, she is the founder of Be Well Beautiful Women (BWBW), a non-profit aimed at supporting female leaders and entrepreneurs in business and wellness by providing business planning, executive coaching, training and retreats. BWBW also has a podcast featuring women who are experts in their field.

To learn more about West, visit her website.


West will be holding a free workshop to demonstrate the therapeutic powers of writing, offering everyone—from trauma survivors to those simply seeking personal growth—tools to turn their experiences into powerful narratives on Tuesday, May 7, at Kazoo Books from 4 to 5:30 p.m. To learn more about the event or RSVP, visit her website.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.