• Therapeutic Play
• Early childhood development/pro-social skills
• Child/Adolescent Mood disorders
• Attention Deficit and impulse control disorders
My name is Ann-Sophie Villarreal and I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (#121899) who has been working in the mental health field for nearly 8 years with 4 of those years being direct clinical work with various populations. I am concurrently working in community mental health as well as, working in the Emergency Room of a local hospital providing mental health treatment to psychatric and trauma patients.
I received my Bachelor’s in Science from the University of California at Irvine in 2012 with a Major in Sociology while then receiving my Masters in Clinical Counseling from California Baptist University in 2017. While my educational background has allowed me to make advancements within the mental health field, I feel strongly that the most pivotal experience I had in the beginning of my professional journey was working at a residential treatment center for foster youth. For 7 years, I worked alongside foster youth initially as a direct staff, a house supervisor, an educational liaison and lastly, as a clinical therapist to the youth. Being immersed into the world of social services and foster youth taught me many clinical (and life!) lessons far more powerful and impactful than most of my graduate level classes! I learned first-hand from the children how to listen and how to be present, even if it meant simply sitting with them during their darkest moment of anger, sadness or hopelessness. I also learned that it’s okay to not always know what to say or how to say it while being aware that we are all human going throughout life together; and thus, I began to realize how powerful the therapeutic relationship between Clinician and Client was which now remains a constant goal of mine in ensuring that a true therapeutic bond and alliance of trust and safety is cultivated in the session room.
Throughout my time working with foster youth, I began to hear the stories of their childhoods as well as, the barriers and challenges they faced growing up within the walls of their home and community. I began to see how the childs current functioning often times mirrored their early childhood experiences, more often than not, in maladaptive ways which could inhibit their future life functioning if not explored and processed through in treatment. I thought to myself, what difference or change might I be able to support in a young life in order to give them their best chance of success as they grow into young adults? It was then that my passion for early childhood work began and led me to increase my education and knowledge for early childhood traumas, attachment wounds as well as, recognizing the value of early intervention and prevention clinical work.
Throughout the past 3 years my experience and training with the 0-5 population has grown in which I have received additional trainings in the “Incredible Years” parenting curriculum as well as, the pro-social skills training for children in order to foster my knowledge in supporting these young humans and their caregivers. Additionally, I have received training in the “Boys Town Behavioral Modification Program” as well as, “Love & Logic Positive Parenting Solutions” training which has increased my understanding of behavioral modification and parenting support to those raising these young humans. In general, I utilize a series of modalities such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Brief Therapy, Narrative Therapy; however, my true passion for providing therapeutic play to the 0-5 population is an area I hope to further advance in professionally.
I feel incredibly honored and privileged to hold in my hands the tiny hearts of my young clients as I support them on their journey of acceptance and healing, increasing self-awareness and allowing them a safe space to process their traumas & other obstacles they might have endured. I have found that sometimes, these little humans simply need another hand to hold as they walk through the darkness in order to get to the other side where the sun shines bright, they might even see a rainbow or two along the way as they blossom into their most authentic and thriving selves.