Connect
To Top

Daily Inspiration: Meet Naomi Tapia

Today we’d like to introduce you to Naomi Tapia.

Hi Naomi, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I am Naomi Tapia, a sister, daughter, therapist, and friend. I am a child of Mexican immigrants and a first-generation college student. I love all my intersecting identities, but unfortunately that wasn’t always the case.

Given that my parents only spoke Spanish, Spanish was my first language. I had to learn English in elementary school, which made it difficult for me to make friends. At around the same age, I was sexually assaulted by a family member, which triggered panic attacks and anxiety for many years.

Through elementary school and junior high, I was bullied for my size and the birthmark on my face. By the time I was in high school, the unresolved trauma from my past manifested in depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and an eating disorder. I struggled with bulimia from 9th grade to about 12th grade. Simultaneously, I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder by age fifteen. Luckily, this is also the same time that I went to therapy for the first time. I had a wonderful therapist that helped me heal tremendously, and because of her I decided I wanted to be a marriage and family therapist. Through the remainder of high school, I did my very best to ensure that I was gaining skills to be a future therapist. I was a peer counselor for my high school and took AP psychology.

Unfortunately, when I got to college things didn’t necessarily get any easier. I struggled a lot with imposter syndrome, and being on my own for the first time, in a predominantly white city. All throughout undergrad, my disordered eating continued. On top of this, my family was in a majorly traumatic car accident. Without getting into too much detail, I will say my family experienced first-hand the difficulties of navigating the “justice” system. The trauma from this accident led me to experience suicidal ideation, which luckily, I got help for and healed from!

During my last semester of undergrad, I applied to graduate school for my Master of Science in Counseling to become a marriage and family therapist. By the time I graduated college, I had lost my grandfather and grandmother, which was the first time I had ever experienced such a personal loss.

All these experiences further fueled my desire to be a therapist and help anyone who had been so deeply impacted by any similar struggles.

I was thrilled when I was accepted into Cal State Fullerton’s graduate program! Unfortunately, during my first semester of graduate school, I lost my mom suddenly and tragically to a car accident. My mom was my best friend, and therefore losing her drove me to a breaking point. I fell back into a severe depressive episode and attempted suicide twice. Luckily, I had a supportive community that helped me heal and find peace with my grieving.

During my last year in graduate school, I moved back in with my dad to help him raise my sister, who was 9 at the time. I am now a caregiver for a 12-year-old girl and it has been nothing short of interesting!

Although it has been a wild journey, I am proud of the life I have lived and the healing I’ve done. I am at peace with my body, and continuously healing from my trauma. I embrace myself, my life, and my story.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
I wouldn’t say my journey has been smooth, but I am very grateful for the support I’ve had throughout everything I’ve experienced. I think the overarching difficulty that I had throughout my life was that my parents did not fully understand mental health. It wasn’t until I studied psychology and Human Services in college that I was able to explain to them the science behind my struggles with mental health in a way that they understood. But when I finally did, they were extremely supportive of my healing. I acknowledge that without my family, friends, and therapists, I’m not sure I would be here today. I’m eternally grateful for my community.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I am an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in eating disorders, disordered eating, negative body image, low self-esteem, Latinx/e community, and identity formation. I work through a feminist and person-centered lens, meaning that I take all sociocultural factors and intersecting identities into consideration when treating clients. I believe self-disclosure can be very healing and truly help strengthen the therapeutic relationship. Through my many experiences of facing discrimination, I have found that the best approach for healing is through acceptance and love. Thus, I am a Health-At-Every-Size, fat positive, LGBTQ+ affirming, and sex-positive clinician who welcomes all ages and genders.

I am a board advisor for an organization (Body Liberated Buffalo) in Buffalo, New York. I am a proud published contributor for some books published by Cengage and the American Counseling Association (ACA). You can find some of my writing in:

• ACA’s Clinical Supervision in the Helping Professions (2020)

• ACA’s Counselor Self-Care (2017)

• CENGAGE Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy – Mindtap Textbook Video for Existential Therapy

You can also find me on Instagram @yourLatinxHAEStherapist!

Have you learned any interesting or important lessons due to the Covid-19 Crisis?
I have always known that community is extremely important, but this pandemic has further reinforced just how important connection and creative outlets are. I’ve fallen deeper in love with music and self-expression as a whole.

Pricing:

  • Therapy sessions with me are $120/ session, but I do offer some sliding scale spots.

Contact Info:


Image Credits:

@ashmendozaphoto Ashley Mendoza

Suggest a Story: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in local stories