Co-founders Linda K. Reeves and Andrew Merrell launched the Prism Institute in 2014. Armed with new understandings about LGBT+ psychology and inspired by the victimization her son endured in middle school, Linda met with Dr. Michael Matthews, Superintendent of Manhattan Beach Unified School District. In that meeting Linda explained how non-affirming environments negatively impact LGBT+ individuals leading to greater rates of bullying, mental health issues, substance abuse, risky sexual behaviors, reduced GPA, and diminished rates of graduation and career opportunities. Two weeks later Linda was invited to educate and train the district’s counselors and supervisory staff on topics that would encourage more LGBT+ affirming school environments and reduce rates of LGBT+ bullying. Aligning with colleague Andrew Merrell, the first educational curriculum was developed and presented, and Prism Institute was launched.
Linda k. Reeves, ma, lmft
Wanting to live ‘in purpose’ and use her unique gifts of insight, inspiration and empathy, Linda diverged from a successful career in fashion licensing and business technology sales and obtained her Master’s of Psychology degree in order to become a licensed marriage and family therapist. In her studies at Antioch University Linda was inspired to pursue the LGBT specialization which offered a rich curriculum for understanding the lived experience of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, queer, intersex and asexual persons. This unique education coupled with her experience as the proud mother of a gay son provides Linda with perspectives that inspire transformation and allow for new understandings in those she touches.
andrew merrell, ma, lmft
With a personal and professional mission to provoke the best in others, Andrew’s journey toward self-awareness and self-acceptance is at the forefront of his passion for Prism’s work. Andrew has spent the past decade working within multiple fields of the LGBT+ community, including academics, activism, philanthropy, and public relations. Andrew has been a Commissioner for the City of West Hollywood, a private sector liaison to the Hate Crime Forum for the FBI and Department of Justice, and focused his pre- and post-Masters work in the LGBT Affirmative Psychotherapy specialization. In addition to the Prism Institute, Andrew is currently in private practice psychotherapy and facilitates therapy groups specific to the LGBT+ population.