Meet The Team
Meet Dona Paknejad
MA, NCC, LPC
Dona holds a master’s degree in clinical counseling from The George Washington University and is a Licensed Professional Counselor, a license granted by the Department of Health in the District of Columbia. She is also certified by the National Board for Certified Counselors.
For the past decade, Dona has been working in Washington, D.C. as a consultant and counselor to federal and local government agencies, and private sector businesses, providing supportive services around work / life balance issues and stressors. The bulk of her work has been with The World Bank Group, The International Monetary Fund, and The Inter-American Development Bank, using predominantly soultion-focused supportive services around issues of acculturation, assimilation and stress management within personal, family and work lives. Through the integration of her multicultural knoweldge-base and language skills, she is able to address her clients' needs in a comprehensive and holisitc manner. She has also been a faculty member at the University of Phoenix, teaching psychology courses in their undergraduate programs.
Dona Paknejad identifies herself as Persian-American, having been born in the United States, yet with a deep appreciation and connection with her cultural roots. Having lived, worked, studied and traveled extensively throughout Europe, South America and the Middle East, she has a deep understanding of how cultural norms and expectations can influence one's vision of the “optimal self” and draws on that understanding in her therapy practice. She has worked in a variety of settings with strong international influences. Starting at the Multicultural Human Services Center (MHS), a program of Northern Virginia Family Services, she worked with adults in English, Portuguese and Farsi, providing behavioral health services for issues varying from adjustment stressors to anxiety, depression and other mood disorders. At the same time, she worked in Fairfax County Public Schools' LEAD program (through MHS), working with at risk adolescent youth. She has also worked at The George Washington University Community Counseling Services Center where she provided services to numerous clients from various backgrounds and cultures.
Meet Behnaz Sekechi Paknejad
Practice Director & Intake Coordinator
Behnaz is an internationally-recognized multicultural and communications author and advisor. Her expertise and skills have been developed through learned experiences while living, studying, and working, in several diverse countries and cultures. Her unique skill sets allow clients to experience feeling welcomed, safe, and valued from their first contact with the practice. Ms.Paknejad enjoys assisting potential clients in assessing which therapist would be a good match for their needs, and answering the multitude of questions that can arise surrounding the therapeutic experience. Ms. Paknejad is multi-lingual and her books can be found through all outlets and they have been translated into several languages. The titles of her books are Not Another Pretty Binder; Strategic Planning that Actually Works, The Global Crosswinds of Change, and The Cultures in the Cubicles.
Meet Joy Steen
M.A., NCC, NCSC
Joy holds a master's degree in Education and Human Development with a concentration in Counseling from The George Washington University. She is also certified by the National Board for Certified Counselors.
Joy is a native of Winston-Salem, NC who currently resides in the Northern Virginia area. She has worked in the counseling field for the past 9 years and specializes in serving children and adolescents. Joy uses a client-centered, strength-focused approach within her counseling. Additionally, Joy is culturally responsive, open to exploring intersections of race and gender, and is available for faith-based counseling.
Joy identifies as a cisgender, White, Christian, female. She is a wife and is raising a blended, bi-racial family.
Joy is working under the supervision of Dona Paknejad.
Joshua is a graduate of Walden University with a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and also possesses a Master of Science in Forensic Psychology. Joshua’s clinical internship at Whitman-Walker Health fostered his development into an empathetic mental health professional. Joshua has worked in both private practice and non-profit settings. Specializing in work with the LGBTQ+ community, Joshua has experience working with clients who are suffering from anxiety, depression, substance use, adverse childhood experiences, trauma, sexual compulsion, and self-harming behavior.
Joshua utilizes an eclectic model of therapy, combining elements of Rogerian, CBT, motivational interviewing, and affirmative therapy to help catalyze change in clients. He has been heavily influenced by constructive feminism, utilizing an approach that encourages clients to acknowledge barriers to change and reclaim their individual political agency. He believes in a holistic view of the individual, often integrating mindfulness, psychoeducation, and breathing techniques into therapy.
Joshua possesses a passion for working with traditionally marginalized individuals, particularly the LGBTQ+ community, people of color, and individuals with intersectional identities.