Maria is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and earned her Master of Social Work Degree from the University of Southern California with an advance practice concentration on Mental Health.
Maria specializes in the treatment of children, adolescents and adults and in her 7 years of practice, she has been providing an array of comprehensive mental health services including individual, group, and family counseling, substance use counseling, case management and crisis intervention. Maria’s experience across multiple settings include providing services juvenile court schools, traditional schools, juvenile correctional facilities and community mental health clinics. She has experience in the treatment of mental health issues including trauma & PTSD, depression, anxiety, grief and loss, relationship issues, family conflict, gang involvement, behavioral issues, substance abuse, suicidal ideation and self-harming behaviors.
Maria considers herself an eclectic therapist. She incorporates evidenced based practices into her work with clients and she individualizes her techniques and approaches to best address the needs of her clients. Her treatment techniques primarily derive from Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Solution Focused Brief Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Exposure Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
Maria believes that her clients are the experts in their lives. Therefore, her work starts with understanding each individual client, holistically, to best assist them in meeting their desired goals in therapy. For Maria, her therapeutic relationship with clients is the heart of her work and it’s what allows her clients to progress. It is through her personalized treatment approach with each client that she believes has achieved success in helping clients overcome and manage struggles, while strengthening their relationships and connectedness within their loved ones.
Apart from her clinical work, Maria has also been involved in educating the local community and local County agencies on topics related to mental health. Maria has been involved in the development and implementation of community psychoeducational groups and she has partaken in the implementation of evidenced-based curriculum for mental health trainings provided to parents, school personnel and the Orange County Probation Department. Maria has extensive experience conducting parent trainings and workshops to increase awareness of mental health concerns amongst adolescents in order to help adults distinguish typical adolescent behavior from concerning behavior, while combating stigma around mental health needs.
Maria has also been a collaborative and active participant in the development of a scientifically based program for youth serving short-term commitments in an Orange County juvenile correctional facility. Her program integrates evidence-based concepts including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Stages of Change and Criminogenic Needs to teach leadership skills and relapse prevention. Following her research, curriculum development, and program design contributions, Maria facilitated training OC Probation Department personnel on trauma and the brain, along with other foundational areas of the program. Due to her impactful work, Maria was honored with the Orange County Probation Chief’s Award.
Maria values contributing to the field of Social Work and invests in serving as a clinical supervisor for undergraduate and graduate level interns. She is actively involved in providing annual training on suicide assessment, safety planning and suicide prevention. Maria also serves as a guest speaker at California State University, Fullerton where she educates students on social work practice.
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Maria is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, LCS 88348, in the State of California. Contact Maria: Via email at [email protected] – Via telephone at 657.500.3526