Our Story


Healing TREE Board

Marissa Ghavami

(they / she)
Founding Executive + Artistic Director

Marissa Ghavami (they/she) is an Iranian-American, queer artist, advocate and creator based in New York …

Healing TREE Board

Debbie Ghavami

(she / her)

As a co-founder of Healing TREE and the mother to the Founder, whose experience with …

Healing TREE Board

Bruce Hardy, PH.D.


Dr. Bruce Hardy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, approved as a Marriage and …

Healing TREE was founded in 2014 by Marissa Ghavami, Debbie Ghavami and Bruce Hardy, PhD. It was established in direct response to a vast need that Marissa and her co-founders saw during Marissa’s own healing journey after surviving a one-on-one cult and experiencing various forms of abuse. After figuring out a way to get Marissa out of the abusive situation, her mother Debbie struggled to find help for her daughter. Marissa was diagnosed with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) and Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures (PNES) and had endured total brainwashing. With the help of Dr. Hardy, and after countless hours of research, Debbie was finally able to find the proper resources and treatment models necessary that would allow Marissa to make a full recovery.

While Marissa was fortunate to be given the proper resources and treatment and have the support necessary to pursue them, she discovered that a misunderstanding of abuse and trauma in all of their forms was common among the public and professionals alike, preventing countless others from getting the help they need. She further learned that this lack of understanding was incredibly harmful to society as a whole and became determined to do something about it. She set out to create Healing TREE, an organization which addresses all of the obstacles she found during her healing journey, making the process easier for others and paving the way for real change. With the belief that every person deserves to live a life free of trauma and its devastating effects, whether or not they have the resources and support readily available to them, Healing TREE was created.