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The Begining

What drew me into this work, more than anything else, was my own life experiences. I was born with a disability called Cerebral Palsy. At 7 years old, I lost function in one of my kidneys, and at 11, I developed epilepsy. I was teased as a child, had so many medical appointments to go to, procedures and surgeries, I had to do many things my siblings and peers didn’t have to, and I was making sacrifices before I was even a teenager. For so long, life was hard. And some of those experiences were so much to handle, especially for a child. My young brain could not understand all that was happening, especially on an emotional level. For a long time, it felt like life was against me and was simply unfair.
 

My story is one of resiliency,adversity, and purpose.

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At age 13, though, I was blessed to have an experience that set my life on a new trajectory. A social worker came to my middle school for the day to share about her work; her focus of helping others the way she worked with people spoke to me, and from that day on something within me became ignited and really stuck with me. 

It was not, however, a simple and smooth road from there. I can also tell you that I wouldn’t change it, because my challenges (however difficult and trying) allow me now to be a better therapist. They allow me to connect deeply with those I serve, and relate to the challenges so many face through the course of their lives.

 It took me 8 years just to get my undergraduate degree. I was 27 by the time I began even volunteering in this field I was inspired by 14 years prior, and I was 32 by the time I was getting my graduate degree. I kept going, no matter how uncertain and difficult the journey seemed.

My heritage and upbringing is an essential part of who I am. As a bilingual provider, I know there are traditions, stereotypes, and unique challenges that Mexican Americans and other minorities face. I also see parts of myself in my father, who came here at age 18. Something I took from him is what I call the “Gallo Hustle.” He has worked so hard since he came to this country in creating his own company, providing for his family, and more. I, too, take pride in a similar work ethic and am so grateful for the way he ensured our family was provided for.

Something I realized over time is that what I was going through also had an impact on my family. Families don't always have the tools and understanding when someone is experiencing a chronic condition or disability, and this is why I offer Family Therapy so they can both process what's happening and learn how they can better support their loved one.

I feel my story is important to share, so that you know what you get in working with me: transparency, empathy, belief, a safe space, a real person!, and someone who wants you to overcome and become the best version of yourself. There was a lot I needed earlier in my own life, emotionally, and one of the reasons I'm here now is I want to give to others what I needed then. I take pride in being here now for people in a way that I know could have made things at least a little bit easier for me and allowed me to process and understand what I was experiencing.

 

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