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Therapist Spotlight: Renee Villanueva

What made you decide to become a counselor?

I decided to become a counselor when I took a psychology course in college and realized things I thought were normal growing up, were not normal. The more I learned about myself through the lens of psychology, the more I opened up to truly work on myself. The process was hard but rewarding and once I started that path, I had a passion for helping others connect the dots, shed light on issues, and provide tools, resources, and education to others in hopes to empower them in ways I felt empowered.

If you could teach the world one skill or technique to improve their lives, what would it be?

Emotional regulation/emotional intelligence

Have you personally been in counseling and if so, what did you learn about yourself?

Yes. I learned that I struggled with anxiety by not accepting what was out of my control and should have been focusing inward. I also learned that I carried a lot of trauma in my body that needed to be released by processing it through talk therapy and yoga.

If you could recommend one book to all your clients, what would it be?

Setting boundaries, find peace: A guide to reclaiming yourself by Nedra Glover Tawwab

​What inspires you to help others?

I believe we all have a unique purpose in this world & we deserve to be our best selves while doing so. Each and every one of us deserves to live an authentic, happy & fulfilling life.

Who is your ideal client?​

My primary interests are working with individuals with anxiety, depression, chronic stress, trauma based symptoms & diagnosis, career and life transitions, balancing self care, parenting, healthy relationships and perinatal mental health. I am also interested in working with couples who have challenges related to communication, want a deeper connection or break free from patterns no longer serving them.

How do you personally practice self-care?​

Completely disconnecting from everything and being fully present. When I do disconnect I enjoy being outside, hiking or doing water activities, this helps me recharge. Working out, running and yoga are big stress relievers for me and allow me to reset. Spending time with loved ones and meditating allows me to feel connected & helps me refocus. I also have learned to set boundaries with loved ones and get plenty of sleep- boundaries & sleep help me recharge, reset and refocus.

How do you relate to Mindfulness? How do you incorporate it in your sessions?

I relate to mindfulness by practicing it in my life personally. I have not always been great at it but once I focused on incorporating mindfulness in my own life, I learned to approach life differently and see the world from a new perspective. It brought me peace and happiness and is still something I'm consistently learning to incorporate. I've enjoyed seeing the peace and healing mindfulness brings to clients when utilizing it in sessions. It's an honor to see people transform. I utilize interventions such as controlled breathing, visualizations, meditation, self regulation, yoga, and positive thinking. I also meet clients where they are and discuss mindfulness actives that's realistic and catered to their interests and lifestyle.

If you are hosting a dinner party, who are the 3 people you would invite and why?

My mother because she helps out so much with my daughter, her best friend Michelle because she's fierce and my daughter because she would be the life of the party. Between all of us, you have a group of bold, passionate women. :) (they are all living)

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