Keita A. Whitten MSW, LCSW
Keita (Kay-ta) Whitten grew up during the 60’s with her sisters in a working-class neighborhood on the Upper Westside in New York City within a single parent household. Keita created Redefining Therapy based on 23 years of personal and professional experiences in social work, community organizing and community mental health in New York City and Maine.
Redefining Therapy is a vision statement in response to antiquated practices and beliefs held about mental wellness. Keita’s passion for her work is a blessing and commitment based on a journey embracing grace, humility, and developing the resiliency to personally transcend trials and tribulations, including ACE’s, domestic violence, and sexual abuse.
In 1995 Keita relocated to Maine homeless, determined to provide a life for her and her children where they would not be subjected to street crime and drugs. One day while volunteering in a food bank, she was approached by the Maine Coalition for Food Security and asked to serve as an Americorp Vista Volunteer as a Special Project’s Coordinator to address hunger in Maine. Keita served for 3 years as a Vista Volunteer while being a single parent raising two boys and living on TANF in low-income housing. For her service, she received the Outstanding Community Achievement award 3 years in a row working in collaboration with Maine Women’s Lobby, Maine Equal Justice Project, and M.A.I.N.E. to address hunger and poverty in Maine.
Her commitment to community service in Maine continued as the director and host of the Mama Africa Show on WMPG Community Radio (a show dedicated to exploring the influence of African diaspora through music and interviews), volunteering with the NAACP Portland branch, the gubernatorial committee on poverty, and the Abyssinian Restoration Project.
At the age of 32, Keita earned her MSW and BSW in the field of Social Work from the University of Southern Maine. Keita pursued college as a Parents as Scholars recipient and graduated with honors as possibly the 1st African American President of the Phi Alpha Honors Society, including student leadership awards, and public research recognition for her graduate thesis, Dialogues in Diversity: Multicultural students sharing their realities in Portland Maine.
In 2002 Keita worked in colbortaion to designed a platform called Cultivating Multicultural Alliances (CMA) providing educational dialogues on diversity and race for non-profits and institutions of higher education, while also teaching at Southern Maine Community College and Andover/Kaplan. Keita has had the privilge to desgin workshops and teach students and educators at Seeds of Peace Camp with the guidene and support of Asssitant Camp Director, the late Wil Smith.
* MECA (Maine College of Art)
* Cultivating Community.
* Andover College/ Kaplan University.
* TheUniversity of Southern Maine.
* World Hunger Organization in NYC.
* Seeds of Peace Camp.
AREAS OF COMPETENCE
A licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) in the state of Maine.
International social work service volunteer: Dominican Republic
Preble Street adult homeless case manager
Child Protection Social Worker with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)- Bureau of Youth and Family Services.
Rural Maine HCT/ section 65 clinician & Behavioral Health Professional (BHP)
A community-based clinician with Maine Behavioral Health (formally Community Counseling Center)
Portland Public school-based clinician working with youth of color including refugee and immigrant families
AREAS OF SPECIALTIES
In 2008, Keita received her Kripalu Yoga Instructor certification and co-owned a Yoga studio in South Portland. Keita specializes Somatic gentle restorative yoga and has taught classes for survivors of war and torture with Community Counseling Center, for cancer patients and their families at the Cancer Community center in South Portland, and with elders within assisted living facilities.
In 2014 Keita launched her private practice in Portland Redefining Therapy, LLC.
In 2016, Keita received her certification in Somatic Experiencing Trauma with 300+ training hrs.
“I know I am blessed in my work and I have the privilege to be the witness to and hold sacred space for others on their journey to self-recovery and healing just as others have done so for me. I love my roots, upholding traditional values of life’s simple pleasures, including the importance of making time for family, dear friends and community. Each day my partner and I practice our walk in faith, living from embodied joy, honoring the bones of ancestors, and reflecting God’s light and love~ Ashe.”