By Kimberly Cato, CEO and Founder, True Roots Counselling Services
I [Kimberly Cato] was an 8-year old child when I first encountered the intensity of a hate motivated incident perpetrated on me because of the colour of my skin. It was the first time that I experienced crippling, communal fear as a palpable presence that shattered my presumption of safety when entering a new space forever. It marked my developing mind’s need to assess all surroundings, and the people in it, with a heightened awareness of the possibility of harm.
This 8-year old experience initiated my quest to find calm in the shadow of hate. Living in the face of systems, institutions, and organizations designed to oppress you can make life challenging, at the best of times. Particularly when you know that deep within you lies seeds of true excellence and it is your specified intention to thrive & prosper, how do you navigate through the structural racism and systems of oppression to manifest the fullness of who you really are?
Presenter: Kimberly Cato
Kimberly Cato is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of True Roots Counselling Services. Ms. Cato brings with her over 30 years of experience, working from trauma informed and asset-based practices. Ms. Cato is a registered psychotherapist and is grounded in methodologies of anti-racism and anti-oppression. Her analysis also centers intersectionality, as she is a Black woman who navigates the world from a wheelchair.
Kimberly is a sought-after conference presenter, corporate consultant, motivational speaker, and award-winning workshop facilitator. Her practice is culturally grounded, drawing on frameworks that support and move clients towards empowerment and self-determination. Kimberly utilizes a range of therapeutic practices such as Afrocentric and non-traditional ways of transformative change, that are fostered through music and arts. Kimberly is exceptionally skilled and certified in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), Family Group Conferencing (FGC), Motivational Interviewing and various narrative therapies.
In 2020, during the wake of George Floyd's public murder and the resulting global unrest, Kimberly launched Check-In and Chat, a weekly support group for racialized women. She also started a parallel group for racialized men, which is a monthly peer decompression space. As a certified facilitator for emotional emancipation circles (EEC), she guides and leads Black community members to rediscover their African ancestral roots.
Ms. Cato’s commitment to healing and mental wellness is long-standing. These experiences motivated her to intentionally engage in dismantling racism by decolonizing therapy and seeking culturally adapted therapeutic practices that build multi-racial communities with anti-racist capacity and a determination to facilitate more racial trauma healing forums.
Kimberly is delighted to be part of Ontario Society of Registered Psychotherapists’ Board, Executive Committee, and the Interim Chair of the Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee, assisting with the process of embedding EDI principles into every aspect of the organization, and thereby creating a space that is welcoming, inclusive, and safe for the differing identities of People served in the province.