Therapist offers heartfelt advice to clients at Rio Communities office

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Before meeting a client, Sonia Humerez says she likes to say a silent prayer to ask for guidance and to be able to give her clients the best advice she can during their session, hence the name of her counseling service, Advice from the Heart.

Submitted photo: Sonia Humerez, owner of Advice from the Heart, says the best part of her job is when a client doesn’t have to see her anymore.

For Humerez, who has been providing individual and family therapy and counseling for children and adults for 15 years, this is her first private practice after spending most of her professional life in California.

Before opening her private practice, Humerez was the school therapist at the Belen High School Health Center, which recently closed, pushing her to go into business on her own, even though she says she had been thinking about it for a while.

Humerez said she saw the health center closure as “a big message,” telling her it was time to begin Advice from the Heart, which is located in Rio Communities.

So she got her license in July and began seeing clients in August.

Humerez provides services including counseling and therapy for children of all ages, adults and families, as well as individual, family, marriage and couple’s therapy. She is also a licensed bilingual-bicultural therapist, fluent in English and Spanish.

Some of the areas of clinical emphasis at Advice from the Heart are depression, anxiety, grief, post-traumatic stress disorder, child abuse, eating disorders, suicide and self-mutilation prevention, adjustment and behavioral problems, women’s issues and cultural and spiritual issues.

She is also able to give short or long term therapy, depending on what the client wants.

“I just enjoy working with children of all ages,” she said.

She says, as a teenager, she was very depressed and “no one understood.” When she reached her 20s, she said she began taking psychology classes.

“I kind of healed myself in the process,” she says, adding that it made her realize that, “If I was able to overcome it, perhaps I could guide other people.”

When working with teenagers and children, Humerez said she wants to be able to give them hope and let them know that she’s been there too.

“They respond really well — teenagers,” she said.

Humerez immigrated to the United States when she was 18, and says she had to learn English “from scratch,” while attending the university, which made everything extra challenging, but the reward is now she is able to provide her counseling services in two languages.

The second biggest challenge of her career, she said, is when her client is a child that is being abused, because, by law, she has to report it, even if that means tearing a family apart.

She says the best part of her job is when a client is able to stop coming to therapy because they’ve gotten better.

“The best rewards would be when I see a child smiling again, or getting good grades, or having a better relationship with his or her parent,” she said.

For Humerez, helping people feel better is second nature.

“Whenever I see somebody, I naturally want to help or provide the advice from my heart, even if it means not getting paid,” she says. “I genuinely like my clients and give them the advice to their benefit, not mine.”

She says when she gives clients advice, often all she is doing is providing an unbiased view of their situation, and helping them clear their minds so they can make good decisions.

She says she can’t tell them what to do, but she can help them to see the pros and cons of a situation.

“Sometimes it takes a stranger to help,” she said.

Advice from the Heart accepts Presbyterian Healthcare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Presbyterian Salud, Medicaid and Aetna insurances.

For more information, call Humerez at 688-2146.


-- Email the author at udavila@news-bulletin.com.