This post is written by Marissa Tolero, the new Clinical Director at Bespoke Wellness Partners. Please give her a warm welcome!
The best way for me to introduce myself is to tell you my story so you can know how I came to therapy and yoga and why I offer it to others.
Between the ages of 12-15 years old, all four of my grandparents, two close friends, and my cousin passed away. At 13 years old, I was violently attacked and at 14, I was arrested for stealing alcohol.
Until I was 14 years-old, I was a dedicated competitive gymnast, training 25-30 hours a week and traveling to competitions almost every weekend. I was already struggling with depression and anxiety (especially perfectionism and social anxiety) by the time those traumatic events occurred in my early teens.
I started going to therapy when I was 8 years-old and continued it for the next ten years until I moved away to college. My therapist was there for me through those difficult times and she helped me save my own life. She gave me tools to keep my mental health, well, healthy, that I still use today as well as the inspiration to pursue the field as a career.
At 18, a few years after quitting gymnastics due to a knee injury and away at college without my therapist, I started going to yoga. It was exactly what my body and soul needed and I have practiced it regularly since, for the past 12 years.
I now hold a Bachelor’s in Psychology and Social Behavior from the University of California, Irvine and a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling from the City College of New York. I am also a Certified Yoga Instructor through Three Sisters Yoga at the 200-hour level.
I have spent the last five years as a counselor on a college campus where I worked to bring resources, support, and therapy to the students. Today I work in private practice with women and the LGBTQ+ community to discover their inner strength and ability to heal themselves through uniting the power of yoga and mental health, whether this be practicing yoga or therapy separately or together. I approach my work from a person-centered, cognitive-behavioral, and compassion-focused perspective while always looking through the lens of evolutionary psychology and social justice.
These two things have helped me get through the dark times as well as help me truly experience and enjoy the amazing times. I found my voice and power through therapy and yoga. I’ve worked through some of my biggest life lessons and self-discoveries on a therapist’s couch and on a yoga mat. Therapy and yoga have taught me so much about myself and, even better, about others in the process.
Namaste and Love,