Whether you’re battling substance abuse disorder, trauma from a past partner, or are a survivor who’s looking for a helping hand, Mariposa counselors can lead you back to a hopeful path.

Anxiety & Depression Counseling

Chris, a 36 year-old father of two with a history of childhood trauma and suicide, came to Mariposa with anxiety, depression, and a lack of self-confidence. Consumed by these emotions, Chris found it difficult to stay employed, and entered the CalWORKS program. Through the support of individual counseling, Chris was able to arm himself with the tools to combat feelings of depression and anxiety–and continues to find strength in raising his children and striving for an improved life.

Domestic Violence Counseling

Wendy, a 58 year-old female and grandmother to a nine year-old, assumed parental rights over her grandson when her son wasn’t mentally fit to parent. After being referred to Mariposa by CalWORKS Behavioral Health, it was discovered that Wendy had been a victim of domestic violence throughout her last several long-term relationships. Through medication, domestic violence support groups, and individual counseling, Wendy was able to break the trauma cycle and leave her unhealthy relationship.

More Client Stories

Hi! I’m Nikki. I have been coming to Mariposa for several months after I realized I needed help with myself and children leaving an abusive marriage. The whole process with Jennifer’s help has been nothing short of amazing. I can’t even resonate with my old prior self. The woman who walked in the door the first time was scared alone and filled with self-doubt. I was so afraid. Jennifer helped me see that the strength I was pulling from was not lost. I made valuable steps in the right direction for not only myself and my children’s wellbeing. I am now proud to say I have accomplished quite a few things, and still very much in the transition stage. It is so much better to have gained clarity after each session and finally feel like I am not judged for things. The whole atmosphere at Mariposa is fabulous. The support group ladies and Sara are wonderful. I have gained so much insight, and a good look at myself and what I overcame. The control and abuse I lived with for so long, finally does not have the hold on me it once had. I learned to be strong and carry on. I no longer feel like Alice in wonderland falling through the rabbit hole. The roller coaster ride is coasting instead of full steam ahead with multiple drops twists and turns. I thank Jennifer and Sara for that. I look forward to each and every one of our sessions.


Ruth is a 26 year old female, single mother of 2 who was seeking support as she was going through some changes in her relationships, experiencing an increase in sadness and stress, difficulty making time for self-care, and maintaining healthy boundaries. Since the beginning, Ruth has displayed motivation to reach her personal and mental health goals, as well as dedication to living her life happily. Ruth reported she has noticed many changes in behaviors and thinking. She noticed that she is not as shy as she once was and is now more comfortable opening up to others. Ruth also identified that she feels more confident to recognize her boundaries and assertively discuss them with those people who are not respecting her boundaries. She has come to realize that with healthy boundaries, she no longer feels as stressed, is able to say “no” and stand up for herself, feels as if she is giving and receiving more respect, and she is more realistic with herself and how much she can accomplish without becoming overwhelmed.

Ruth continues to challenge herself to make positive changes. She discussed her realization that to be happy she needs to make time for self-care, whether that is spending some time alone exercising or talking to someone in her support system. Ruth as also been involved in a group at Mariposa and reported she received knowledge to help her along her journey towards her goals, as well as support from the other group members.
Ruth reported that her experience at Mariposa has been great. She loves the availability of scheduling childcare on-site so that she can attend sessions regularly. Ruth also stated that her children love attending childcare; this makes her feel comfortable to come to Mariposa for services.

Ruth once believed that she could not do things well enough, felt sad that she didn’t do things perfectly, and experienced life within rigid boundaries. Now, Ruth stated she feels a sense of freedom and allows herself to do activities that make her happy. Ruth works hard to disempower stress and sadness so that “it doesn’t keep me down,” and alternatively empower herself to reach her goals of being happy and confident in her abilities as an individual and mother.

John: A reflection

Note: This reflection was shared and approved by John.

My first encounter with John was very memorable and quite strange; hence the deliberate word choice “encounter”. John sat down and basically told me that he connected with the intake coordinator and wanted her as his therapist as they met each other a long time ago in his dreams.

Those of you, who know me, know that I do not like anything “off the cusps”. I am pretty “straight and narrow” so to hear my new client is requesting the intake coordinator due to an already established relationship from his dreams I was like “OK! No problem”. However, our Program Director did not let me off the hook that easily and insisted that I “try and establish a relationship with him”.

Once I broke the news to John that he was stuck with me, he said “well I guess we are stuck with each-other”. We both laughed and then there was an awkward silence. I can defend my silence as a form of therapeutic intervention, but John’s silence appeared to be more of disappointment and let down.

John attended session weekly. He was always perfectly on time. He always wore business casual clothing and had a smile on his face. As we spent the next few sessions together we began to laugh, reflect and build rapport. John began to open up about his life, his hurts, pains, disappointments, regrets and sadness. He shared stories about his wife, family and his previous source of income. Together we went through the loss of his mother, being evicted, finding out his wife has been having an affair and several disappointments of not landing the job he so eagerly hoped for. Through all this, John still came every week with a smile on his face and dressed to impress.

One day, I received a phone call from John stating “it’s over, I can’t do it anymore”. I heard the despair in his voice. John came in immediately, and we sat together as he cried. I no longer had this strange man in my office, who wanted a different counselor; I now had a hurt man in my office. The smile was gone, his hair was messy and he wore different colored socks. At that moment, hopelessness filled the room. We sat and again had silence. This time, the silence was different. It was unspoken trust, vulnerability, and connectedness.

John began to attend sessions twice a week. Again, we laughed, processed, and talked. At times, I would reference “that one time you wanted a different counselor” and he would say “I am so glad your boss denied my request”. Again, we would laugh, however, John’s life was not getting any easier. He continued to struggle with the threat of homelessness, depression, lack of money, loss of support from his wife and high levels of guilt and shame as a father. These themes entered our sessions weekly.

Despite his struggles, John continued to persevere. He continued to go on several job interviews throughout the week. Each interview was more promising than the last one, only to end with the same disappointing outcome. During session we would process his disappointment, despair and how he could “keep it all together” for his families’ sake. We would explore all the possibilities of why he was not landing the jobs. We would explore the barriers and strengths to employment. My favorite explanation was because of the “Mercury Retrograde” (whatever that meant).

John was enrolled in several county programs. As his counselor, I would talk with many of the members on his team for the purpose of continuation of care. After every encounter I had with someone who met John they all said basically the same thing: “John is a really nice guy with such a great attitude”.

John, by his great attitude and perseverance was gaining a community of “Cheerleaders” in his corner. Everyone who John met immediately liked him and recognized his qualities as a person. John is kind, John loves his children and John wants so desperately to make it work with his wife. All John needed is “a little help and opportunity”. John is someone you cheer for.

I began to reflect what “others” say about John to him during session. We moved away from the problem saturated stories and worked towards other stories. We began to focus on stories of success, triumph and resiliency. We highlighted stories of strengths and achievements. John slowly grew in self-confidence and continued to make strides in “workable actions.” John continued to collaborate and cultivate relationships with County based agencies and was eventually offered a full time position at a county-contracted agency as a full-time, regular employee with a sizeable salary.

John came to Mariposa very sad, depressed and hopeless. As we worked together, John regained and found his hope again. John embodies perseverance and resiliency. Through counseling, we embarked on a journey of celebration and feats and losses and achievement. Through this journey, John never lost his spirit. Out of darkness comes light, out of sorrow comes happiness and out of adversity comes strength. John found the strength to fight for hope and the strength to never give up. As Victor Hugo once wrote “Even the darkest night will end, and the sun will rise”. John is hope, John is strength, John is perseverance, and John is a Success Story.

Client is a 36-yr-old Iranian American mother of 2 minor children with DV history and symptoms of depression and anxiety and is currently in the process of divorce and settling child custody. Client was referred by CalWORKs for Behavioral Health Services due to severe symptoms of anxiety and depression stemming from negative interactions with her ex-husband and the ongoing divorce/custody issues as well as grief related to the loss of her marriage and other changes in her life circumstances. Client has consistently attended individual counseling sessions since September 2015 and is also currently participating in the MWFC Grieving Separation and Divorce Group. During her time at MWFC, client reports learning that she can say “no” and that she is less prone to blame herself. Despite experiencing daily stress, frustration and anxiety regarding her divorce and custody case, she continues to be able to meet obligations effectively and to care for her children, socialize, perform satisfactory self-care, exercise and engage in part-time work. Client reports that she feels more competent, better able to handle her emotions and is developing measurable confidence in her decision-making. Consistent support and effective therapeutic interventions by the MWFC team are helping this woman to navigate a painful life transition and be the mother and person she wants to be.

My name is Karri and I have been coming to Mariposa for counseling services for about 10 months. I was referred to Mariposa because I was feeling overwhelmed and experiencing high levels of stress. I had difficulty managing school, home responsibilities, my alcohol use and life in general. I would escape my problems by drinking until I blacked out. Now I am able to utilize healthy coping skills to deal with my stress and my responsibilities. Instead of drinking, I have been spending time with my children and taking care of myself.

One of my main goals that I have been able to achieve in my 10 months at Mariposa is staying sober. I have been sober for five months. I have gone through difficulty times but have been able to keep sober. I have lost my boyfriend and grandmother due to cancer and still have been able to stay focused on school and most importantly stay sober. In addition, I have been learned how to keep strong, problem-solve, and make better decisions.

I enjoy coming to Mariposa because it provides a safe place where I can share my thoughts, feelings, and concerns. I appreciate all the feedback and support that I have been getting because it has positively influenced my life. Now I have hope that my life can be much better and that I can have a normal life. I plan on finishing school in the next year and find employment where I can have a decent living style.

I am an individual who is currently in rehabilitation. When I first came to Mariposa I did not know how beneficial it would be to come in for services. At that time, I was having difficulty managing my alcohol use. I had lost the trust of my wife, family, and friends. I was on my own. I was referred to Mariposa after having an alcohol overdose. I had no idea what to do with my life.

When I started attending Mariposa’s Substance Use Program and my individual counseling sessions my perspective changed. I was able to realize that I was not the only person going thought this. This gave me hope and strength to continue my treatment. I must say it was hard coping with my withdrawal symptoms, but I can proudly say that I did it. I have been sober for a year now and my life has changed. I am now able make better decisions. My relationship with my wife and family have drastically improved. I have better communication with them.

I recommend others who have a similar situation like myself to join Mariposa. Mariposa showed me that there are people out there who are not your friends or family members that are willing to help you. I continue to be motivated to come for individual sessions and group because I keep learning every day. I still have goals that I want to achieve, and with the support I have been receiving I have no doubt that I will be able to achieve them. I always leave my sessions at Mariposa with the thought that everything is possible. Si se Puede!


Client is 36 year old Hispanic father of two children. Client reported a long history of trauma in childhood including severe bullying and abuse from his sibling. As they got older the incidents escalated leading to an attempt of suicide at 13 years old. Client was able to receive services at that time however continued to have difficulties with anxiety, depression, and lack of confidence. Client became educated and explored the world however these old ghosts were still present in his life. Client was consumed by depression and anxiety leading to difficulties keeping employment and entered into the CalWORKs program. Client came to Mariposa and was able to find support in counseling, was able to understand boundaries in life and developed tools to combat depression and anxiety. Client still feels lingering symptoms however has been able to develop more effective coping skills, continues to find strength in raising his children, continues to thirst for knowledge, and is actively looking for work. Client continues to strive for improvements in life and developing health boundaries.

My name is Gina. I am 40 years old, and I am mother of two boys, 14 and 12 years old. I live with my parents in Mission Viejo. They have been taking care of my family for the last 10 years since my husband went to prison. I suffered from deep depression for almost 9 years and I stayed in my dark room for most of it. I only came down in living room every few days to see the family. I hated myself and could not look at mirror. I did not leave the house for months unless my parents insisted. I started going to mental health services to get help because my parents pressured me and brought me to the social services office. When my social worker told me I have to start preparing for a job I freaked out and cried so much. My worker asked me if I want to go to counseling and I said no because I don’t care to get better. My social worker told me if I didn’t go to job search they would sanction me unless I go to counseling and get some time off. I agreed.

Sara called me from Mariposa and I made sure to tell her over the phone that I am not crazy and she could not take the kids away from me because of it. She was super nice and patient with me told me her intention was only to support me. For the first time I felt heard and understood, and I wanted to meet her. Every week I was looking forward to my counseling, I would have butterfly in my stomach the night before thinking what I wanted to talk to her about. Each time we talked about one part of my life that showed how ugly I feel inside, and she still smiled at me and told me I am beautiful and strong woman. I didn’t believe her at the beginning and told her that this is her job to make me feel good. It took me 4 months to trust her that she really cared for me. I pushed myself to meet my commitment; I showed up for appointments as much as I could find a ride or use the bus. I went to see a doctor after 7 years. I was more of mother in my son’s life and changed my son’s school to save him from being bullied. I could not believe I did this all by myself. I still have days that I cry and stay in dark room and think about not being in the world, but those days are just few now. I started going to DUI programs to get my license back after 10 years. I am going to church on Sundays with my parents and sons, and I am supporting women sewing quilts. I finally agreed to take medication for my depression that it did changed my life a lot. I never thought anything would change in the dark silent hole I lived in, but God heard me and brought light to my life. I found hope with Sara; she always finds a way to show the window of hope. Thank you for helping me and my family. I hope you trust my story. If I can, you can try too.

Client is a 43 years old Hispanic Female. Client has a 13 year old daughter who suffers from serious allergies. Client’s husband suffered two brain aneurysms and one stroke approximately one year ago and he was in the hospital for the whole time. He was completely incapacitated (lost his ability to walk and talk). Client’s husband medical issues caused financial and emotional pains for the family. The family lost their home and their business and they were under a lot of stress. Client felt overwhelmed, confused, angry, and stressed. The financial and emotional situation impacted the client’s relationship with her daughter.

After a few months of therapy, client stated that she felt therapy helped her to focus on her self-care and it helped her to cope better with stress and anxiety. Client stated that she learned how to deal with her teenage daughter’s emotional issues at school and she was able to understand and to communicate better with her.

A couple months after the closure of BHS file, client contacted the counselor and stated that her husband is back home from the hospital and they were able to rent a two bedroom apartment. Client thanked the counselor for her support during her difficult time.

My Experience at Mariposa was very challenging. To be honest I was ready to quit my class (substance abuse education), but this is where I learn that things in my life are not easy. I thought, “Maybe I’ll just go when I want”… but later I actually wanted it to be “Tuesday” because Tina (counselor) and the girls were nice people. I was never criticized for my language or my reading in English. I learned a lot from the girls. I learn that we need to be responsible for our actions. Also that I don’t need drugs in my life and that my family is worth it for me and nothing should take their place.

I feel peace in my life ow. I can talk about who I was when I was lost in drugs and maybe my experience can help other girls. Thank you all at Mariposa. Thank you Tina for helping me understand the purpose of my life! I believe in and respect myself! Thank you for letting me be a part of your program.



Oh my gosh… Where do I start?!

I’ve been in this program nearly a year and I’m leaving it a different girl than who I was walking in. You inspired me in so many ways. I felt like I could relate to my counselor, Tina. I felt like you really cared about me and all of the girls in the program. You even brought me to the point where I was ready and inspired to go back to school and help others the way that you helped me. Now I have my kids back, I’m happy and I’m SOBER. Best of all, I know things aren’t going to be perfect, but I feel like now I’m capable of handling whatever comes my way without being destructive. You do so much for me!!! I’m going to definitely miss you.

Love Always,

Client is a 58 year old Hispanic female, grandmother of a 9 year old that she assumed parental rights over after her son was not able to provide and care for because of his mental limitations. Client was referred to Mariposa Women and Family center by CalWORKs Behavioral health in November of 2013 for depression and anxiety. Client was a victim of Domestic Violence for the last 3 long term relationships she had been including her most recent relationship of 3 years. Client’s mental health plan included: medication services, domestic violence group once a week at Mariposa and individual counseling once a week. Client utilized coping tools to manage her symptoms and was able to be a stable support to her granddaughter who was diagnosed with PTSD and ADHD. Client began volunteering at her school and made sure that her granddaughter did not miss her counseling sessions.

Client began setting goals and setting healthy boundaries and eventually broke the cycle and left her domestic violence relationship. Client is now enrolled and actively attending CNA School in which she is set to complete in May and was discharged from Mariposa in April 2016. Client has shared that the group and individual counseling at Mariposa supported her when she could not support herself and will forever be grateful for role it played in her life.

Free Child Care Services

Attain true peace-of-mind during your sessions with our free child care service. From engaging games and toys to a bright, inviting aesthetic, Mariposa’s child care room will keep the little ones occupied so you can focus on your healing journey.

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