Today we’d like to introduce you to Skylar Ibarra.
Hi Skylar, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
As I was completing my supervised hours for my psychotherapist licensure, I became pregnant with my first baby. I knew from a very young age that I wanted to have a homebirth. Many of my friends or their siblings were born at home and it just seemed so much nicer. As I joined home birth support groups and felt a part of the community, I noticed a lack of qualified therapists who could meet the specific needs of homebirthers. Since the mainstream still paints it in a poor light, there are some people who feel they cannot share their individual experiences without somehow betraying the community. It is estimated that 45% of birthing parents around the world experience trauma, and yet one “bad” home birth story seems to spread far and wide.
At the end of my graduate school experience, I was fortunate enough to take the Community Resiliency Model training with its founder, Elaine Miller-Karas. The model consists of 6 wellness skills anyone can use as they experience or live with a traumatic event. I would bring those skills to all of my clients during my time as a clinical associate. Trauma is complex, and through further training with the Trauma Resiliency Model, I gained the skills to start meeting people in their trauma and walking with them as they started to heal.
My homebirth experience could have been traumatic. After a 52 hour labor, I had to transfer to the hospital after giving birth because the placenta did not want to come out. I was exhausted and just wanted to hold my new baby, but here were five big firefighters in my bedroom strapping me to a board to get me to the ambulance. And yet, I was able to stay in the moment and within my body the whole time. The wellness skills I would teach to my clients worked overtime for me that day. I also was extremely fortunate to encounter only really wonderful, supportive people–from the paramedics who rode with me to the hospital who said I was a fierce warrior to the L&D nurses who said I was a rockstar. No amount of wellness skills will prevent all trauma. For me though, the skills allowed me to take in the experience and be present for the kindness and care I received.
I now work with homebirthing parents, individually and as a couple, to help support them as they make their autonomous choices in childbirth. Some come to work on past trauma while others come for a safe, nonjudgmental space to process their home birth or birth center experience. Deciding to have a home or birth center birth also means processing a lot of other people’s judgments and fears, I also work with parents experiencing peripartum mood disorders who are looking for someone who understands the world in which they centered their birthing experience. I cannot fully express the depths of my gratitude for being able to serve my birthing community.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Navigating running a private practice while having two little ones at home definitely has its challenges. I am constantly juggling the needs of my business and the needs of my family. Something that most parents experience. I have never been great with setting realistic expectations when it comes to myself, which means I am constantly being humbled by the lack of hours in a day. Yet, this humanity is what makes me the therapist I am. I don’t have all the answers, but I do have the grace to hold space as my clients’ find their unique balance while honoring their needs and boundaries.
We’ve been impressed with Lenarra Therapy, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
The parenting journey is one of the most profound and life-altering a person can go through. It is a mix of joy and grief. I walk with individuals and couples as they navigate this transformative experience. My clients frequently comment that therapy with me is very different than their past therapeutic experiences. My #goal as a therapist is that I become redundant in my clients’ lives. I provide tools from the very first session to make life a bit easier to cope with. So often, the traumas of our past come into the present as we start to parent our children. The responsibility of guiding a new little life weighs heavy on so many. My clients come to me wanting to break generational and personal patterns both for their children but also for themselves. Trying to manage with depression, anxiety, or trauma while also trying to be emotionally present for your child is a herculean effort. I am here to make that feel less daunting and more doable.
By being totally present, I am able to support my clients as they find insight and healing. I use combination of trauma interventions, including the Trauma Resiliency Model and EMDR, to increase my client’s ability to cope with the every day and process the events in their life that seem to follow them into the here-and-now. Combining that with my personal and professional experience with home birth allows me to provide a unique perspective to my clients that is not otherwise being offered in the field.
We all have a different way of looking at and defining success. How do you define success?
Success for me is that last session with a client when they are truly ready to live their life without me in it. They are able to use the skills, insight, and newfound resiliency to face the everyday challenges of life in ways they could have never imagined before our time together.
- Individual Therapy: $205
- Couples Therapy: $245
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: lenarratherapy.com
- Instagram: @homebirththerapist
- Facebook: /lenarratherapy
Caitlin Alohilani https://www.caitlinalohilani.com/