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Meet Roberta Gomez-Fernandez of A Space to Pause in South Pasadena

Today we’d like to introduce you to Roberta Gomez-Fernandez.

Roberta, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My journey started with allowing the influence of those wiser and older than me to lead me into what I thought would make me happy and stable. Back then, in my undergraduate years, I had no idea what I was doing. The fact that I had a choice to pursue a degree that interested or inspired me was not on my radar. I was told to choose something that was stable, consistent, and financially lucrative.

So I did what I was told while ignoring my internal dialogue. The possibility of me being responsible for making wrong choices as a young adult was too dangerous for me, so I deferred to those that knew best. As a result, I pursued a Business Administration degree with an emphasis in Accounting. I landed a job at, what was then, a Big 5 Accounting Firm – PriceWaterhouseCoopers., and to my surprise, this, what was supposed to be stable and consistent, ended with my being laid off six months later, due to cut-backs in their most recent hires. I was at a loss of where I went wrong. I listened to all my mentors and those that were smarter and wiser than me. I left the field of Accounting and pursued Mortgage finance. This was a blast! In fact, I miss the mortgage industry and still have fond memories to this day about my time in this field. It was a professional environment I enjoyed because it involved helping people through one of their largest financial investments of their life. I enjoyed being able to educate, provide options, and make people’s dreams come true.

This part of my six years career ended after a business partner relationship ended. This leads me to doing a very “Eat, Pray, Love” thing that was probably the best decision I had made for myself. I decided to sell the portion of the home I owned, put everything in storage, and move to Mexico and Guatemala, with every intention of learning more about the roots of my culture (Mexico) and the Spanish language. I then made a promise to my higher power to serve as a missionary in Guatemala for six months, which I carried through with. It was on this journey, where I was able to be alone with my thoughts, feel bored, have anxiety, experience the holidays without friends and family, and really ask myself what I wanted to do. I had put my life in the hands of people I always thought knew better than me. It was at this point in my life, age 31 years old, I decided to take responsibility for my own decisions and choices. It was on this trip with the people I interacted with, specifically my Spanish teacher that lead me to research and pursue a career in counseling. I returned from my 31 years old sabatical (which I highly recommend at any age) applying for Graduate schools in Clinical Psychology.

In 2012, I graduated and have been in this field of counseling/therapy for eight years. I have worked in a variety of different settings and population. I have worked intensely with people of all ages who have experienced trauma. I had the opportunity to work closely with children and teens in a school setting, that has allowed me to be their advocate and the adult in their life who allows “space” for them to be themselves. This experience allowed me to pursue becoming an author and I had the opportunity to write a chapter in the book, “Dear Love, I’m Ready For You,” and the title of my chapter is, “Do Teenagers Ever Learn How to Love Themselves,” I have also worked with adults, especially women, who are finding their place and power in this world. I get excited and passionate about empowering women and reminding them of their self-worth. I enjoy being their therapist that reminds them of where they have come from and how their story can empower the person they are today. It is important to address those barriers in life that are holding us back from fully experiencing a joyful and fulfilling life. By the way, this journey of being in therapy does not have to be scary or even sad. It can be fun, there is laughter in my office, milestones celebrated, and a spirit of excitement that comes from the journey of self-discovery. It is an absolute privilege to have, “A Space To Pause” from the business of life and reflect on how bad-ass you are and where you want to go with your bad-assness (I made that word up).

The life of a therapist has many opportunities that go beyond the office setting (client and therapist). I am also a business consultant for professional business settings that allows for companies employees to speak to someone (me) that allows a space for them to discuss any issues that may be effecting them and / or their job performance, all in a confidential setting. This benefits both the employer and employee. I love this part of my job because it allows me to bring the amazing service of emotional support to the work setting. An employer that is able to recognize, even the most high-functioning individuals have issues that can impact the quality and enjoyment of their work, is an employer worth giving your all to. Having someone on site, that allows someone to have, “A Space To Pause,” can have long-lasting benefits.

Finally, my life as a therapist has lead me to embark in the most cliche thing I am about to say, and that is to start a podcast. VoyageLA has an amazing vision, telling stories of the extraordinary life stories of those living in the communities we live in and putting us “ordinary” people on a platform. I had a mentor, Benzion Perez tell me once, “You do not want to be the best thing that no one knows about.” I believe VoyageLA is doing just this, lifting up individuals in our communities that are grinding everyday and trying to make a difference. Whether it is one client at a time, one business at a time, or one community at a time, and as a result one world at a time. This is what my co-host of the podcast, Father Francis Mendoza and I want to do. We want to bring ordinary people’s stories and experiences of spirituality (what it means to them) to the masses and put it on our podcast platform. This is a project in the works and we are excited to execute this year. Keep a lookout for it, it is titled – Spiritual Normies.

Has it been a smooth road?
Some of the challenges and obstacles along the way have mostly been the difficulty doubting myself and what was best for me. The difficulty of truly believing that others know what is best for me has been harmful to my self-worth and self-esteem. I have had to do some real soul searching, embark on a 12-step program, enter into my own therapy of self-discovery, let go of friendships, and truly begin to be my own guru. There are so many “how-to’s,” “guides,” “gurus,” etc., that you feel maybe they are the answer to your happiness. It has been in this journey of a constant self-doubt, fear of failure, and lack of self-knowledge that has lead me to many rock bottoms. I have learned from them, I did the work to understand what the lessons were in these obstacles and challenges. Today, I am grateful for each one of them, as cheesy as that sounds, it’s true.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the A Space to Pause LLC story. Tell us more about the business.
My business is one of psychotherapy and business development. I provide therapy, emotional support, and counseling to individuals and businesses. My specialty is working with the following individuals: difficulty managing anxiety, depression, self-abandonment/doubt, relationship difficulties, grief & loss, situational stress, work-stress, adjustment to new reality, and empowerment. I also provide mindfulness and meditation workshops to individuals, groups, and companies that are willing to invest in themselves or their company for a more fulfilling life experience. I am known to provide all my clients, “A Space To Pause,” and reflect on their past and how it affects their present. I am known to journey with you, in a gentle way, to allow for self-knowledge and discovery. Today, I am most proud of my company transitioning to one where I will be able to hire others and provide supervision or coaching to other therapists looking to either get into this field of counseling, want to start a private practice or their own business. I believe what sets me apart from others is my ability to see what others do not see in their power and worth. I believe a woman of color, having grown up in trauma (addict father), and thriving against all odds, has given me the gift of perseverance and strength. This has provided me a skill of fostering other’s ability to find their power and self-worth.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I see the industry going digital. I see more counseling and therapy practices using Skype or text messaging for convenience. I see some big shifts of community healing in addition to one-on-one healing (office setting/patient-client). I see the shift being through a meditation group/studio, yoga studio – (People’s Yoga in East Los Angeles is my sanctuary), sitting groups, group therapy, 12-step support, etc. I hope to be a part of these shifts by offering mediation/sitting groups, mindfulness groups, etc.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 1605 S. Hope St.
    South Pasadena, CA. 91030
  • Website: www.aspacetopause.com
  • Phone: 818-925-0710
  • Email: aspacetopause@gmail.com
  • Instagram: @aspacetopause
  • Facebook: @roberta.gomez.mft
  • Twitter: @aspacetopause
  • Yelp: https://yelp.to/qTKq/MXLglLiL22

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