Nia Avila, M.Ed., LCMHCA
(Serving ages 12–35)
Depression | Anxiety | Body Image Concerns | LGBTQ+ Issues | BIPOC Issues
“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”
~ Alice Walker
My Approach & Philosophy
I became a therapist because I know how therapy has saved my life. As a young black girl growing up, I was always taught that I needed to be strong enough to carry the world on my shoulders, never cracking under pressure or letting others see my vulnerabilities. I learned that it was never okay to ask for help, vulnerability was weakness, and my feelings were unimportant. So, when life became too overwhelming and I had my first depressive mood episode at 17, I began to take out my pain out on myself instead of reaching out for help. I struggled in silence for a long time.
In college, I finally got the help that I needed. I still remember when I met my therapist for the first time and saw that she was also a black woman, and I breathed a sigh of relief because I knew therapy would be a safe place for me to be real. I had a therapist who sat with me in my pain, witnessed my hurt, and didn’t demand that I make it smaller to make them more comfortable. I learned skills that I needed to deal with how difficult it can be to be alive sometimes. I learned how to ask for help and to accept that I am human. In therapy, I finally felt seen and heard, and I learned how to radically accept all the lows and sadness and love and joy that life will bring.
I believe that healing and transformation can happen within relationships and communities. Within these relationships, we gain insight about ourselves and heal relational wounds. As a therapist, our relationship will be the vehicle that drives you towards being the person you want to be and living the life you want to live. I want to help you tap into the power and skills that you already have that may have been buried under layers of trauma, pain, and feelings of hopelessness. I work from an integrated lens of Person-Centered Theory, Relational Cultural Theory, and Feminist Theory. Through genuineness and a strong therapeutic relationship, we can work together to acknowledge and hold space for all the ways that life is difficult and unfair, and also discover how you can create a sense of joy, beauty, purpose, and connection in your life. My therapeutic perspective is highly informed by my lived experience as a fat, black/Latina, queer woman, and I aim to be a safe space for BIPOC, queer/trans/gender-nonconforming folks, fat people/people in larger bodies, and other marginalized communities.