Extension therapy student: 'Nobody teaches us how to do this life thing'

As a licensed marriage and family therapist, Estela Bobadilla has a simple answer when asked why she’d recommend therapy: “Because nobody teaches us how to do this life thing.”

STUDENT PROFILE: Estela Bobadilla, Fundamentals of Sandplay Therapy

Her specialties include therapy for families in crisis, substance abuse recovery, mental health disorders, domestic violence, depression, bereavement, eating disorders, childhood trauma – among many others.

“When we start, I always tell my patients, this is the beginning of taking responsibility for your actions and behavior,” she said. “They know the negative impact it’s had on their life and people they love. That’s why they come to me.”

Several years ago, Bobadilla took a series of courses in UC San Diego Extension’s Professional Program in Sandplay Therapy Studies. Her experience was wholly positive.

“The courses taught me invaluable tools about how to treat children in a therapeutic setting,” she said. “They gave me a blueprint for much of what I do now. I’ve referred tons of people to the certificate program.”

A native of Mexico City, her family moved to Chula Vista when she was a teenager. She went on to earn her undergraduate degree in finance from National University, with a master’s in counseling psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara.

As for whether therapy eases her clients’ burdens, Bobadilla has this ebullient reply: “Always, totally, absolutely! That’s the beauty of it. I firmly believe people can change for the better and, under the right circumstances, flourish.”

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