Meet Maria Rivas
I believe personal growth is one of the most powerful and courageous things that someone can go after. With it brings improvements to our own lives, our relationships, and our community. Even if we aren’t looking for opportunities of personal growth, life hands us plenty. Adversity, challenges, life changes, heartache, loss, trauma, are all the beginning of a journey towards that evolution within ourselves. I believe therapy provides the support needed to work through these hurdles to come out of it better than we came into it: with more self-acceptance and empowerment to live the life we want and build the relationships we desire.
What is your process?
When working with clients I believe in an honest and collaborative relationship. I believe each person comes with a unique story filled with moments and interactions that have shaped who they are today. As a therapist, I provide the safe space for them to tell their story and assist them in finding alignment between their mind, body, and spirit. Empowering them to take control of writing the next chapters of their story.
Trauma and EMDR
Trauma comes in many shapes and forms, some a lot bigger than others. Regardless of their size, they all have a way of taking up residence in the mind and having a lasting effect on a person’s behaviors and beliefs. I believe traumas are sometimes stored in the body as symptoms (beliefs, feelings, physical sensations, and behaviors) that show themselves in response to present day experiences. As a trained EMDR therapist, my approach in working with trauma takes a look at how you have adapted due to the trauma, the negative beliefs that come from it, and how you’d like to see yourself moving forward.
EMDR is a highly effective approach to working with trauma that has been shown to bring symptom relief quicker than other approaches. It steers away from the traditional idea that one must talk about their trauma to move past it. EMDR uses bilateral stimulation as a tool to help the client reprocess conscious and unconscious memories and heal through their own innate wisdom, accessing the beliefs they need to move forward.
Adolescents and Young Adults
After years of being a middle school teacher, I am highly aware of the amount of change, judgement, and pressure adolescents and young adults go through. Their bodies are changing at rapid speeds, their responsibilities are growing by the day as they inch closer to adulthood, and the pressure to both “fit-in” and “be yourself” is stronger than ever. I truly believe helping adolescents and young adults develop a deep understanding of their own emotions, a strong ability to cope with the stresses of life, and the confidence to stand strong in who they are can lead them to grow into healthy and fulfilled adults.
Couples and Relationship Therapy
I believe lasting and healthy relationships are built on trust and commitment. Both of which can be strengthened or weakened throughout the years without one even noticing. Having completed Level I and II Training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy, I work with couples in all phases of their relationship to build a deeper understanding of their partner’s psychological worlds, manage inevitable conflicts, and create shared meanings of life.
Incorporating mindfulness into your day can be a life-changing practice. Mindfulness is a way of living in which we are able to step back and be in the present moment, fully engaged in whatever we’re doing. Not only does it help build the self-awareness needed to handle life’s adversity, it also helps increase your compassion for others. Mindfulness can be used with everyday stresses, relationships, and even parenting. As a yoga teacher for over 8 years, I have built a plethora of tools that can help bring mindfulness into your life, including mindful meditations, movement, and breathwork. The more awareness we bring into our lives the more clarity we gain in our own choices and actions.
As women, we’re often faced with unachievable standards and pressure to do all things and do them well. The list of expectations put on us by others and ourselves is endless: sexual/reproductive health, motherhood, being a partner, what our bodies should or shouldn’t look like, educational and career pursuits, our femininity, etc. It’s no surprise that so many women struggle with body issues, low self-esteem, and trauma. I am passionate about giving women the space to speak their minds about these issues and helping them explore their own personal beliefs about what it means to be a woman. My goal is to empower women to take control of their health, freedom, and success.
I believe everyone deserves to live their life authentically and recognize the struggles that might come with doing so. I provide the space for young adolescent and teen members of the LGBTQ+ community to explore these struggles and develop a better understanding and acceptance of themselves.
I was born and raised in Miami. I am fluent in both written and oral English and Spanish. I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Florida State University and my Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Florida International University. Prior to working as a therapist, I spent five years in the educational field as a middle school math teacher. I am a Registered Yoga Teacher and have been teaching for over 8 years now. It was my passion for personal growth and helping others that led me to where I am now.
When I am not working as a therapist, you’ll find me cuddled up with my dog and a good book, roller skating or biking around Miami with my partner, or planning my next hiking trip.
"I believe that healing takes work, courage, and a whole lotta love".
— Maria Rivas, MHC