Maria began her social work career as an intern at a community center, where she provided case management services for impoverished families. She then began working with veterans and their families at Edward Hines Veterans Administration Hospital to address various issues including mental health, substance use, LGBTQ experiences, homelessness, chronic medical conditions, and terminal illness. She is currently a Medical Social Worker with a national home health agency, where she serves as part of an interdisciplinary team that cares for older adults who often have many medical and psychosocial needs. Maria is experienced in working with those struggling with depression; anxiety; grief; relationship, parenting, or career issues; financial hardship; chronic illness; caregiver stress; and other difficult life situations.
Socially- and spiritually-focused, Maria naturally empathizes with people—easily seeing their point of view and understanding their emotions—and uses positive, non-threatening communication to foster collaborative relationships with others. She has a sincere and genuine interest in other people and an active interest in their development. Through her ability to quickly connect with others and keen insight, she is able to identify issues or problem areas to help clients form innovative solutions. Her drive is altruistic, directed at working with and for others, and she is able to motivate others while being aware of and responsive to their needs and concerns.
Maria considers the client/therapist relationship to be the most important factor in counseling and is committed to providing compassion, support and encouragement to help her clients with personal growth to create a healthier, happier, better quality of life. Because she understands that each person has unique and specific needs, Maria tailors the therapeutic process using evidence-based practices with each client to provide the most beneficial, effective, and enjoyable experience possible.
“Just because no one else can heal or do your inner work for you doesn’t mean you can, should, or need to do it alone.” Lisa Olivera
Maria is a Licensed Social Worker and earned a Master of Social Work from Aurora University. A strong advocate of social justice, she was the founder and President of Aurora University Against Human Trafficking, an organization aimed at the eradication of human trafficking through raising awareness, education, and supporting the efforts of local anti-human trafficking organizations. She was recognized by Aurora University’s School of Social Work faculty for her commitment to the social work profession, academic excellence, personal growth, and interpersonal skills and was honored as the 2018 recipient of the George Williams Legacy Social Work Award.
Clinical approaches and treatment modalities include: Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Faith-Based Social Work