Meet the Co-Founders

How Rachel and Jor-El, two seemingly opposite people, became friends and business partners.

The Story

At first glance, it doesn’t appear that Rachel and Jor-El would have connected. They’re pretty different people! But after surviving graduate school, the type A, always on the go Rachel and the zen, deliberate, calming Jor-El found themselves spending a lot of time together. This included regular Sunday afternoon Yankees games, where they had plenty of opportunity to sit and chat, as well as fantasize about what it would be like to run a business together. It was their answer to the “What would you do if you won the lottery?” question, but it wasn’t until 2017 that they decided to make their dream a reality.

Rachel had been pretty unhappy at her job at the time, and inspired by a good friend and NYC Marathon training, sent Jor-El a GChat one day and told him it was time. Jor-El was game and thus, Viva was born.

Fun fact: it took more effort than planned to come up with a name, so Jor-El appropriately came up with the temporary name “Defiance”. All the Scandal (and Shonda Rhimes) fans out there, that one’s for you.

Rachel Gersten, LMHC, LPCC

Co-Founder (SHE/HER/HERS)

Rachel is a licensed therapist with a passion for increasing access to healthcare and helping people lead their healthiest lives.

A five time marathon finisher and black belt in martial arts despite managing a chronic illness, she knows the difference a compassionate and supportive healthcare provider can make in someone’s life. She is dedicated to working with her clients collaboratively to learn what they personally find helpful rather than taking a generic, “by the book” approach.

She is dedicated to building and supporting a team of counselors at Viva with the mission of making therapy more inclusive and accessible to as many people as possible.

When she’s not working, you can find her on the run, cheering on her sports teams, or thinking about the next time she’s going to eat.

Jor-El Caraballo, LMHC

Co-Founder (HE/HIM/HIS)

Jor-El is a southern bred, NYC made mental health professional, who brings a comfortable approach to his work with clients. He spent his undergraduate years at the University of North Carolina Wilmington where he studied psychology. After college, he traveled across the United States delivering sexual assault prevention education programs to colleges and military bases to help empower men to prevent sexual assault and be effective bystanders. He then attended Columbia University where he received master’s degrees (M.A., Ed.M) in Psychological Counseling.

Jor-El believes that true wellness is about taking care of the person as a whole. He has experience working with clients on racial/cultural issues, LGBTQ+ concerns, and mindfulness.

When he’s not meeting with clients, you’ll probably find him on the hunt for his next spicy meal, strolling through the city with his pup, Nomi, and watching movies for stress relief.

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