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Community Highlights: Meet Kelly Rodriguez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kelly Rodriguez.

Hi Kelly, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I am a Colombian-American woman, wife, mom, and therapist who was born and raised in Colombia. I came to California with my parents and my sister after graduating High School. It was a hard transition and I found myself having to adjust to a new language, culture and lifestyle. I had conflicting emotions and struggled for a few months because I was very grateful to have the opportunity to be here, and I also missed my home and the only life I knew. I had very supportive parents and sister whom made that season in life a lot easier because I knew that we were all going through a family transition together moving to the US. It was during that major life adjustment and struggling for a few months that I began to gain interest in the mental health field. The challenges I faced motivated me to set the goal to become a mental health therapist. I felt that little by little the more obstacles I faced, the more motivated I felt to keep going. It was not easy and it has been so worth it. I started working full time, attending school at night, joined my church community where I met my now husband. Having the right support system was detrimental during the long path ahead.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The journey was very long and due to my immigration status, I had to be resourceful and remember that even taking one class at the time would help me reach my goal. I met a wonderful college counselor who helped me stay focused, no matter how far the goal seemed. After getting married, I continued my education, graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree and started my Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy the following quarter. It was very humbling and such an enriching experience to go through Grad school where I also faced impostor syndrome many times as a First Generation Immigrant. I graduated with honors and I couldn’t believe I had finally arrived after many years. I became a mother shortly after and then faced another major transition of becoming a new mom and working full time. I started working at a Community Mental Health agency working with various populations with a major focus on BIPOC communities. I also decided to join a group private practice part-time. It was at the beginning of 2020 that I had the goal to start my own practice but then the pandemic hit. I had a choice to make and I decided that maybe the pandemic was the exact moment I needed to make a change. It was time to do what I needed to further meet my professional and family needs. I quit my full-time job and opened my solo private practice in 2020. I have been able to serve amazing clients, meet great colleagues, and grow personally and professionally. I focus on serving people of color, first gen, mothers, women and couples virtually in CA in English and Spanish. I love what I do and love that have the opportunity to help break the mental health stigma.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
I provide individual therapy in English and Spanish for women in different life stages including first gen and people of color. I specialize in helping women, mothers and couples who are experiencing anxiety, depression, trauma, acculturation, relationships and parenting challenges. I am proud of being able to now serve the BIPOC community not only with my training and skills but also providing culturally sensitive therapy because of my own background and experiences. When I became a mother, I quickly realized that new parents are not fully aware of how important it is to take care of their mental health during that transition. I then decided to get trained and certified in perinatal mental health which focuses on mental health during the conception, pregnancy and postpartum phases. My purpose is to foster a trusting atmosphere for my clients who make the brave decision to seek help, which is also a reason why I offer teletherapy since it allows the client to step into therapy from the comfort of their own home or preferred location. I offer a nonjudgmental approach utilizing CBT, Family Systems, EMDR and Psychodynamic therapeutic models based on the clients’ needs. One of the things that I feel sets me apart is my straightforward and practical approach to de-stigmatize mental health, that is also reflected in my social media presence.

Alright, so to wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
I’d like to encourage everyone to be curious about their mental and emotional health journey and how it impacts them daily. Have conversations, ask questions, get answers from trusted sources to break stigma and fight stereotypes. I also would like to remind people that it is important to seek mental health support and resources that offer culturally aware services. Finally, I want to motivate those who are wanting to start something new, make changes in any life area, it’s never too late, it is never too hard, and it is always worth it.

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Image Credits

Professional shots PC: Joy Theory Co

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