DR. MARIA PAREDES
Hi, I’m Maria Paredes (She, Her, Hers), owner of Three Birds & lead therapist.
I'm so glad you found us!
Truly, I know how hard it is to take that first step. Before you even make the call, before you opened this website. That first step of saying out loud to yourself "I need help. I can't do this alone." I know because I've been there. More about that below.
I’m a Licensed Professional Counselor & Certified Eating Disorders Specialist, but you might also call me a:
Heart Healer Courage Instiller
Lover of ALL Bodies Self-Compassion Coach
Voice Amplifier Space Maker
Companion to those in Pain Believer in Hope.
WHO DO I HELP?
I help people who want to make peace with food and with their bodies and who long to feel more comfortable in their own skin, but who feel stuck in this cycle
I also help those walking the scary and painful path of infertility and pregnancy loss, and the exhausting experience of anxiety and trauma, both of which often overlap body and food concerns.
CAN I HELP YOU?
If you’re looking to find another diet, a magic pill, or fad exercise, I’m afraid I can’t be of much help. But if you‘re exhausted by trying so hard to just feel normal, and if you are ready to:
feel more comfortable in your own skin, make peace with your body,
experience joy in your movement, enjoy food Again,
claim more of your voice and space in the world, work toward greater health and wellness,
Feel More Connected to Others & Yourself, Live More fully in Your Own life by your own rules
THEN I'M HERE TO HELP!
HOW DO I HELP YOU?
I walk alongside people as they face their fears, traumas, and past hurts. I don't pretend the fears aren't real or even that they're not scary. I know they're scary. I know you wouldn't be here if they weren't. I'm not going to tell you not to be afraid anymore. It's OK to be afraid. But I am going to tell you to be brave. I am going to encourage you to face your fears and turn toward your pain. It's by doing this that you'll be able to let go of the fear. And by letting going of the fear, you'll create more space for hope, healing, and connection. I want to support you to be able to say
“Ya know what, fear…I don’t need you anymore."
HOW DO I KNOW HOW TO HELP YOU?
I've learned a lot through formal education (Read more about it below) but have learned the most about the helping and healing process by being a client myself. Experiencing the vulnerability of sitting in the client chair across from a therapist, exposing my deepest fears and putting my trust in a virtual stranger has taught me the value of the therapy process and the courage and insight my clients bring to therapy. I am proud to say that I am in recovery from an eating disorder. I worked hard to be able to say that. I know from my own years of hating my body and being scared of food and from my own path toward wellness that it doesn’t have to be as hard as it once seemed, that it is possible:
Want more specifics about my training and experience?
Read on below:
WHY DO I WANT TO HELP?
Listen, there's a lot of suffering in this world and a whole lot of hate, meanness, and fear. Sometimes I want to grab my kiddos and throw them in a great big plastic bubble to protect them from how harsh the world can be. Heck, sometimes I want to throw myself in that same bubble to hide from it all. But I also believe there's so much hope and goodness and potential for kindness out there. And that if you stay hidden and isolated, you risk not getting to experience all that this world has to offer. I believe a kinder, more peaceful, more connected world begins by being kinder, more peaceful, and more connected with yourself. I want to help you experience more of that. That’s why I hope you will call me to schedule a free consult. Let’s work together to help you own more of you!
READY TO FEEL BETTER?
to enjoy food,
to move joyfully in your body, and
to experience a kinder, gentler, more peaceful way of being.
I have a BA in Psychology from the State University of New York at Geneseo. My Master's degree is in School Counseling and my Doctoral degree is in Counseling & Counselor Education, both from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). I also have a certificate in Animal-Assisted Therapy from Oakland University, which means, occasionally, you may see one of my dogs, Harry or Luna, accompanying me to work. I have advanced training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Acceptance & Commitment Therapy and have received multiple Safe Zone trainings to increase my awareness and ability to be an ally to individuals who identify as LGTBQ.
MY THEORETICAL APPROACH
I have an eclectic approach to working with clients, utilizing Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, as well as Gestalt, Narrative, Developmental, Existential, and Systemic theories to counsel and conceptualize clients, within an overarching framework of Relational Cultural Therapy (RCT). This eclectic approach is due to my belief in the unique needs of each individual client living in a diverse and social world. My framework of RCT includes a focus on the relationship between client and therapist, engaging clients’ natural stores of resiliency and authenticity, de-pathologizing adaptive behaviors, and fostering clients’ development more fully through connections with others. I use Motivational Interviewing techniques to empower clients to take responsibility for their actions and outcomes and to work toward change.
I believe firmly in individuals’ ability to overcome life’s difficulties and try to work collaboratively with clients, often utilizing creative approaches to do so, including art, play, and sand therapy. Specific to body image and disordered eating concerns, I operate from a Fat Positive approach and philosophy and encourage Intuitive Eating principles.
I am trained in Brainspotting (Phase 1 & 2) and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing), both brain-based trauma protocols that help clients identify, process, and release core neurophysiological sources of emotional/body pain, trauma, dissociation, lower affective distress and physiological arousal, and reformulate negative beliefs into more positive ones. I am also trained in IFS (Internal Family Systems) and Polyvagal Theory.
In my spare time, I enjoy reading, cooking, watching movies, crafting, pretending to sing, playing with my dogs Harry and Luna, and watching my daughters grow and experience the world. I love moving my body in ways that feel joyful. Sometimes this means running, walking, dancing, juggling a soccer ball, or hugging my loved ones.
I am a Licensed Professional Counselor & Supervisor
(NC #S6986) and Certified Eating Disorders Specialist-Supervisor (#3627). These are part of what add to the alphabet soup after my name. I know that these letters can sometimes be confusing.
The first (LPCS) means that I've acquired the education, training, and supervision to provide therapy to individuals seeking support and to provide clinical supervision to therapists-in-training.
The second (CEDS-S) means that I've acquired the education, training, and experience to work with individuals with disordered eating and body image concerns.
I have nearly 20 years of experience within the fields of mental health and education. During my educational training and professional work, I've been fortunate to work in a variety of clinical and educational settings and with variety of client issues and concerns. I have counseling experience in public and charter school, acute inpatient psychiatric care, college counseling, hospice and palliative care, private practice, and support group settings. Within these settings, I have worked with children, adolescents, and their families, couples, K-12, undergraduate, and graduate students, parents who have experienced infertility, pregnancy and/or infant loss, individuals experiencing general grief, loss, and/or terminal illness, individuals with eating disorders and/or body image issues, including polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), mothers experiencing perinatal and postpartum mental health and transition concerns, individuals experiencing career decision-making, individuals experiencing clinical depression and anxiety, individuals responding to general life transitions.
My professional experience also includes teaching and supervising at the undergraduate and graduate level, face-to-face and online. Courses I have taught include: Helping Skills, Career Counseling, Counseling Children & Adolescents, Introduction to School Counseling, Counseling in Clinical Mental Health Settings, Research Methods, Application of Measurement & Clinical Appraisal Techniques, Developmental Counseling, Human Growth & Lifespan Development, Diagnosis & Treatment Planning in Counseling, Psychotherapy, and Abnormal Psychology.