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Meet Bianca L. Rodriguez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Bianca L. Rodriguez.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
We have to teach what we have to learn. Becoming a psychotherapist and healer blossomed out of my need to heal and understand that I am complete.

You might be surprised at how many mental health challenges I’ve had, depression, anxiety, alcoholism to name a few. These have become my specialties along with treating trauma (which I have also experienced).

I always loved to learn even though I had challenges reading. Why people, human nature and the intricacies of the Universe. My childhood circumstances likely fostered this curiosity about people and how the world works as I tried to make sense of the changes happening within and around me.

At age 3 my parents divorced. Shortly after I developed severe asthma landing me in the hospital frequently afraid for my life. Then my step father moved in and we relocated from Brooklyn to Connecticut leaving my beloved nanny behind. I was heartbroken but nobody

I felt like a fish out of water in my new suburban surroundings. My father a political refugee from Cuba has an accent like Ricky Ricardo, my nanny was Jamaican and I was used to playing with friends of diverse ethnicities. The whiteness of my new home magnified my brownness. I can recall very early memories of feeling different and ashamed. I had to hide.

My need for safety and not being “found out” made me an astute observer. Clinically speaking, I was this ended up being one of my greatest strengths as I’ve been studying human behavior since elementary school.

Being sick so much provided a lot of alone time where I would use my imagination to escape my frightening reality. Imagine being 5 years old trapped in a hospital bed connected to an IV and chest monitors for what felt like hours at a time having no idea if you were going to be ok. I’ve developed quite an elaborate imagination which is helpful when working with the subconscious mind and spirit realms that speak in symbols. It also allowed me to develop my photographic memory. I remember things as pictures so when a client tells me about the time they were bullied in middle school I actually have an entire scene painted in mind including the surroundings, name and faces of the people they describe. I use these images to recall details of each client’s history in future sessions which makes the work flow more easily.

Escapism is not an effective long term coping strategy though because you can’t fool the psyche. Eventually my underlying feelings of anxiety and depression began to seep out.

As school and social responsibilities became more demanding I traded my escapism in for perfectionism in order to function in the world. I believed that other’s validation would make me ok and for the next 15 years I’d become an achievement addict. Getting A’s, becoming captain of the cheerleading squad, a prima ballerina, and everybody’s best friend.

The pressure of it all weighed heavily on me. In high school I found that alcohol was like releasing some air in the balloon. I could breathe. My tumultuous affair with drinking began.

The desire for achievement always outweighed my desire to drink so I was able to keep it together for many, many years. But I was dying on the inside because I couldn’t let the real me shine through for fear of rejection, or worse obliteration. I was always interested in personal development though and spent hour’s journaling, reading self-help books and studied psychology in college. This did not ensure a straight road to becoming a psychotherapist though. I bounced from coast to coast and from interning at a psychiatric hospital to selling clothes on Madison Avenue. It was hard to help others heal when I was still finding my own way.

After a period of stability, I had an a-ha moment while helping a regular customer at the boutique. I realized that I had become her confidant. She trusted me. I listened to her and offered her support. My desire to help people on a deep soul level was reignited and soon after I applied to Teacher’s College, Columbia University’s psychological counseling graduate program and was accepted!

I loved the program and worked conscientiously completing a Masters in the Arts and a Master’s in Education in just 2 years. The day after I graduated in 2005 I moved back to LA and have been here ever since.

My first therapy job was working with the underserved community, primarily foster children that had been abused and/or neglected. I was thrust into becoming a trauma expert right out of the gate. It was then that I recognized I’d experienced medical trauma due to my asthma which had never been addressed. Trauma is defined as any experience in which you feel your life or wellbeing are threatened or witness this happening to another person. Not being able to breathe, being poked and prodded by doctors and left alone in the hospital as a child most certainly met this criteria. I began my journey of healing from trauma which has provided invaluable insight into my work.

Thankfully I received excellent professional supervision in the early stages of my career and continue to work with incredible mentors and teachers. I believe in the wisdom of the elders, seeking input from those that have gone before me. This inspired my Soul Mentorship program where I offer guidance to individuals seeking to step more fully into their full power.

I spent 8 years at that first organization completing the 3000 hour requirement for licensure, being promoted to a supervisor and serving as an integral part of the largest implementation of Evidenced Based Practices in mental health history working closely with LA County’s Department of Mental Health. Eventually I became a director, developed and led my own department of research and evaluation. I had arrived. Unfortunately I was not impressed or inspired by the administration life at the top.

I’d also hit my alcoholic bottom about a year and a half before I left. I was in the beginning stages of recovery which is like being dragged through life naked with your hands and feet tied behind you. I felt exposed, fragile and frozen without my friend alcohol to help me.

I immersed myself in a spiritual program that included building a sober community, admitting my powerlessness over my alcoholism and turning my will over to a power greater than myself. I had a spiritual awakening and realized that I was already complete and my purpose was to serve others by using my wounds and metamorphosis to inspire healing. I became obsessed with how I could weave spiritual with psychological tenets to create amplified healing and transformation in others.

Spirituality is the link traditional psychology misses. Medical model focus on a client’s symptoms to determine what’s wrong with him or her reinforces victimization and puts the therapist in the role as expert which couldn’t be further from the truth. Because there’s nothing “wrong” with you or me or anybody.

Disease is a manifestation of dis-ease. It signals that we are out of alignment with our Spirit, our Truth our innate connection to the Universe. You are the expert and already have the keys to your wellbeing.

I began working in an outpatient program helping individuals suffering from addiction and co-occurring mental health issues. (For the record, I have yet to meet a person struggling with addiction that doesn’t grapple with a mood or anxiety disorder and have a history of trauma). I began developing my unique style of psychotherapy weaving together spirituality, psychology and alternative healing methods like hypnosis, breathwork and energy work. Clients loved it and my colleagues celebrated the amazing impact I was having on others.

I continued to invest in learning as much as I could, serving as the guinea pig for every intervention I offer or recommend. I believe that my dedication to my own transformation is my greatest asset because I’ve transcended pain therefore, can hold space and guide others through theirs.

Now I’m in full-time private practice in Santa Monica. I offer psychotherapy including EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing), breathwork and Soul Mentorship. I teach multiple breathwork classes publicly and at treatment centers weekly, wrote an eBook 3 Steps to Stronger ReSOULutions and am a featured expert in online and print publications like Bravo TV, Thrive Global and the Huffington Post.

I am living my destiny. My passion for learning and dreaming have always guided me here.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It’s been a very bumpy road! I didn’t develop a solid inner foundation growing up so had to as an adult. I was a late bloomer and had significant mental health challenges which delayed my entry into my profession.

When I was applying to graduate school I developed panic attacks. I had just graduated college, moved out of my parents’ house and was working at a group home with severely mentally ill young women. I was overwhelmed and not equipped for independence. At the time I thought I didn’t have what it takes to be a therapist which led to a 7 year break from psychology where I worked in the fashion industry unsure if I would ever return. I needed this time to grow up and do some healing before I could offer help to others.

Once I did become a therapist I often found myself questioning if I was any good at it. I’d wonder, “Am I actually helping people?” This was unsettling at but now I realize it’s is a normal part of the process as I continue my foray into new domains like public speaking, writing and entrepreneurship I realize that’s it’s crucial to question your work regularly to ensure that you’re focused on your Why?

My why is to be of maximum service to others. I take my direction from the Universe. When I feel lost I meditate, journal and pray.

Bianca L. Rodriguez, Ed.M, LMFT – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I’m known for my ability to build trust and rapport with others easily which makes me very effective in treating addiction and trauma. My willingness to self-disclose has become one of my greatest strengths. When you feel deep shame due to what someone has done to you and for your own existence you’re not going to open up to someone that can’t show you their battle scars first. I also carry hope for clients because I’ve been through it and am authentically happy, whole and accessible. I am a living example of the work I facilitate.

Now that obviously doesn’t mean I’m perfect or no longer struggle but I’m able to find the humor in my challenges and use humor to help clients heal. People find this very refreshing.

The modalities I offer to help access their innate healing capabilities are:
Psychotherapy
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Hypnosis
Breathwork
Energy Balancing
Soul Mentorship

Currently I’m excited about EMDR as it’s the most powerful intervention I’ve experienced personally and professionally. EMDR helps shift stubborn emotional and behavioral patterns that develop from traumatic and/or adverse experiences. It’s like the Western version of shamanism as EMDR accesses the right and left sides of the brain integrating information that has gotten stuck in the subconscious so that you can adaptively process it. Watching a client experience an a-ha moment during an EMDR session is witnessing a miracle. The level of healing penetrates mind, body and soul.

What also inspires me is how our personal healing is an act of service to the world. When we raise our vibration we raise the vibration of the planet. With the chaos around us right now I am strongly committed to helping others process their inner chaos so they can stop projecting it out. Soul Mentorship allows me to work with people all over the globe offering interactive and soul-ution focused coaching.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I think the field of psychotherapy is going through a huge shift. As clients become more savvy as to what their options are thanks to the internet they are more empowered to choose what type of treatment they want. We see this same paradigm in physical healthcare. We can now Google our symptoms and learn about various treatments before blindly taking a recommendations from a doctor. We’ve become active participants in our wellbeing and that aligns with everything I believe.

We are also amidst a spiritual revolution. Meditation is a household word and more people are seeking alternative spiritual experiences like moon circles and yoga classes. This has entered the therapy offices inviting client and clinician to discuss what role spirituality plays in their life and how it can support their wellbeing. There is not a lot of professional training on this though so I am finding many therapists reaching out to me inquiring how they can integrate spirituality and psychotherapy. I think we will see more training opportunities arise perhaps I’ll create one!

Finally, social media has become a part of advertising so more therapists are using their feed to discuss their work and themselves creating more transparency. Clients have so many choices and so much information now that you have to show your unique personality and healing approach to differentiate yourself. Last week I was interviewed by a New York based psychologist that is creating a course about how to use Instagram to build your psychotherapy practice as I am one of the few successfully doing it now. Once I figure out a formula I’ll have to share it!

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Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Carol caputo

    September 5, 2018 at 14:50

    She was born to become an amazing women. She will lead us to a better world one person at a time. Blessings

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