My Story

It all began with asking for help!

Ilona Schenk-Cherry, Holistic EMDR Therapist specialized in Trauma and PTSD

Once I realized and accepted I needed help to move out of my pain, I learned who I really was. I learned to say YES to myself. Before taking that step I was consumed with self-doubt and fear about what would happen if I shared my story with someone.

I never looked back!

What until then was scary and unthinkable, became clearer – still somewhat scary – but achievable. It took courage and determination to show up for myself and do the work. Looking back I would do it all over again! I went from feeling confused “thinking I was going crazy” to living my best life.

Seeking counseling was my first step towards self-empowerment. The relationship to a therapist provided me with a secure and non-judgmental setting in which I was able to freely speak what was on my mind and become clearer on what it was I wanted. I ultimately regained my courage to take the necessary steps into a new and more fulfilling future.

While in therapy I started to follow my intuition. It felt like I had a second chance in life. I returned back to school to pursue my Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts at Lesley University in 2007, focusing on literature and writing. That’s when I first understood how writing and poetry can make room for self-exploration and healing. I completed my undergrad education with a thesis presentation on – Memoir: A Joint Venture of Self and Others through Narrative Exploration.

Still on my own path to better understand the mind and body connection I became a licensed massage therapist, Khalsa way yoga teacher, and energy practitioner deepening my understanding of the importance of a healthy body to aid a healthy mind. Prior to returning for my Master’s in Social Work I specialized in working with pregnant women and their partners offering certified doula and prenatal yoga services.


Looking back to the beginning of my own healing journey over 15 years ago I identified that the support of a therapist, kundalini yoga and meditation, bodywork, expressive art, nature, and poetry saved my life and until this day are the anchors to my mental health.

My whole life journey, lead me to become a therapist and I am so excited to be here to offer an integrative approach to therapy. All my work is anchored in scientific knowledge and geared towards results that last.

I am dedicated to my work with you and look forward to meeting you!

My Approach

Healing that lasts does not only focus on the treatment of your symptoms but takes a look at what has brought you to this point on your life journey.

I incorporate modalities that address body, mind, and soul along with my clinical training to tailor the best treatment for each client. I specialize in assisting clients to reclaim their birthright to happiness. Going through life can become overwhelming when anxiety, trauma, depression, and self-doubt are thrown into the mix. Losing yourself is challenging. And feeling stuck plain sucks.

In our counseling relationship, I see myself as your guide along the process assisting you in your discovery of blocking beliefs, self-defeating patterns, old limiting stories, and identifying anything that is holding you back from living your best life.

I believe a holistic approach is the best approach to address your overall health. Clients have described my style as open, honest, non-judgmental, and supportive. I encourage clients to reflect on self-compassion, radical acceptance, and what their intuition is telling them. Together we than reframe the inner voice and identify what it is you really want and design a roadmap of how to get there.

I want you to know that there is HOPE and you are NOT alone. You DESERVE to take care of you!

Providing individual online and in-office therapy in Richmond (North Chesterfield) and all of Virginia.

Some of the Licensure and Qualifications informing my work:

  • Somatic experiencing informed EMDR (2019 -)
  • Flashtechnique (2019)
  • IFS informed EMDR Certificate (2019)
  • Trauma-Informed Expressive Arts Certificate (2019)
  • EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) Level 1 & 2 (2018)
  • Yoga-CBT Certificate (2018)
  • Maternal Mental Health Certificate Training (Pre-/Postnatal) (2018)
  • Master of Social Work (2018)
  • Licensed Master Social Worker (0903002766 Virginia) (2018)
  • Certified Khalsa Way Prenatal Yoga Teacher (2009)
  • Certified Madrilla Doula (2011)
  • Licensed (exp.) Massage Therapist (2010)
  • Bachelors in Liberal Studies, Lesley University (Literature) (2009)