Get To Know Your Therapist, Tianna Herrera, APCC (APCC 11100)

Tianna Herrera is an Associate Professional Clinical Counselor (APCC) at JRM&A. Tianna has a Masters in Mental Health Counseling and has been in the Air Force for 24 years. She has experience working with children, LGBTQ+, and parents of children with neurological disabilities.

1. What made you want to become a therapist?

When I was 7 years old, my grandmother asked me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” She had me write my response on a sheet of paper, and she kept it. My response was Child psychologist. I guess–from a young age–I have always wanted to help others. Additionally, I was volunteering at the Palo Alto VA hospital with the Soldier’s Angels Organization where we cook and serve food for veterans staying at the VA hospital. I often found myself drawn to speak to people to hear their stories and listen to their military and personal experiences. I was told several times that I should be a counselor. After hearing it so often, I decided to look into going back to school to be a counselor.

2. Do you think mental health is stigmatized in the Military?

Yes, mental health is stigmatized in the military. I know when I joined the military 24 years ago, if someone mentioned “Behavioral health” or “Mental Health” it meant something was really wrong with you. People would worry that they would get removed from their job, their security clearance might be revoked, or they might be judged and/or ostracized as a result. The military as a whole has made a lot of improvements, but we have a long road ahead of us.

3. What does Trauma and Post Traumatic Growth mean to you?

Trauma is an emotional response to an event (e.g., war, divorce, domestic violence, death, natural disaster, etc.). As a result trauma can lead to anxiety, depression, irritability, sadness, confusion, and dissociation, etc.  Post Traumatic Growth are the positive changes as a result of processing the trauma. It is possible to make new meanings after a traumatic experience, but it does not feel that way while we are going through it. There is a light at the end of the tunnel; sometimes the tunnel is very long and dark. However, if people have the tools/skills it makes it easier to manage. If people have a support network and/or a therapist, it makes the process easier.

4. What clientele population do you have most experience working with?

Most of my experience has been divided between women (specifically from Asian cultures) and children with trauma.

5. How do you support clients in their therapy journey?

Validation, active listening, and support. It is very important to me that I create a safe and open environment for my clients. I want them to feel understood, heard, and supported throughout their journey.

6. What is one unique thing about yourself that you would like your clients to know?

I am a military member. I have lived all over the world and it taught me how to be open, take an interest in other cultures, and how to communicate effectively with people from all walks of life (e.g., different nationalities, religions, socioeconomic status, race, and gender). My experiences have helped me connect with others.

7. What makes JRM&A Therapy unique from other clinics?

The JRM&A Staff is unique because we come from different backgrounds, cultures, experiences; we are a mix of different personalities and we compliment each other. When we work with clients we are able to offer a multitude of techniques to reach each client as an individual. We provide personalized therapy for our clients by assisting them with developing a growth mindset. We meet our clients where they are at and subscribe to a collaborative and empathetic approach.

8. What would you say to someone hesitant to use therapy?

Therapy is not for everyone. I hear often that one bad experience with a therapist can make someone not want to pursue therapy again. I understand this fear; however, I feel that everyone should give it a try and see what could flourish or change (for the better) in their life.  Give therapy a chance, and if it is not your thing, maybe you have the wrong therapist.

9. Have you struggled with mental health yourself?

Yes, on several different occasions. Especially when I was going through my divorce. My ex-husband and I went to couples counseling and it did not work for us; I had to work on my own stuff first. Additionally, I was working mid-shifts (1900-0700) for three years and my sleep suffered. I was irritable, tired, and rarely had time to be with friends or family; I was working 12-16 hour shifts, three to four days a week. I was overwhelmed. Furthermore, I struggled with Military Sexual Trauma (MST), which happened several times; I did not take the time to process the trauma or work through it when it happened. I was afraid that if I reported the sexual assaults/sexual harassment I would be judged or ostracized.  

 

More Resources

At JRM&A we lead with compassionate, trauma-informed therapeutic models that are personalized and solution-focused to help support our clients’ needs and attain their personal goals.

To learn more about trauma and how to move through Post Traumatic Growth, download our Post Traumatic Growth Road Map!

To schedule an appointment with us, call (650) 386-6753 or visit our website https://joellerabowmaletis.com/contact-us/.

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