Maria Leija Briones, Professional Counselor Associate
Maria holds a Master of Arts in Professional Mental Health Counseling with a Specialization in Addictions from Lewis & Clark College, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a Minor in Spanish from Portland State University. Her professional background for the past 8 years consists mostly in working with adolescents and their families, especially working with diverse and underserved populations. Maria is bilingual (English/Spanish) and bicultural, born and raised in Mexico, and is passionate about working with her community. Maria has experience working in treatment settings and a juvenile justice setting. Maria is also a 2019 NBCC Minority Fellowship Addictions recipient.
Maria works with adolescents, adults, and families, who are experiencing a range of presenting concerns, including depression, anxiety, school issues, lack of self-worth and self-worth, lack of belonging, lack of self-compassion, family conflict, trauma, including intergenerational and racial trauma, acculturative stress, grief/loss, life transitions, and substance use and addiction.
Maria’s theoretical orientation or philosophy in counseling is based on person-centered, existentialism, and relational-cultural theory. Maria places high emphasis in the power of a good therapeutic relationship based on collaboration. A therapeutic relationship where there is empathy and where the client feels accepted, understood, heard, and welcomed to explore deeper layers of their experiences. Maria also uses an integrative approach that includes using counseling techniques drawn from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Expressive Arts Therapy, Narrative Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with self-compassion focused interventions, depending on the client’s specific needs. Motivational interviewing is another counseling technique that may be used. Additionally, Maria also uses a multicultural, systemic, and social justice orientation where the client’s lived experiences based on their cultural identity and social locations are taken into consideration, including evaluating the impact that the systems that they live in can have in their life.
Licenses and Certifications
Maria is a Registered Professional Counselor Associate with the State of Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists (OBLPCT), and she abides by its Code of Ethics. Maria is currently working on obtaining her Licenses Professional Counselor in Oregon. Lucrecia Suárez,LCSW is her current supervisor. Maria is also a National Certified Counselor (NCC) recognized by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)