The Bearing Witness Project is led by two people with a similar passion to name, uncover, heal, and prevent religious and spiritual trauma and harm. Both are therapists-in-training and are passionate about engaging this topic from mental health, systemic, and liberation lenses.
Gabes Torres, MA
Gabes is a researcher, artist, theologian, speaker, and therapist-in-training. Her life’s work is to demonstrate how there’s nothing “post-” about postcolonialism, and that the effects of historical conquest permeated the ideologies, cultures, languages, literature, human behaviors, inter- and intrapersonal relationships, and spiritual practices we have today.
She pursued a Bachelor’s in Historical Theology at the Moody Bible Institute, Chicago because of her fascination towards the birth and growth of the Western church and its significant influence on Christianity in the Philippines. She recently completed a Master’s in Theology and Culture at The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology, continuing with a Master’s in Counseling Psychology, and hoping to pursue PhD work that concentrates on the social psychology of intergenerational and collective trauma. She also intends to study and one day lead therapeutic interventions for the children and teenagers who lost their parent/s from Duterte’s “war on drugs” in the Philippines.
Gabes currently works at The Allender Center, and has been enjoying her time living and growing in the city of Seattle. In her spare time, she writes songs.
Check out her website www.gabestorres.com.
Michael Zuch, MSW
Michael received his undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University and recently completed his Master’s in Social Work at the University of South Carolina where he specialized in providing clinical therapy and developing policy to advocate for young people who have experienced traumatic stress. Michael is also a researcher who studies and evaluates the expressive arts for trauma care, as well social and organizational responses to structural violence. He is passionate about creating spaces of individual and collective healing, restorative and transformative justice, and using research as form of social change advocacy and trauma prevention.
Michael is an Austrian-American from Vienna and currently makes his home(s) in the Southeastern United States. He currently provides mental health and social work services to children and their families in schools and works as a researcher. Previously, he worked in youth sexual violence prevention, refugee case management, LGBTQ+ youth empowerment, and with survivors of human trafficking. He is a classically trained oboist and lover of baked goods, tea, and NPR’s Tiny Desk.
Follow him on Instagram & Twitter: @mtzuch