I am so excited to be a part of the Calderas Counseling team! Whoo-hoo! I want to take this time to introduce myself and share a little information about my journey of becoming a counselor, so here we go…
Growing up I never planned on becoming a therapist. In fact, the mental health field didn't cross my mind because mental health wasn't something anyone around me talked about. I knew I wanted to help people, but I didn't know exactly how I would incorporate that need into a job. As a child, I thought I wanted to be a doctor or veterinarian, so for the longest time, I went about life thinking I would be some kind of doctor. As I got older thoughts of other occupations crossed my mind, like engineering or something in business, but nothing really stuck to me like being a doctor did. I had always been interested in the human body and mind, so it just seemed like the right path. I went through life with this idea and when college came around I decided to major in biology at Texas A&M University. A-Whoop! During my sophomore year of college, I took organic chemistry, and boy did it sure give me a run for my money, literally. I went to so many study groups, paid for tutoring, and even then it was like my brain couldn't comprehend anything to do with organic chemistry. By the time the second semester rolled around, I had it with that class and changed my major to psychology. Luckily, I'd already begun taking psychology classes for my minor and they just happened to be the only classes I truly enjoyed. I may seem causal about the decision now, but it sure was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. Being a doctor was my life plan, so I was letting go of a huge part of myself. It was like I did not know who I was or what I was meant to do anymore. It was such a scary feeling, and I thought I had control of my life, and then bam! Life happened. It was this moment of changing my major that fate decided to intervene and turn a failure into something that would ultimately become my success.
Of the many things I learned during this experience, there are two that really stick out to me. First, you may think you have your life planned out, but in reality, you are just on a ride called life. Life happens. It may be a cliche', but it is so true. Letting go of control is very hard. Trust me, I know. It is easier said than done, but sometimes we just have to let go because life may have bigger and better plans for us. The second thing I learned is making mistakes or failing is not just OK. In fact, it is necessary for our human existence. Growing up, society gives us the message that we should not fail or make mistakes. I am not sure who decided that should be the rule of law, but that person really needs a reality check. Raise your hand if you have ever made a mistake or failed at something. Heck, I do not even have enough hands for that! I still struggle with this idea of perfection, even though I know making mistakes and failing is just a part of our growth and life. As Thomas Edison said, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work". I love this quote because it really speaks to how we should be thinking about failures and mistakes. Again, easier said than done. Just know I am right there with you. I am still learning, growing, and making mistakes every day, just as I should be.
In 2015 I graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and began working as an Academic Advisor for one of the engineering departments. I absolutely loved working with students, and I felt like I was making a positive impact on their lives. It was so cool to go from being a student to actually helping other Aggies through their undergraduate degrees. After about six months of academic advising, I began to see just how important mental health was for my students. As an Academic Advisor, I was able to help them with their course scheduling, major changes, and much more, but when it came to their stressors and personal issues I had to refer them to the student counseling center. It became apparent to me that only guiding students on their academics wasn't enough for me, because I wanted so badly to help them through their path to mental health wellness. I decided to do some research and asked for help from a friend who was in her first year of her Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and I applied to Sam Houston State University’s Masters in Counseling program. With much excitement, I was accepted and knew the experience would be life-changing.
Have you ever had a moment in your life when you just knew you were doing what you were meant to do? Like you finally felt immense joy and that you were fulfilling your purpose? Well, during my first semester in supervised practicum where I counseled clients for the first time, those were my exact feelings. It was like a rush I have never felt before. From that moment on, I knew I was exactly where I needed to be. During my supervised practicum, I worked with young adults with depression and anxiety, couples with intimacy issues, youth with anxiety and self-esteem issues, and an adult with a traumatic brain injury dealing with anxiety and grief. I then interned with the University of Houston Career Counseling Center and worked with students through career counseling. Career counseling entailed helping students navigate possible occupations, exploring students’ external and internal needs for majors/occupations, and working with students’ on their work and life balance. While I thoroughly enjoyed career counseling, I still felt like I was missing something. So for my second internship, I decided to go a different direction and work with youth and their families at Yes to Youth-Montgomery County Services. At Yes-to Youth, I worked with youth and their families dealing with anxiety, depression, self-harm, self-esteem, adoption, eating disorders, sexual assault, ADHD, LGBTQ+ issues, crisis intervention, and much more. I also co-facilitated a grief group for high school students.
While I am not working, I like to play with my two dogs, Bentley and Lincoln. There really is nothing like coming home each day to two pups that are always excited and happy to greet you.
My husband and I love to go to the park with our dogs, watch movies and Netflix, play video games, and eat Mexican food. We also enjoy spending time with our families, especially when we have huge get-togethers. During my free time, I also love to read. I have been on a mystery/thriller kick for the past few years, but I also like dystopian and young adult books.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed getting to know me!