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Meet Yuliana Nemes

Today we’d like to introduce you to Yuliana Nemes.

Hi Yuliana, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
My story began in Medellin, Colombia. I immigrated to the United States as a teenager. As many immigrant stories, the transition was difficult, the hardships were a lot but also the generosity and help of people, who although are not related to you become your family, are some of the things that helped me thrive here. There are so many parts to my story that it feels difficult to begin to share or know where to begin. But I’d like to focus on the part that led me in the path I currently am.

As a kid, I lived a happy life in a very humble family who taught me that life is a lot about perspective and about being kind to those around you. We had a lot of necessities as kids, sometimes my mom would come home and tell me we were going to have candlelight dinner, which would be cereal for the 5th time that week, and we would do homework pretending that we lived in a cave and only had this little white candle on our stairs. To me, it was so much fun at the time. But now, as an adult and mother myself, I can only imagine how hard those times were for my mom. This is a small example of things that brought her to bring me to the United States, so that I could have opportunities she never did.

Once here, I told myself I would learn English as fast as I could, I exit the ESL program in a year and was able to start assimilating to my new country. Once I did, I knew I had to continue to work hard in school and go to college. I always knew that I wanted to be in the helping professions. But one of the moments that led me to Psychology was when as a teenager I asked for permission to go to therapy to address some difficult experiences that were impacting me at the moment but was not allowed to, because in our culture “we are supposed to wash the dirty laundry at home.” talking to friends in school I realized that I was not alone and I wanted to help fight the mental health stigma in our communities. At 18, I began to volunteer with the Autism Society of America, helping Spanish speaking parents access resources for their families and children on the Autism spectrum. As well as helping to educate on mental health. I also worked as an aide in a classroom and my interactions with the school psychologist motivated me to pursue a career in psychology.

After attending college on and off, working full-time throughout my entire college and master’s degree. I finally graduated as a Marriage and Family Therapist. It was a rough road accomplishing my goals of obtaining a master’s degree, but also it was a road in which I was not alone. There are so many people that have helped me in so many ways, from my husband to the professors, to previous employers who have motivated me to get to the finish line. Now, I am right where I want to be, I own a small private practice and love the job that I do because I get to connect with people every day and create a safe place where emotional healing can happen.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I think most people can relate to saying that there are always struggles along the way. There are so many struggles I had to endure from leaving my family in Colombia to working full-time jobs and going to school full-time while maintaining relationships. But overall, I think one of the biggest struggles for me is always fear. Getting through the fear of “what if things do not work out.” I must constantly remind myself that I have overcome so many things in life and will be able to handle anything that comes my way.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
In January 2021, I decided to leave my job at Loma Linda Hospital to become a business owner and run my own practice. I started my practice in 2020 as a side job. But I am proud of myself for believing in who I am as a person and therapist. I am a licensed Marriage and Family therapist and my work focus on helping individuals and couples overcome difficult emotional experiences and trauma, I have a passion for working with people who have experienced sexual trauma. One of the things that set me apart from others is that I truly believe the therapeutic relationship is one of the most important factors in change for my clients, therefore I am very intentional about showing up as a human being before pulling out all the techniques and interventions that help guide the work.

Some of my most proud moments were being first-generation graduate for my family, obtaining the honor of outstanding graduate during my bachelor’s ceremony and receiving multiple awards during my master’s ceremony. These accomplishments are moments in my life that represent the hard work both physical and emotional that my mom had to do for me to be here, but also my own emotional and hard work to accomplish my goals. Now, with the opening of my practice, I have accomplished a very sentimental personal goal. I am proud to be working and serving my community and people in some of their most vulnerable times. My hope is to keep growing as a therapist and serve my community in different ways such as speaking engagements and through more training to help my clients achieve their goals.

What was your favorite childhood memory?
My favorite childhood memory is having family Sundays at my grandma’s house, my uncles and aunts dancing, my cousin and I playing around or dancing too. All of us having a good time and eating delicious food. Family is so important to me, and I think this is why I enjoy do much being a Marriage and family therapist.

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Image Credits:

Jennifer Bejarano photography

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