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Hi, I'm Hayden!

Updated: Apr 4, 2023

Hello, my name is Hayden Riley! I’m excited to be working alongside such great therapists here at Calderas Counseling. I hope to meet you soon, but first, here’s a little bit about me and my story!

I was born and raised in Burleson, Texas, a suburb just south of Fort Worth. Both my mom and dad made sure my younger sister and I had a great life growing up with lots of love. Family was a huge part of my life, with nearly all of my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents living nearby. I was a bit of a nerd growing up, I loved video games, liked history classes, and played saxophone in the school band.

I honestly didn’t really know what to do with my life after high school. College was expected, so I applied and got accepted into the University of Texas at Arlington. I loved Korean culture, language, and history, so I knew what I wanted to minor in, but I didn’t have the slightest clue of what I wanted to pursue as a major. I changed my major three or four times before I took a psychology elective and thought “Wow! This is fascinating!”, so I committed. Towards the end of my degree, I began to notice that I was struggling, and have struggled for most of my life, with anxiety. It got to the point where it was really affecting my life and the decisions I was making (or wasn’t making), so I decided to go get help.

I can still vividly picture arriving to therapy the first time: my anxiety peaking, in a cold sweat, not even knowing if I was at the right place. Once I made it in and started my first session, it was like a relief washed over me. There was someone there who I could talk to who validated my feelings and didn’t judge me for the way I was. I couldn’t believe I didn’t know about this and didn’t try it sooner! It was at that point that I knew that I was going to try and become a therapist so I could be that type of support for someone else.

After I graduated from UTA, I ended up moving to Houston to finally be with my girlfriend after 2+ years of long-distance. I got accepted into Sam Houston State’s Counseling program and continued my education to become a mental health therapist. Not only did I learn a lot about counseling, I learned a lot about myself too. I struggled a lot with my anxiety and my self-worth, and more than once I contemplated if I made the right choice. However, when I finally started therapy with my first clients, I knew for sure that this was the right path for me. I loved working with my clients to support and empower them as they worked towards their goals. I loved channeling my empathy and compassion to help others with their struggles. And I LOVED seeing their progress!!!

I ended up marrying that girl who I moved across the state for, and we have two BEAUTIFUL fur-babies. I still enjoy playing video games, spending time with family, listening to K-pop and watching K-dramas, cheering for the Dallas Stars, and getting lost in a book. I want to travel the world and experience all the different cultures, get to know the people, taste their food, and learn about their history.

I wouldn’t have made it this far without the love and support of my family, friends, teachers, mentors, and therapists. I hope that I can provide that extra support to my clients here at Calderas Counseling. Thank you for taking the time to read and learn a little bit about me!

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