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Rhea Corson-Higgs

Mental Health Counselor | (510)205-6407

Rhea Corson-Higgs, a dedicated Mental Health Counselor at Youth ALIVE!, brings a profound commitment to healing through authentic relationships and community support. Born and raised in Oakland, Rhea’s journey is shaped by her desire to address the issues of violence and inequality prevalent in her community.

Rhea’s professional path started with a focus on working with young people. She pursued her undergraduate studies at Connecticut College, majoring in dance and environmental studies, with a particular emphasis on environmental justice and education. Inspired by the need for urban environmental education and justice work, Rhea conducted research on environmental science education, environmental injustice and exploitation, and impact on health disparities in low income communities, both in New London and in Santiago, Chile.

Her journey continued in New York City, where Rhea engaged in environmental education work with high school juniors. In this role, she supported her students in creating environmental justice projects based in their neighborhoods while supporting them with their college applications. She then took on a role as a College Access Counselor, supporting first-generation, low income young people from across NYC in accessing post-secondary education. Her path then led to a focus on post-secondary education and employment support with young individuals with disabilities, providing individual case management support as well as facilitating IEP trainings in high schools throughout the city, particularly in Brooklyn and the Bronx.

Returning to the Bay Area in 2018, Rhea joined New Door Ventures, focusing on fostering employment skills and opportunities for transition-age youth in the East Bay. Her role involved launching and facilitating programs in community settings and schools throughout Oakland, aligning with many of the schools Youth ALIVE! currently serves. Witnessing the struggles of young clients navigating probation and issues of recidivism then fueled her motivation to pursue a Master of Social Welfare (MSW) at UC Berkeley.

Rhea’s connection with Youth ALIVE! deepened when she experienced the loss of one of her 16 year old clients to gun violence. This tragic event propelled her into a role of grief counseling and support for her client’s mother, leading her to the Khadafy Washington Project. Rhea’s constant reflection on minimizing the impact of such tragedies and creating spaces for healing brought her to Youth ALIVE! at the recommendation of her MSW advisor, a Youth ALIVE! alum.

Believing that talk therapy alone is insufficient, Rhea embodies her therapeutic approach, striving for authenticity, cultural relevance, and true trauma-informed care. For her, healing is rooted in relationships, and she finds that creating a safe space for clients to feel heard, seen, and validated is a powerful step towards recovery.

Understanding the impact of trauma on the body, Rhea emphasizes the importance of body awareness to address stored pain and trauma effectively. She sees healing as a holistic process, encompassing access to resources, routine-building, and energy release through physical practices.

Rhea’s approach to her work is grounded in a deep love for humanity, recognizing the inherent gifts and wisdom in each individual. She strives to counter externally imposed narratives, empowering people to reclaim their truths. She describes her work at Youth ALIVE! as both a privilege and a gift, allowing her to contribute to the lives of others through her skills and experiences. Rhea hopes to dismantle cycles of harm by fostering care, safety, and understanding, emphasizing that addressing the societal context and root causes of trauma is crucial for creating lasting change.

Headshot of Mental Health Counselor Rhea Corson-Higgs