Interview by Jiovann Carrasco, LPC-S
I've had the pleasure of supervising Fernanda's clinical work for the past three years. For those who have ever been in the murky depths of self doubt, indecision, and that disoriented lost kind of feeling, Fernanda is an emotional sherpa. She is highly skilled in these waters and is the kind of guide you can trust to lead you back to your true self. Tenacious and full of life, Fernanda Barcelo is a tell-it-like-it-is kind of confidant. She is not one to just smile and nod. Therapy with Fernanda is active and healing. She has literally put clients on the floor! I'm not even kidding. Hailing from Mexico, she is fully bilingual. She is also a registered yoga teacher. You can take her classes at Wanderlust Yoga downtown and at Sukha Yoga on South Lamar.
What made you decide to become a counselor?
The feeling I get when connecting with others at a deep, vulnerable level has always been something very special to me. Ever since I can remember, I loved to hear people's stories, and I also loved helping them figure out solutions to life's curveballs. In high school, I was deemed my friends' "relationship advisor" since I was always doling out the best words of wisdom I could (at 16, they likely weren't very wise at all!) This naturally led me to pursue my degree in Psychology, and as soon as I became officially immersed in the world of how the human mind works, I knew this path was for me.
You’re also a yoga teacher. How does that fit in with your work as a counselor?
Yoga and therapy can teach us similar lessons: being patient with one's self, learning through and appreciating your failures, and working towards overall betterment. Mindfulness therapy works with present moment awareness, calming anxiety through breath and meditation, and working towards full acceptance -- all of which are things that are incorporated in the practice of yoga! I feel like they compliment each other so nicely, and the more I learn in one realm, the more the other is just as equally strengthened.
If you could teach the world one skill or technique to improve their lives, what would it be?
To accept what is. It's a daily struggle for all of us to not constantly want to change or criticize something about ourselves or our lives. But when you learn to just be okay with whatever's happening right now, even just for a little while, life gets a hell of a lot lighter and easier to enjoy.
What is the most common problem your clients bring to you?
Self-criticism. I see it in every single person who comes in my office. It's especially high in people of the social media generation (which by now is basically all of us). We have been flooded with images of what relationships, bodies, families, friendships, and lifestyles "should" be, and then turn to look at our lives and tend to see them as less-than or not good enough. This is why the hashtag #goals drives me insane because it is the embodiment of not loving what you have and wanting someone else's life!
Have you personally been in counseling and if so, what did you learn about yourself?
Yes, I have. It's been an essential tool in my own personal growth. I learned to take my own advice and stop focusing on wanting more, more, more. It taught me to stop and look at my accomplishments and life with pride and gratitude. But the most important lesson I think I learned (and am still learning!) is to let go of my anger, recognize it as pain, and to be sweet to myself in those moments of tenderness.
If you could recommend one book to all of your clients, what would it be?
This question kills me because there are so many, and the answer is constantly changing! Right now, in this very moment, I'd say Pema Chodron's "When Things Fall Apart." It's a book I think can help anyone deal with pain or hard feelings, no matter what their background, and it's a beautiful, easy read.
What inspires you to help others?
The feeling I get when I see someone begin to get better. And that can mean a million things: reaching a goal they set, being able to love again, forgiving someone who hurt them. Seeing someone let go of a painful piece of their life and finally move forward is the most rewarding thing you can experience in this field. It feels like your crossing a finish line, hand in hand. My client's successes (even tiny ones) are a beautiful thing to witness.
Who is your ideal client?
Young adults dealing with the dreaded "quarter life crisis." Usually people in their late 20's to early 30's who are going through the pain of having to adjust to being a "grown up" -- or figuring out what that even means to them! This time in our lives is especially rocky, and I feel that most of us need help figuring out how to handle all the stuff that gets thrown at us during this time (e.g. relationship confusion, questions about the future, major career-decisions, etc.)
How do you personally practice self-care?
Yoga, of course. Massages. Writing. Therapy. Venting to my girlfriend's over a glass of wine. Reading good books. Sleeping in. And french fries. Lots of french fries.
About Our Blog
Here you will find articles contributed by members of our team. We hope to provide helpful information here to inspire mindful living and general wellness. The information provided here is not a substitue for professional mental health advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you need to speak to a professional regarding your mental health, please make an appointment.