- Rebecca Alexander is an author, psychotherapist, group fitness instructor, advocate, and extreme athlete who is almost completely blind and deaf. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, she currently lives in New York City.
No one would blame Rebecca Alexander if she gave up on life. Born with a rare genetic disorder called Usher syndrome type III, Rebecca has been simultaneously losing both her sight and hearing since she was a teenager. She was told that by age 30, she’d be completely blind. Then, at 19, one year after a fall from a second-story window left her athletic body completely shattered, she discovered she would lose her hearing as well. Despite these difficulties, Rebecca refused to lose her drive and zest for life and rose above and beyond every challenge she faced.
Day after day, challenge after challenge, Rebecca stresses how important it is to be grateful for every sound, every sight and every sense. Now, with only a sliver of sight and significantly deteriorated hearing, Rebecca is a psychotherapist with two master’s degrees from Columbia University. She is a Lululemon Athletica ambassador who teaches cycling/spin and HIIT (high intensity interval training) classes and regularly competes in extreme endurance races. Rebecca greets every day as if it were a gift, with her boundless energy, innate curiosity, and strength of spirit leading her to places most of us can’t begin to imagine. As a teenager, she was selected to be an Olympic torchbearer as part of the nationwide relay prior to the Atlanta Games in 1996, for her ability to face adversity with grace and courage. Participating in the 600-mile San Francisco to Los Angeles AIDS Lifecycle ride, summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro, swimming from Alcatraz to shore in the San Francisco bay, skydiving, bungee jumping, and regularly competing in the Civilian Military Combine (CMC) races for extreme athletes are among her extraordinary feats.
Rebecca has a flourishing full-time psychotherapy practice with two master’s degrees from Columbia University in Clinical Social Work and Public Health. She works with individuals, couples, and groups, specializing in the treatment of anxiety, depression, grief/loss, eating disorders, and disability. Rebecca received post-graduate training at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy at the Center for the Study of Anorexia and Bulimia and received her psychodynamic psychotherapy training from the American Institute for Psychoanalysis. Rebecca is certified in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) and also communicates in American Sign Language and Tactile Sign Language. She also currently serves on the boards of Cleveland Sight Center, Disability Rights Advocates, No Limits for Deaf Children, and the Usher Syndrome Society.
Rebecca has been honored with numerous awards including the Foundation Fighting Blindness Hope and Spirit Award (2015), the American Foundation for the Blind Helen Keller Achievement Award (2016), the Disability Rights Advocates Eagle Award (2017), No Limits for Deaf Children Spirit of Leadership Award (2017), and the University of Michigan Bicentennial Alumni Award (2017).
Rebecca’s critically acclaimed memoir, Not Fade Away: A Memoir of Senses Lost and Found received an Indie Book Award and was honored as one of the MS Society’s Books For A Better Life.
Rebecca presented for TEDx Cape May What’s The Story? and has been featured on The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, The TODAY Show, TODAY with Megyn Kelly, Morning Joe, The Daily Rundown, The Dr. Oz Show, The Meredith Vieira Show, One-On- One with Steve Adubato, ESPN (Online), and PBS Radio. She has also been featured in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, The New York Post, USA Today, Huffington Post, ABC News, NBC News, Fox News, People (online), Fitness, Shape, Women’s Health, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Glamour UK, Mercury News and more.
Rebecca is known for her sense of humor, and she is also an attentive listener. Consistently upbeat, Rebecca gives encouragement and inspiration to others who are facing their own challenges, whether physical or emotional, and whether in interpersonal relationships or in the workplace.
REBECCA ALEXANDER, LCSW-R, MPH
Psychotherapist • Author • Keynote Speaker • Group Fitness Instructor • Lululemon Ambassador • Disability Rights Advocate