Maria Santiago is an LCSW with over 18 years of experience in the field of mental health and social work. She received her BSW from Northeastern Illinois University and her MSW from Aurora Illinois University. She is bilingual (Spanish/English) and bicultural. Ms. Santiago’s primary focus has been working with children, teens, young adults, adults and families. She has been able to successfully help her clients navigate issues related to depression, anxiety, PTSD, OCD, bipolar disorders, trauma, life changes, acculturation issues, school IEP issues (learning differences, mental health issues, school refusal, ASD) and concerns related to the LGBTQ+ communities.
Maria’s experience has varied from working in community mental health, private practice, substance abuse clinics for mandated clients to being the clinical director of a school for teens with mental health issues. She has worked with survivors of trauma (physical, sexual, emotional and interpersonal) and chronic mental health issues. She has also worked with people in recovery from substance abuse and dependency. She works from a trauma informed care perspective that includes a pragmatic approach to continual improvement of her client’s mental health. She has utilized CBT, DBT, Motivational Interviewing, Solution Focused, Narrative Therapies, Mindfulness, Co-occurring modalities and is trained in EMDR. Maria has helped clients with these modalities in individual, family telehealth and group settings.
The majority of Maria’s clients are first time clients to therapy and have experienced a mental health urgency or emergency. Maria has been able to help her clients navigate the difficult times and move on to thriving in their lives as they begin to learn strategies to living a better life.
Understanding that everyone that comes to therapy is looking for change is the approach that Maria takes when initiating services with clients. She looks for strengths that are innate in her clients and works to build with them in order to formulate a cohesive approach to care.
My “big picture” approach is that “best care and best practice starts with the relationships that are built in therapy”.