by Clare Schmidt
On April 1st, Maria Iniguez began her work as the new on-campus counselor. She will be on campus Mondays 11am – 4pm and Fridays 10am – 3pm.
Iniguez is a licensed clinical social worker with a bachelors degree from UCLA, and a masters degree in social work from USC. She has done counseling work for schools, communities, and in her own private practice, and is also currently working for another college in Riverside.
Iniguez says she works in counseling because it brings her joy, and her passion is working with individuals. “My prayer is, ‘Lord, use me as an instrument to bring healing’. That way, the grace of God pours through me…and when I see that healing happening, it’s just the greatest feeling because I know something is happening there.”
Iniguez’s Catholic faith is very important to her, and she likes to bring it to her work as a counselor. “I take my faith very seriously. The fact that I can talk about God here with those that want to talk about God makes me even more passionate [to be here]….one thing I don’t get to use a lot of at the other college is the spiritual component.”
She would like students to know that she’s “not just someone taking a bunch of notes”, but that she is a neutral adult, ready to listen and help. “I like to meet people where they are. That’s important because I’m not here to judge them, I’m here to help them and help them feel safe…sometimes it just helps to have an adult to listen to you and guide you and normalize what you’re going through.”
Iniguez would like to see anyone “experiencing any sort of suicidal ideation or thoughts of hurting themselves”, but it doesn’t have to be that serious; her door is also open to “people who are experiencing overwhelming emotions, feelings or even thoughts; anything that would be considered something new for them.”
Students seeking services should contact Deb Culbertson.