“Never give up.”
Hi! I am Ileana, a licensed clinical social worker. I love that saying: Never Give Up. It actually has helped me to the place I am today.
As a teenager, I struggled through high school because I had attended elementary and middle school in Mexico. When I arrived in the United States school system, I was placed as an English Second Language (ESL) student, and I was confused about my ability to overcome what seemed like a gigantic language obstacle. I soon picked up English, but it did not keep me from feeling left out or behind by those who could learn openly without a language barrier. In community college, I once again faced hardship, and I continued as an ESL student. I was confused about how the U.S. school system worked because it was very different from Mexico. Consequently, I felt discouraged and unmotivated, and unfortunately, this reflected in my grades. I was told that the community college system had academic counselors, and I decided to visit one.
The counselor looked at my academic history and told me I was better off giving up and working at McDonald’s than trying to graduate from college.
But I wanted to be a therapist! At first, this lack of faith in me was devasting, but I did not allow it to bring me down. Instead, I took his poor advice as a motivator that would drive me towards learning better English, improving my grades, and transferring to a four-year institution.
In the process, I also met a wonderful and encouraging counselor that cheered for me every step of the way towards my master’s degree and encouraged me whenever I felt overwhelmed. These two polar opposite counselors taught me the importance of good guidance and professionals who love their profession and honestly care about who they help.
This second counselor (in community college) had a sign on her wall, “Never Give Up”, the sign was the first thing I saw when I walked into her office.
I genuinely believe it was a sign. “Never Give Up” has become my life motto. I’ve shared that motto as I’ve worked with clients from individuals with relationship problems to burn victims and even homeless youth. Life is not easy, but never give up. And then just see what is possible!
How I work
Clients describe me as thoughtful, empathic, and optimistic. After my story, you can probably see why. I am here on this plane to help people discover what blocks them from being who they want to be. Once we know the block, we can change it! My counseling style tends to be direct yet easy-going, and hopeful, and realistic. My goal is to be so present in each session that my clients and I can find practice solutions and easy ways to implement those solutions. I feel so lucky to get to do this work!
More about me
I love to travel! At the time of this writing, I have visited 19 countries, and my goal is to go worldwide. I love photography. I enjoy being outdoors (I love picnics).
I enjoy so many things, including family reunions, spending time with my Maltipoo, Lucrecia, walking her and taking her to the park.
I am passionate about weightlifting and CrossFit. I never liked or tried cooking before, but now I have discovered grocery shopping and following recipes to be very therapeutic and enjoyable. I still burn my food, but I am getting better. I would love to climb Mt. Everest in a few years, but we’ll see. I enjoy driving to Mexico to visit my parents while listening to music or a good podcast (I have not done it in a while due to the pandemic, but hopefully soon. I miss it).