My name is Stefanie Sundara (Burnham) and I’m an integrative counselor, educator, and facilitator at the intersections of mental health and earth-based traditions. I currently reside on Wiyot land, Humboldt County, California.
In reflecting on how I’ve landed in this role, I give thanks to my ancestry for being its roots. I’m a daughter of both Mestizo Panamanian and New England ancestry, and a first-generation American. For the better part of my life I was raised on Seminole land, Saint Petersburg, Florida, where the Gulf side of the Atlantic ocean and sweltering sun surrounded my early life. I’ve since been transformed and nurtured by the redwoods and pines, mountains, and Pacific Ocean on both Ramaytush land, San Francisco, and now here on Wiyot land, Humboldt.
My personal journey with mental health has greatly informed my work and service, where it has intertwined with the spiritual practice of living in purpose. During my teens, I was treated for depression, bipolar, and anxiety with psychiatric medication, counseling, and trips to psychiatric rehabilitation centers. I found a turning point during this rock bottom when I found meditation.
I studied psychology during my undergrad at USFSP, and researched the Effects of Meditation and Binaural Beats on Creativity, Working Memory, and Affect.
I wrote about and fell in love with the science behind the brain’s electromagnetic activity, and how it correlates with different psychological states, specifically the one known as the “flow-state”, coined by cognitive scientist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi. Meanwhile, I started having deeply mystical experiences while lucid dreaming and meditating that I couldn’t find scientific research to explain.
I came to a memorable crossroads in my education and focus when I decided to pull back from scientific, clinical study and pursue my graduate studies in East-West Psychology at The California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). Here, I cultivated what I mostly share in practice with clients today which is soul-centered counseling influenced by Depth Psychology, Ecopsychology and indigenous traditions. In addition to these approaches to mental health, I weave in Evolutionary and Archetypal Astrology as a cosmological orientation when reflecting on life purpose. I’m also an Akashic Records Practitioner, which is a form of meditation and psychic development.
I continue to work in both clinical and psychospiritual settings where my joy is in bridging the mythopoetic soul and mental health. I’ve been working with mental health organizations since 2017 in counseling/mentorship roles. I’ve worked with clients in my own private practice since 2020 as an Integrative Counselor, where I incorporate modalities such as astrology, akashic meditation, somatic practices, earth-based connection, inner parts work/soul retrieval, and counseling techniques to serve those who are seeking mental wellbeing and to deepen their spiritual path.