Xiomara’s Voyage MIA Interview

Meet Xiomara Suarez-Espinal of Therapy Outside the Box Blog in Central Miami

Today we’d like to introduce you to Xiomara Suarez-Espinal.

Xiomara, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Ever since childhood, I have been a person of service. I have always been intrigued by an individual’s story and their resilience. In high school, I completed a project where I was asked to choose a profession that I would like to pursue as an adult. I chose Social Work and continued with this idea into college. During my studies, I enrolled in a course, Psychology of Personal Effectiveness, and realized that the human mind and one’s motive were much more intriguing to me. I completed my degree in Social Work; however, I recognized my passion was in the field of Psychology. Subsequently, I completed my undergraduate and graduate degree in Psychology with a concentration in mental health counseling and school counseling.

At the age of 30, I accepted a position as an adjunct faculty member at the college where I once completed the psychology course which changed the course of my life. It was surreal to teach the same course almost ten years later. It was definitely a high point in my career.

As a professional, I have worked with many populations which include children, adolescence and adults facing various challenges such as addiction, homelessness and persistent mental health issues. My career, naturally led me to join a group practice, Life Discovery Psychotherapy, in 2018. In this work, I am assisting people on their journey to wholeness.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Success does not happen by chance. Success does not happen alone. I have been fortunate to have family, friends, and mentors that have helped me on my journey.

In this field, I have had every position imaginable. Each one with its own challenges and lessons. One of my biggest challenges, was in my early twenties while completing my undergraduate degree and fostering three children. It was not easy being a parent, pursuing a degree, and working full-time. Internally, I had to draw resiliency and determination and sometimes it was not enough. During my undergraduate, all the demands both emotionally and financially became overwhelming that I dropped a semester. Months later, the dean of the student affairs contacted me and offered me a scholarship to return and complete my degree. With much support and determination, I completed my degree as Magna Cum Laude. The experience, affirmed the importance of community and support in one’s life. And, unfortunately, there are many that don’t have the support that I did and do which is why behavioral science and social service are so important in our communities.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Therapy Outside the Box Blog story. Tell us more about the business.
Therapy Outside the Box Blog started in the hearts of two women that met in college.

Our intention is to connect, support, inspire, and empower people through deep exploration and meaningful conversations.

As professionals, we strive to provide “outside the box” counseling as we believe in authenticity, creativity, and self-expression.

We recognize the importance of supporting one another in going beyond our perceived roles. As human beings, we recognize the importance of going beyond perceived fear and returning to a space where we are all respected and valued.

We are people of service and are driven by passion and a belief in the power of change and self growth. We believe in positive thinking, practicing holistic teachings, and engaging in creative endeavors. Most importantly, we believe in the healing power of community and unity.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I am not sure luck has much to do with one’s success, at least not mine. I am a firm believer that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger (if you allow it to). I grew up as a daughter of a single mother who struggled to make ends meet at times. Through my mother’s strength, not luck, we not only survived but we thrived. I believe that people are placed in your path for a reason and a lesson. However, it is one’s choice to learn and apply the lesson. Through introspection, questioning and learning, I have attracted people and situations that have moved me higher in my life and career. I learned you can’t wait on luck, you have to set the pieces in motion and let synchronicity play its role.


Meet Yariela Sequeira of Therapy Outside the Box in Blue Lagoon Drive

Today we’d like to introduce you to Yariela Sequeira.

Yariela, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My love for my field started without me realizing it since it found me at a young age. I could identify different scenarios that resonate in my mind as to why I fell in love with psychology and all its realms; however, if I were to boil it down, I would say my passion for helping others started once I realized the beauty that comes with empowering another human being.

By high school, I was sure I wanted to pursue psychology as my major and career. Since then, I have been committed to my personal growth in order to better assist those who trust me with their journey.

I graduated college with my BS in Psychology alongside other concentrations. I immediately volunteered at the only psychiatric hospital in my country and fell even more in love with the compassion that can be expressed through patients who still believe in connecting with others. I also then volunteered at different orphanages becoming familiar with the much-needed love that we all seek from a very young age. I incorporated fundraising for the children allowing me to connect with the many different ways that humans can assist one another, even when it entails helping strangers.

By my late 20s, I moved back to Miami to pursue my masters. During that time, families allowed me into their home as a family coach, sharing with me the intricacies of the newly parenting challenges, I became certified as a childbirth teacher after being inspired by families during such a special time in their lives. Once in my 30s, I was offered the opportunity to work individually with sex offenders, domestic violence perpetrators, drug users and others who were just seeking different types of evaluations. That was a huge learning ground for me, amplifying my looking glass. My boss at the time also believed in me and taught me so many different formats that impacted my approach and expression of my style.

In 2015, one of my dream jobs knocked at my door allowing me to work with inmates. They taught me so much about pain, loyalty, trauma, love, masks, as well as the impact of a genuine intention amongst other things. For the past two years, I have been working with the homeless who suffer from addiction and who also seek treatment and second chances. Fast forward to 2018, by January, I felt confident in my ability to launch myself into private practice and as a blogger. With the support of my partners and loved ones, I jumped and here I am! I can now say my understanding of human-ness has not only exacerbated but is also complimented by my spiritual practice. Now, I am able to offer different perspectives based not only on my experience and studies but also from all the valuable lessons shared by those I’ve worked with along this journey. I am grateful and excited for what’s to come.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
My dad always quoted, “Do something you love and you will never work.” My jobs have had their challenges but they have never been hard. I have loved each and every one of them, so that makes a difference. Yes, I have worked in what others would call difficult environments and have even changed jobs due to the environment not vibing with my personal beliefs or energy. However, counseling and remaining true to my purpose has never been a struggle. Having said that, the road to starting private practice and blogging has not been smooth. As I mentioned, it took me quite some time to jump and feel confident in my landing, The reason being that personal insecurities visit me every now and then. I am human and I too carry my own baggage. I go through it too as I also work on myself responding to some curveballs I am sometimes unprepared for. My partner and friend who cowrites in our blog have witnessed and heard many of my plans gone astray due to situational stressors, family issues, romantic breakups, and just life surprises. Fortunately, I’ve never been unemployed and count with a very supportive network. Nevertheless, I have had instances of lacking financial resources to “fund” the dream and worries about “how” to make it happen. Moreover, with so many social media options I sometimes struggle finding the best way to share my message without getting lost in translation.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I’ll start by sharing that Therapy Outside the Box was created by two women, Xiomara and myself who were tired of the classic concept of therapy… the couch in an office with limited ways of expressing ourselves as therapists and offering our services. I am proud to say that we both believe in holistic approaches and integrate them into our practice and writing. For the blog, we usually alternate on writing posts, but sometimes, we collaborate on a specific topic which is always very powerful. We also have very distinct styles that complement one another.

I describe my style as a mix of elegance, rawness, and compassion. I love real conversations and believe no topic is off the table. I must admit, I respectfully curse, use common language, no lingo and just express me the best way I can. I intend to give you my genuine self in exchange for you being true to you. I also share personal experiences as I am not perfect and want my clients to know I too make mistakes.

I am known for incorporating meditation, sound healing, reiki, card readings, and “eclectic” approaches to therapy. I love crystals and essential oils, so as my client you might be gifted one or introduced to some of them. I sometimes conduct sessions in nature as some of my clients prefer that vs an office/enclosed space. Distance sessions are also accommodated since some of my clients live outside Miami.

What were you like growing up?
Growing up, I was sassy. I have always been outgoing and I’ve always loved to dance. I would coordinate dances with my cousins during family gatherings, participate in events that others would shy from, and even take on some “risky” independent choices. My mom used to share how I once jumped on a different school bus to my house because “I was tired of the same route.” I love that story! Even though I always have followed rules and societal norms, with my personal permission I have also broken a rule or two in order to self-express. Now, if you ask my dad, he’ll tell you I’ve always been bossy, and my brother would second that given he nicknamed me ‘mother hen.’

I have always been righteous yet outstanding. For instance, I pierced my ear at 16 without my mother’s approval. I got my first tattoo at age 21 without either of my parents’ approval. Some of my favorite shows across different ages were Saved by the Bell, Miami Ink, Spirit Talks, Haunted Houses, and shows about couples in single islands (lol). I continue to love shows like Lock-down, Sons of Anarchy, The Walking Dead, Orange is the New Black, Game of Thrones, Hauntings and horror movies, alongside spiritual shows on Gaia, documentaries and Teal Swan.

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