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Meet Cristina Castrillon

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cristina Castrillon.

Cristina, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I am originally from Colombia and came to the United States when I was four years old. Growing up, we dealt with adversity in trying to establish ourselves in a new country and struggled economically. Being raised primarily by my mother, I learned the value of hard work and altruism.

There are significant moments I can look back on and recall how the helping hand of others and importance of giving back created a desire in me to know I wanted to be in the helping profession. Through school, I found an avenue in which I felt empowered and could use as a positive coping tool for myself. In college, I took an array of social service-related courses and there set my sights on becoming a therapist. For me, it was a way to follow a passion for psychology and help others. I got my bachelor’s degree in Human Services with a Mental Health emphasis from Cal State Fullerton University, where I continued on to obtain my Masters in Counseling. Postgraduate degree, I worked in various settings from community mental health and outpatient psychiatric to working in private practice. I obtained my state licensing as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in 2015 and currently work as a supervisor and therapist for Soultenders, Inc.

Has it been a smooth road?
Childhood had its set of trials and tribulations. We struggled economically and my mother juggled two or three jobs at a time to keep us afloat. It took time to acculturate into a new society. We dealt with some of the ramifications that come with immigrant families struggling to cope with the stress and their own generational trauma. It wasn’t uncommon to have to need the aid of local food banks, generous tutors or doing homework in cars while we waited for my mother to finish working as we couldn’t afford child care. All of those moments were precursors in my passion to help others, particularly the most impacted communities and populations.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I have been doing private practice for a few years now and have loved the array of people I’ve been able to connect with. I do therapy in both English and Spanish and currently have clientele with a wide variety of backgrounds and ages. I have a background in working with trauma and am trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) which uses bilateral eye stimulation to assist with processing and healing of trauma. I use an eclectic approach to assisting the client with what they are looking to work on. Most common issues are related to Depression, Anxiety, PTSD and Bipolar Disorders. Overall, be it directly helping someone in managing symptoms or working through trauma or life stressors – my belief is in providing support, education while increasing someone’s ability to cope and emotionally regulate through their personal difficulties. My greatest honor is having the privilege to be allowed into someone’s journey through their growth and healing.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Los Angeles brings so much diversity and you can experience a multitude of cultures. I feel the people of Los Angeles are open and curious, there is always a new and interesting event going on at anytime throughout the city. We are a diverse and large county and you can travel to different cities within the county and experience a variety of settings and subcultures. I am always thankful for our wonderful weather and proximity to different natural settings. You can drive an hour out and feel removed – allowing escape from the city life. There are always great places to eat and visit when you are ready to explore.

My only dislikes are a void in creating smarter, safer resources for homeless and low income populations. I hope for a better approach from individuals and the city on making the streets and public areas cleaner.

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