Cristina was born and raised in Pasadena, CA and began working in the field of mental health/addiction while in graduate school at Pepperdine University in 2003.
Cristina has a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and is a Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist Associate who is currently receiving her North Carolina credential as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Cristina began her career working with severe mental illness in an inpatient psychiatric setting, and then progressed to working with children, teens and families in various inpatient and outpatient settings. Cristina feels that her true calling is working with children and teens and their families to address substance abuse, mental illness and various other factors that impact the overall well-being of the family unit.
Cristina worked for several years with children and families as the primary therapist in group home settings, outpatient settings and private practice and has advanced specializations in trauma work, childhood post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse, and parenting interventions. Cristina has advanced training in cognitive behavioral therapy and has been trained to work with children as young as 5 years old who have experienced neglect and abuse.
Cristina’s approach to therapy is to lead with compassion and acceptance, respecting the family unit and assisting all members of the family to work toward improved understanding, communication and resilience. Cristina became more immersed in addiction treatment after recognizing that many of her families struggled with substance abuse and seeing the generational pattern of substance use in families. Cristina joined Michael’s House, an FRN organization, and then Desert Palms Treatment Center, occupying positions including Primary Therapist, Assessment Therapist and Family Program Coordinator and Creator. Upon moving to North Carolina, Cristina worked as the Director of Adolescent Treatment at a local intensive outpatient treatment center before leaving to pursue our vision at the Blanchard Institute. Cristina continues to passionately help families heal and become healthy and united in the midst of mental illness, addiction and various transitions that families face.