"I KNOW MYSELF TO BE A PERSON OF WEAKNESS AND STRENGTH, LIABILITY AND GIFTEDNESS, DARKNESS AND LIGHT. I NOW KNOW THAT TO BE WHOLE MEANS TO REJECT NONE OF IT BUT TO EMBRACE ALL OF IT."

-PARKER J. PALMER

Welcome! Sankofa Counseling is a private counseling and community education practice ran by Licensed Professional Counselor, Vanessa Washington. We are located in Downtown Portland near Pioneer Square. At Sankofa, we believe that change and growth can be both individual and communal based. We provide counseling services for individuals and therapeutic coaching for families. Community wise, we offer educational workshops and professional training's around Trauma Informed Systems of Care.

Seeking counseling services is an important decision and finding the right counselor can be a challenging process. Often when considering counseling, people are looking for a therapist who has training, experience, and an approach that offers hope and the possibility of change, resolution, and growth. At Sankofa we offer a free initial telephone consultation with potential clients to discuss the nature of current concerns, what you are looking for in counseling, and to describe our process for working with clients. We have found that this helps your decision around whether we are right for you.

We invite you to explore our website, where you will find information around who we are and what we do; we welcome the opportunity to talk with you about your interest in counseling, professional trainings, and how our services may meet your needs.

Sankofa is a cultural symbol of Ghana

It represents the understanding that our personal histories include a dance of both good and painful experiences, yet all were integral in forming who we are today. Sankofa translates to “go back, seek and retrieve it”. The people of Ghana believed that as time passes, so passes movement and knowledge; as we progress forward in life, the knowledge and lessons of the past must not be forgotten. Sankofa supports our present understanding of self and our movement into the future through exploring and extracting the wisdom that comes from reviewing our history and integrating what it holds.

The symbolism of the Sankofa bird captures this metaphor of self-integration well; it’s feet are firmly planted looking ahead, while its head reaches back, gently grabbing an egg with its beak. The egg, representing lessons/experiences of the past, cannot be held too burdensomely tight, or it may break from rigidity; however, this wisdom cannot be held forgetfully loose, or it may fall and be discarded. In order to integrate our past and present influencers in life, we must be aware of what our “eggs” may hold; then we are able to appreciate and interweave our experiences into a useful and balanced narrative that supports our feet becoming firmly planted in all that we are.