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Meet The Team

Woman Centered Counseling

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Chantell Prestcott-Hollander, M.Ed, LCPC, NCC
Founder

Chantell Prestcott-Hollander is a passionate advocate for all people and especially women looking to develop the tools to access and grow their own strength, inside and out. With a diverse background in counseling, education, fitness, and self-defense, she brings a unique perspective to her work.

 

Having started her career in education 20 years ago, Chantell transitioned to counseling over 10 years ago to make a more individual impact on students' lives. With a master's degree in counseling from UMASS-Boston and postgraduate work/continued education in Behavioral Analysis from Penn State, she holds a National Board Certification as a counselor and is both a licensed clinical therapist as well as a school counselor in Maryland. She draws on her firsthand experience and the latest research on the development of girls and women to inform her practice and work with women. Chantell dedicated the past decade to working in an all-girls school, where she emphasizes the power of female-centric communities for growth and strength.

 

In addition to her counseling expertise as a trauma-informed therapist, Chantell is a licensed yoga instructor, a Krav Maga black belt, Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu blue belt, and a personal trainer. She spent nearly 15 years teaching and training with both men and women in fitness and self-defense and witnessed firsthand the transformative potential of physical training, particularly for those who experienced trauma. She utilizes these diverse backgrounds to provide valuable insights on emotional and psychological responses in self-defense scenarios, as well as to understand the predatory mindset. She teaches this content regularly in the Washington DC area and leads programs on self-protection at both American and Georgetown University.  

 

As the founder of The StrongHER® Initiative - An organization focused on connecting and strengthening women through therapy, coaching, education, and self-defense - Chantell combines her counseling background with her expertise in self-defense to connect and strengthen women from the inside out. Her commitment to a holistic approach to healing and growth is evident in her work, where she guides individuals and groups toward deeper connection and personal development through therapy, education, and physical training.

 

Chantell is also a program director and a lead instructor at Krav Oz, a self-defense and fitness center she operates with her husband in Montgomery County, Maryland. She holds top certifications as a Personal Trainer, Corrective Exercise and Behavior Change Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). 

 

When she's not at the gym or teaching, she can be found spending time with her two teenage boys, or with her rescue German Sheppard, Zoey. Chantell's upbringing as a military brat and the oldest of eight children instilled a sense of discipline and resilience in her. Moreover, her unique upbringing fostered a deep appreciation for community, diverse cultures, and a love of learning and travel. She enjoys sharing these various facets of her life along with professional insights on social media @chantellprestcott.

Heather McKenna, M.A.,  LCPC

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Heather McKenna is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in the state of Maryland as well as a Board Approved Supervisor for Maryland Counselors.  Heather is also an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) practitioner, and a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional.  Heather holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology/Criminology and a Master’s Degree in Counseling.  For more than 30 years she has come alongside women in all stages of life, and in virtually every mental health setting including inpatient, outpatient, community settings, clinic and shelter settings, residential, and private practice.  Her areas of practice and experience include Trauma and Trauma Informed Counseling, Sexual Assault Recovery, Life Transition and Adjustment Counseling, Bereavement and Grief Work, Career and Lifestyle Counseling, Anxiety and Mood Disorders, and treatment of Psychotic Disorders and Severe Persistent Mental Illness.  Heather’s primary theoretical approach is Person Centered, which means that the focus of therapy is on the client’s capacity and responsibility to discover ways to live more fully. This approach works on the premise that individuals hold within themselves both the ability and the drive to live in the way that is most functional, most productive, and most fulfilling for them.  She believes the role of the Counselor is to provide a safe and genuine space and to join that individual in a process of uncovering and developing strengths while discovering their own healthiest way of doing life.

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Chantell
Heather
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Elizabeth Armato

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Liz first fell in love with Krav Maga after taking a women’s self defense class with Chantell several years ago.  She has always been dedicated to training as much as she can.  Liz trained as much as possible and wholly dedicated herself to her craft early on and passed Krav Oz’s level one test just five months after starting her Krav Maga journey and became a Fit to Fight Krav Maga/Defensive Options certified coach shortly after!

 

Liz is incredibly passionate about teaching women and girls and has taught in the the Women's self-defense program at Krav Oz for 4 years. She has assisted with seminars at area universities and with various girl scout and mother daughter groups. Her energy is infectious and she’s both tough and encouraging at the same time. Her positive attitude and caring nature shows in the way she interacts with every student.

Liz

Cathy Tran

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Cathy is a lifelong martial artist and has always been passionate about martial arts and physical fitness. She was introduced to Krav Maga by Chantell at her local gym several years ago and fell in love with it. Cathy has also trained in several martial arts, where she holds a brown belt in Tae Kwon Do and a brown/black belt in Karate.

Cathy is a certified Level 1 Fit to Fight defensive options / Krav Maga instructor at Krav Oz. She has passionately instructed adults and even the youngest learners in self-defense and fitness over the last 4 years. She is also an assistant instructor for the women self-defense program at Krav Oz, and has assisted with women's self-defense seminars at area universities. Cathy is passionate about helping women find fun and engaging ways to grow their physical strength and through functional fitness and self-defense.

Cathy

Zoey

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Although not an officially trained therapy dog Zoey has so much to offer in the form of love and inspiration.

Zoey, due to no fault of her own found herself surrounded by humans who didn't appreciate her. She, like so many women, was told she was 'too much.' Zoey even tried to run away at one point, but was rehomed to another abusive situation, and was once again met with neglect. Neglected because she was 'too much.'  Like many women who need out of a difficult situation, Zoey just needed a little help.

 

At Zoey's final visit to the shelter after a neighbor intervened, it was found out she has Lyme disease and heartworms. Her ears were disfigured from fly bites and her tail was badly injured.  But Chantell met Zoey via zoom (during the height of the COVID pandemic) and knew instantly that this dog was meant to share her home. 

Although Zoey still struggles with anxiety and is understandably fearful around many things, she is learning to be strong and brave. Every day she is facing her fears large and small. She is even on the road to a full physical recovery.

 

All Zoey needed was someone who understood her. Zoey has never for one moment been 'too much' she just needed understanding and love. She has overcome and is proving that her past does not determine her future, and because of that, Zoey is learning every day how to ask for what she needs, and get what she wants and deserves!  We hope Zoey will inspire you to do the same. 

You will occasionally find Zoey at the gym greeting guests or 'helping' Chantell train. 

Zoey

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