Linda Mona has lived with an auto-immune condition that caused her to start using a wheelchair when she was a teenager.
Her experiences have enabled her to view life from the perspective of a person with a disability.
As a result, she has started a new business, Inclusivity Clinical Consulting Services in Rolling Hills Estates, which encourages people with disabilities to take pride in who they are and enjoy living.
“It was always the dream to be able to have my own business that would offer both consulting and clinical services, such as psychotherapy and group therapy, things that I’m trained to do,” said Mona, who has a PhD in clinical psychology.
ICCS is unique because it specifically targets its services to include people of diverse backgrounds, such as those with chronic health issues, people from diverse ethnic backgrounds and people who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
“I am hoping to not only widen my outreach to the disability community but attract other people who have diverse identities,” the Rancho Palos Verdes resident said. “I think the questions that should be asked is what social lens are people looking through and why is it that people don’t feel like they fit in?”
Mona, who launched ICCS in January, said that the biggest motivation behind starting the company was to provide services to people in the local community who felt marginalized.
“I wanted to do something that could expand my outreach to people with disabilities and other disenfranchised groups of people in this area,” she said. “Inclusivity means that it’s intentionally including everyone, and for the majority of society, people are used to being marketed to, but many others have not felt included in this way.”
Services that will be offered range from health psychology to sex therapy to forums on accessibility.
“Right now, ICCS envisions disability accessibility broadly, and it’s not just about wheelchair accessibility, but reasonable accommodations for the various forms of disabilities, like have written materials available in alternative formats,” Mona said. Mona’s husband, Harold Hunter, who has experience in accounting and understands the tax ramifications of running a business, will lend his professional support to the practice.
“In my previous jobs, there was no interest in helping the community,” Hunter said. “Here, we have a focus on reaching out to the community first with social advocacy as a hallmark of ICCS, but also understanding that we need to create a viable business plan.”
He added that Mona, whom he has two children with, will provide a great benefit to the area through the practice.
“What sets her apart from other psychologists is that she can look at people and identify what they want individually as opposed to taking the cookie-cutter approach to everything,” Hunter said. “Linda has a tendency of looking at things from the point of view of a person who has a disability.”
For Mona, the bottom line is making sure her clients feel integrated into society rather than feeling isolated from it.
“The foundation of this company will be how we provide services and education to people in a way that makes them feel like they’re part of the conversation,” Mona said.
Robert Doss is a freelance reporter and regular contributor to the News.