I was so moved when preparing this interview. This woman is bright, caring, and driven by honest intentions. She is creating space in our Coachella Valley for open conversations about mental health, and the removing boundaries that make getting help inaccessible. I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did… and I will warn you to grab a tissue. Without further a do, Carolina Estrada.
So tell us a little about yourself and what you do?
Hola, I'm Carolina. I am the proud CEO and Founder of Desert Insight. I consider my job to also be my calling and it brings me great joy to be able to provide and extend services to everyday people who are seeking emotional and relational betterment. I truly believe that mental health symptoms can be healed and I'm on a mission to build a team that can, one by one, help individuals heal and live the life that truly matters to them. Faith, family and community are important to me, people are at the core of what I do and who I am. Prior to private practice I was a Clinical Supervisor at a local addiction treatment center; I was part of a team of caring professionals who strive to help individuals from all over the country who are battling the ugly disease that is addiction. I have over 15 years of experience serving the Coachella Valley in the areas of mental health and social services. My experience includes individual, children, couple, and family therapy, as well as parenting courses, anger management and cognitive behavioral therapy.
Did you always have a passion for this and what got you started?
I am originally from Mexicali, Mexico. My parents moved to the US when I was 11 years old with zero money and zero English, just a lot of "ganas", the will to earn their keep. My dad began as a farm worker in Southern California, enduring 115-degree weather. Eventually, he transitioned to other jobs, always with the main goal of providing for us. My mom, a homemaker, helicoptered over four girls she feared would be lost in a culture she did not know. They gave up everything – their fears, needs, and dreams – so my sisters and I could have a better life. And we have.
My parents never did have the white picket fence but they raised us well, with the little they had, which turned out to be more than enough. When I was ready for college they couldn't help pay for school or expenses but they believed in me so much I couldn't help but believe in myself. Although the journey took a lot longer than my peers because I was working full-time, I was hanging tightly to three degrees. As soon as I received my clinical license I took a leap of faith and opened my private practice in 2020. My dad was immensely proud and willingly set up the door in my waiting room, asking for only a bottle of Coke and snacks in return. Little did I know, two months later he would test positive for COVID and die shortly after. As I write this, I am a tearful, it's a mixture of sadness and gratitude. As you read this, I hope you see strength, love, and the power of togetherness. Because the truth is that everything I do and everything I am has deep roots in my parents, who raised my sisters and me with a heart of generosity and the belief that we are better together.
When I was just 11 years old, I couldn't have dreamt of the life I lead today, let alone envision myself paving the way for others to find their own meaningful path through mental health support and healing. It's an incredibly humbling honor to extend this opportunity to both clients and fellow clinicians.
What are some common misconceptions about your job or profession?
When I'm at parties or gatherings and people find out I am a therapist, there is this common response of "She works with crazy people". The truth is that my clients are regular people who just want better for themselves. De-stigmatizing mental health is so important to me that it is part of our Desert Insight's vision: Normalizing mental health therapy as an available resource for people from all walks of life, especially those without access. Also our company values: Our clients are regular people: your barista, friend, neighbor, teacher, waiter, or little cousin. We provide support for anyone whose mental health is negatively impacting their jobs, relationships, sleep, and overall well-being. Our practice focuses on empowering our clients to learn about their symptoms with no labels or judgment.
What are you working on currently to help moms or families in your community?
Oh, we created a special position just so we could support moms! Laura Garcia is the Parent Support Specialist at Desert Insight and we have been doing monthly chats to share the struggles of mom-hood and tools to support moms, especially new moms. We also have a support group that will begin again this fall open to moms who are looking for support from a licensed therapist.
If you could offer 1 piece of advice to a new mom, what would it be?
You are doing the best you can. And if you're struggling, with ANYTHING, knock on doors until there is an answer. You will find it!
What do you do when you are not working?
I like spending quality time with my daughter and I also love to dance, especially salsa!
Favorite quote & something you can't live without when working?
My favorite quote...geez, I have so many. Literally I love love quotes…
"For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.” Scott Fitzgerald
“Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
― Steve Jobs
(this one i Just found a week ago...I love ittt!") “You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving. The great acts of love are done by those who are habitually performing small acts of kindness. We pardon to the extent that we love. Love is knowing that even when you are alone, you will never be lonely again. & great happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved. Loved for ourselves. & even loved in spite of ourselves.” – Victor Hugo
Where can we find you? Website and social media...
or on Facebook at Desert Insight Therapy
or on the world wide web lol www.desertinsight.com