The Viva Center was founded by Julie Lopez, PhD, LICSW, in 2010. An adult adoptee with extensive work in trauma, Dr. Julie saw firsthand how many people went through life feeling alone, ashamed, or even hopeless because of common mental health concerns. She knew she needed to create a safe space where people could learn that their feelings were totally normal—and that they had the innate power to heal.
Over the years, more therapists came to Viva, united by the desire to end the stigma against mental illness and to promote happiness and health across DC. They saw the powerful ripple effect of healing; as one client improved, they passed that growth on to those around them. Because of this, we truly believe that helping others with their emotional health is the key to healing the world.
In 2018, we launched our comprehensive library of free mental health resources, the Resilient Brain Project (RBP). We are constantly updating RBP with podcasts, playlists, research, apps, worksheets, and more. Our hope is to make mental health tools accessible to everyone, no matter their age, location, or income.
Welcome to our community. We’re glad to have you here.
Our Core Beliefs
- You have the power to heal
- The health of your mind and body are completely connected
- You deserve advanced, evidence-based treatment
- Different people have different therapeutic needs and strengths. Whether you’re someone who enjoys expressing yourself creatively, connecting with your body, practicing mindfulness, or participating in brain-based therapies that require little conversation, you can heal
- Band-aids aren’t enough. You want treatment that resolves your issues, not just their symptoms
- Acts of discrimination, including racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, ageism, ableism, and more, are antithetical to the ideals of wellness and healing.
All of our therapists are trauma-informed with experience not only in talk-therapy, but in brain and body-based approaches like EMDR, Brainspotting, Trauma-Informed Yoga, and and more. They come from diverse backgrounds, with experience in emergency rooms, art studios, law offices, and crisis centers. Two things they have in common: they love to learn, and they love to support people as they heal.