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Meet Nayeli Corona-Zitney

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nayeli Corona-Zitney.

Nayeli, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, but was raised in California. All of my education has been completed here in the United States. Growing up, I witnessed how hard my parents worked and found their way in a country that was foreign to them. Witnessing their struggles, sacrifice and achievements has been foundational in my own personal values and work ethic. I have found that my personal experiences have enabled me to better connect with many of my clients as they navigate their own cultural identities.

When I was in High school, I decided I would become a “therapist”. I strongly believe that my own cultural experiences connected me to this field. I was interested in hearing people’s stories of transformation and growth. I have always been drawn to social justice issues and explored with curiosity the ways in which these issues and personal relationships can impact individuals. In 2010, I obtained a Masters Degree in Social Work. Over the last ten years, I have worked in various settings as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. These include hospice, medical social work, case management with teens in the juvenile justice system, and out-patient mental health with children, adolescents and adults.

However, it was not until after I became a mother and personally endured postpartum anxiety and depression that my personal and professional life changed course, ultimately guiding me to my present specialty. After recovering and healing from my own struggles with perinatal mood complications, I was inspired to seek specialized training in this field. In 2017, I completed advanced training in perinatal mental health, and in 2018 I left my full-time job as a therapist at a community agency to open my own psychotherapy practice. I have structured my practice to have an emphasis and specialize in perinatal mental health. In addition to my private practice, I facilitate pregnancy and postpartum support groups in the community and volunteer as the Riverside and San Bernardino County coordinator for Postpartum Support International. Professionally, I have never been happier and deeply love what I do.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I have been fortunate to see my practice grow steadily within its first year. One of the most rewarding experiences for me is when a therapy referral comes to me through word of mouth. To me, this validates that I am working in alignment with my purpose and I am on the right track.

However, this journey has not been without struggles and life lessons along the way. One of the challenges of starting a business is that of managing a business while raising two small children. Although I am fortunate to share parenting responsibilities with a supportive husband, the learning curve of running business is very challenging and time-consuming. Learning how to maintain balance between the responsibility of parenting while simultaneously managing and running a business has been difficult at times. Often times the word “balance”, seems an idealistic, but unrealistic concept. However, I embrace “acceptance” of the fact that there is a constant give and take of my time and attention, and like many mothers out there I am doing the best I can every step of the way.

Other business-related challenges have included learning how to navigate insurance panels. Taking insurance is important to me because there are many people out there who simply cannot afford to pay for mental health services out of pocket, and it is important to me that these services are accessible to those who need it. However, it absolutely does take time, and for me personally was often a test of patience and perseverance to learn the logistics of insurance panels.

On a personal note, one of the most unexpected challenging aspects of starting a business for me has been learning how to navigate social media in a way that feels authentic to me. I have strong introvert qualities, and social media has pushed the limits of my own comfort zone. I have often had to push through my own fears of being “seen”, judged or misunderstood. I have had to do a lot of personal work with these issues. However, my passion and determination to raise awareness of perinatal mental health, trauma, and social justice and mental health as a whole motivates me to continue social media engagement.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
In my psychotherapy practice, I work with adult women and men. During individual sessions with my clients, I support their inner healing by supporting them in exploring painful life experiences or difficult current life transitions they may be experiencing. This leads me to explain more about my specialized training and “niche” in Perinatal Mental Health.

Perinatal Mental Health addresses a wide range of mental health needs that are present during conception, pregnancy, miscarriage or loss, birth and postpartum period. Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are experienced by both women who have given birth and also their partners. Maternal and paternal depression, anxiety, OCD and psychosis are real. This is why in my private practice, I see not only new mothers but also new fathers and partners who are seeking support in managing the stressors that can come with new parenthood.

Deciding to start a family and having children is life-changing, but we don’t talk enough about the physical and emotional complications that can occur in pregnancy, birth and postpartum. This silence and stigma too often leave new parents feeling ashamed and isolated. My message to new mothers and fathers is that YOU ARE NOT Alone! and you don’t have to experience this alone.

I am proud to be able to offer mental health services in both English and Spanish, which enables me to further meet the needs of a greater population of “Mamas” and “Papas” who need and deserve support. There is so much healing that can occur when working with a therapist that can hear and speak to you in your own language. It’s something I value and don’t take for granted.

In addition to my private practice, I facilitate a free Pregnancy and Postpartum Stress Support group that is open to the community at Pomona Valley Hospital. These support groups are offered in Spanish and English on the first and third Wednesday of every month. I am proud to facilitate and offer this support to the community because support groups are hard to come by, and this service is free and accessible to new mothers. Within these support groups I get to witness healing among women as they offer and receive support to one another and there is beauty and power in that.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
“Success”. I’m still working on defining what success means to me. However, I recognize there are personal characteristics that enhance my work with my clients.

Simply put. I CARE! I am deeply passionate about my work; I care about my clients. I don’t take for granted that I have the opportunity to sit across the room from someone and offer a safe space to talk about their own personal challenges and experience. I look forward to meeting with my clients and hearing about how they are doing and look forward to working with them. I’m someone who looks for true connection with people. I’d rather talk about the “hard” stuff than have small chit chat with someone. I bring my authenticity to the room every time.

In addition to this, I’m very motivated to grow and consistently look to expand my own clinical training and practice. I do so by attending conferences, trainings, seeking consultation, and staying up to date on the latest research. This continued involvement better enables me to support my clients. I love what do and I believe my clients can see this. This helps build connection and strengthens therapeutic relationships.

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Image Credit:
Photos by Dana Gaydon

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