Begin and Continue
Claudio Barrientos, LMSW
Supervised by Christina Philburn, LCSW-S
Claudio was raised in Spain and Connecticut. He is an avid traveler with an endless curiosity of people, culture, food, philosophy, and psychology. He received his undergraduate degree in Philosophy & Theology from University of San Francisco, and his master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Texas San Antonio. Currently, Claudio is a Licensed Master Social Worker.
As a therapist, Claudio’s approach is informed by both his personal practice of mindfulness meditation, and his desire to make mindfulness relatable to anyone seeking relief from the daily stressors of life.
Claudio’s path in the helping profession began in 2010 when he became a certified Mindfulness Instructor.
Since that time, he has been on a mission to integrate his education in mindfulness with therapeutic interventions such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Claudio has worked with adolescents and adults in a DBT Intensive Outpatient Program, provided mental health services in Spanish to unaccompanied minors in the Office of Refugee Resettlement, and taught mindfulness to thousands of people across boardrooms, classrooms, and the general public.
Choosing the “right” therapist can be a daunting process. With so many to choose from, it can be difficult to sift through their profiles and make sense of their background, credentials, and therapeutic approaches. If you find yourself reading these words and feeling overwhelmed by this process, go ahead and just take a pause.
Simply pause and notice your breath.
Rest in this space for a few moments.
What matters now is that you are here. Perhaps feeling a little overwhelmed, but perhaps also feeling curious or motivated by what may come next. No matter how you are feeling, I welcome you and the potential of working together.
How I Work
Our work together begins and ends with you. This starts by creating a space that is safe, welcoming, and nurturing. As we meet and get to know each other, we engage in a collaborative process of personal exploration. I like to ask questions, engage in dialogue, and provide various experiential practices you can use during and after each therapy session. I know asking yourself to intentionally explore big emotions or difficult life experiences may feel scary or intimidating, but it may be helpful to know that this process moves gently, patiently, and always at the speed of your trust.
I believe the goal of therapy is to learn new, skillful ways to be with your mind and body. This new way of being is grounded in mindfulness, and in your inherent capacity to become increasingly aware of the fluid, changing, and dynamic relationship between your thoughts, emotions, and behavior. This is at the heart of what we do together.
People come to see me for various reasons, including experiencing uncertainty about the future, feeling stuck in a pattern of low mood or lack of motivation, experiencing burnout by the demands of work and/or family, or even because they simply desire learning new mind/body skills to help them thrive in this modern world. No matter what unique circumstances bring you to see me, I am here for you.
I believe the goal of therapy is to learn new, skillful ways to be with your mind and body. This new way of being is grounded in mindfulness, and in your inherent capacity to become increasingly aware of the fluid, changing, and dynamic relationship between your thoughts, emotions, and behavior.
What made you decide to become a counselor?
When I became a mindfulness instructor, I found myself working with many therapists. Through my work with them, I developed an increasing desire to formalize my mindfulness education with the modern tools and interventions of traditional Western science. The study of social work provided me with the perfect opportunity to integrate my passion to help people with my interests in psychology, biology, politics, economics, and culture.
If you could teach the world one skill or technique to improve their lives, what would it be?
To acknowledge what is present in your mind/body and to not cling to it. This is called the skill of letting-go. When we practice the skill of letting-go, we begin to gain deep insight about the nature of all human experience as temporary, passive, and fleeting.
Have you personally been in counseling and if so, what did you learn about yourself?
I have not participated in formal one-on-one counseling, but I will be starting the process of looking for a therapist in the coming months. As a therapist, I do believe this is an important step in my professional and personal development.
If you could recommend one book to all your clients, what would it be?
“Beginner's Mind” by Shunryu Suzuki, founder of the San Francisco Zen Center.
What inspires you to help others?
When I immigrated to this country, I received a lot of help from others. Initially, my desire to help others was founded in my desire to somehow pay back others for the help I received. As I got older, this changed a little bit. Now, my inspiration to help others is grounded in an understanding of the interrelated and interdependent nature of all human life. I help others because doing so helps all humanity.
Who is your ideal client?
A person who is curious, genuine, and not afraid to be vulnerable.
How do you personally practice self-care?
My daily mindfulness meditation practice serves as my foundation to self-care. This practice entails a formal morning sit of 25-30 minutes. During this time, I practice a few minutes of concentration meditation and then open awareness meditation. I know these terms may sound unfamiliar, but to put it simply, all I am doing is sitting with my breath for a few minutes, and then sitting with my breath, and whatever else arises in my field of awareness. This could be my breath, a body sensation, a thought, an emotion, you name it.
How do you relate to mindfulness? Give an example of how you incorporate it in your sessions.
The body is always present - the mind not so much. We begin the exploration of mindfulness through the doorway of the body and the five senses. At any moment, simply dropping into the direct experience of the body feeling, the ears hearing, the eyes seeing, the nose smelling, or the mouth tasting is a direct way to savor mindfulness in the moment. Want to be more present in your life? Be present for the moment by moment experience of the body and the five senses.
Your favorite quote?
“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows” -Bob Dylan
If you are hosting a dinner party, who are the 3 people you would invite and why?
Nietzche, Buddha, and my grandmother. Three people who have shaped my life.