UB Promotes Diversity & Cultural Competency in Counseling

UB Mission: “At Urban Balance, our belief is that diversity is always a strength. We promote and celebrate diversity in our staff and clients. We are an open and accepting community that is welcoming to all.”

“One of my favorite things about Urban Balance is the diversity of our clients”, says Joyce Marter, Founder and CEO of Urban Balance. “I love that we provide mental health, addictions and relationship counseling to such a broad spectrum of clients in the communities that we serve.”

Cultural sensitivity and awareness while working with clients is of utmost importance to the clinical staff at Urban Balance. We recognize that a lack of cultural competence in the therapeutic relationship can have very damaging effects and aim to provide a conscious, compassionate and affirming experience for all clients coming from a wide array of racial, ethnic, religious, cultural and sexual orientation and gender identity experiences.

Urban Balance prides itself on hiring a diverse group of therapists and places value on practicing multicultural humility, self-reflection, and continuing education on cultural competency. Our staff members strive to attune themselves to the complex ways in which their identities and the identities of their clients impact the therapeutic relationship. Exploring these topics in therapy, rather than pretending they don’t exist, acknowledges cultural differences and creates a strong bond between therapists and clients. Further, embracing and celebrating diversity empowers clients to transcend barriers, discover greater happiness, and meet their therapeutic goals.

Language barriers can be a big challenge between clients and counselors, and we are proud to have therapists on staff that speak a second language. Here are some of our bilingual therapists:

Silvijta Barisic, LCPC: Fluent in Serbian, Bosnian, and Croatian

Shalini Lulla, LPC: Fluent in Hindi

Heloisa G. R. Roach, MA, LPC, NCC: Fluent in Portuguese, Conversational in Spanish

Speaking to the importance of cultural competence, several staff members share their insights and experiences working with diverse populations:

Falyn Taylor, PLPC: “Cultural competency is not only a goal, but an ethical lens in which the field of counseling strives to continue enhancing. Working with clients from underrepresented populations, undocumented families, as well as LGBTQ clients is not only a mission, but my passion. Normalizing mental health as another facet of the healthcare field is important, as holistic care and treatment benefits the individual and family. At Urban Balance I support my clients with experiential knowledge, personal growth, and professionalism to ensure the unheard has a voice.”

Heloisa G. R. Roach, MA, LPC, NCC: “I have experience working with LGBTQIA+ clients as well as others of different faiths, ethnicities and races. I also have experience working in individual sessions with clients who are in intercultural relationships. Additionally, I have worked with clients who are acculturating to living in the United States.”

Andrea Stiles, LPC: “I incorporate multicultural and advocacy counseling in my work and writing. I’m currently writing a manuscript on sex, gender, and sexuality among Queer women.”

Gerald Bentley, LPC: “I’m an African-American therapist in our St. Louis office. I specialize in men’s issues and couples counseling. I use my vast background in the St. Louis area to relate to clients. My work and life experiences give me a wealth of knowledge that allows me to build report with clients and understand the demands of our busy world.”

Silvija Barisic, LCPC: “I work with people from Europe as well as central, South America, and South Asia. Many of my clients are immigrants or first generation of immigrants. I definitely understand the issue with acculturation and assimilation due my personal experience.”

Michael Maloney, LCPC: “I take a stance of cultural humility over cultural competence. Exploring and learning with a client how their own unique culture affects their interactions with the world and others. In the past, that I have strongly focused on LGB and transgender individuals and gender nonconforming individuals. I have trained and worked with multiracial/multicultural couples, and have done individual work with international students and immigrants.”

Kiya Immergluck, PhD, LCPC: “I make a special outreach to the LGBTQ+ community working with individuals and couples. It’s been exciting to get to work with married lesbian and gay couples! I have also worked with couples in mixed marriages where differences in culture, religion, ethnicity, race, country of origin, and political preferences often have a profound effect on the dynamics of the relationship.”


“In diversity, there is beauty and there is strength.” ~Maya Angelou



On July 30th, our current electronic health system will transition to a new and advanced system to better serve you: Athena. Prior to the transition date, you will be sent a registration link to create a new patient account in Athena. If you have any immediate questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your therapist, or call our office to speak to a staff member.