Helping to Change the Outlook on Native Communities & Mental Health

AGS Alumnus Lenny Hayes
AGS Alumnus Lenny Hayes

Lenny Hayes, MA, is the Founder/Owner of Tate Topa Consulting, LLC. When he found Adler Graduate School through a mentor and professor, Dr. William Premo, Lenny was still earning his Bachelor’s degree. Much to his fortune, he was able to complete his last class as an undergraduate while beginning the long journey to obtaining his Master’s degree.

What started out as a single degree, soon turned into four years of graduate school, three emphasis – Marriage & Family Therapy, Clinical Counseling, Management Consulting and Organizational Leadership, and a Certificate in Co-Occurring Disorders. However long and grueling a timeline may look, Lenny dedicates much of his success to the time spent at AGS. “In my culture we are taught to stay quiet and not draw attention to ourselves, so I had difficulty doing presentations. The staff, faculty, and encouragement at Adler Graduate School helped me break down these cultural barriers.”

Today, Mr. Hayes has now delivered countless speeches locally and nationally, advocates for youth and adults in the Two-Spirit/Native LGBTQ community, brings to light the lack of data specifically for Two-Spirit/Native LGBTQ communities who have suffered multiple types of trauma from sex trafficking and abuse, and many other accomplishments.

Mr. Hayes found Adlerian theory to speak congruently with the Native American Medicine Wheel Concept and completed his thesis paper on comparative ideals of Adlerian theory and the Medicine Wheel. In December 2013, he was selected to testify in front of the U.S. Attorney General’s Committee on Violence Against Native Children. His speech was not only published but created into a beautiful poem that shines light and begins conversation on youth, Native communities, and the mental health stigma.

Mr. Hayes chose an unconventional route in not gaining licensure. “A piece of paper cannot tell me how to work with my people.” Having experienced trauma in his past, Mr. Hayes’ self-identifies as a Two-Spirt male, helps him integrate his teachings from AGS into his own private practice. His most humbling moment thus far has been able to work with a Native youth who identifies as gender fluid, his parents driving two hours from Wisconsin to meet with him to discuss his identity and understand and embrace what it means to be Two-Spirit. “They sought a Native outreach connection and found me. Through my own experiences both personal and professionally, I am able to help bring voices back to those who have suffered and who are struggling to find their identity.”

Mr. Hayes continues to advocate and lift the curtain on Native communities across the county. His connections before, during, and after attending AGS have left lasting impacts on his commitment to changing the stigma. Adler Graduate School is honored to have been a part of Lenny’s journey and his continued support to less administered areas. To find out more about program offerings click here.