Christian Ziraldo

Today’s #SheroSpotlight is Christian Ziraldo, founder of Yellow Vibrations! Yellow Vibrations launched in June 2020 and serves as a resource to build, connect and support the professional relationships necessary for mental wellness. Christian is currently based in Oakland, California, and received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and her dual master’s degree in community and school counseling from Wayne State University. I am so excited to have her featured on the blog today!

What was your career like prior to launching Yellow Vibrations?

I have always existed in the educational and nonprofit field. So, I started off working for a nonprofit that was helping support parents in Detroit, and helping them to navigate the school system, and advocate for their children. Then, I realized that I missed kids and I moved over to working in a school which is where I realized that I wanted to go into counseling. I actually worked for Wayne State University which is where I got my masters as an academic advisor and that is where I stressed that people are people, no matter their age, and trying to navigate, navigate life in themselves is a challenge across all ages. In the middle there, I got married, and moved to California, where I live now and I was a school counselor for a year and then I started Yellow Vibrations. 

What was the inspiration behind Yellow Vibrations?

When I moved to California, it took me quite a while, about three months, to find a therapist that matched my schedule, my budget and was experienced in the challenges that I was facing, and approached them in a way that worked for me. So, the kind of communication styles and the therapeutic modality that works for me. At the time, I was talking to friends and family, I was on Twitter and everyone was saying the same thing; that finding a therapist is so difficult. I think we’re at a point in time where people are interested in doing the work, we hear that all the time people are interested in doing the work, but getting to the resources that they need to do the work can be really challenging, and it was for me, and I have a background in this. So, I thought that it is a good combination of my skills to help people navigate this process.

What are some of the barriers that people may face when trying to find a therapist for the first time?

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So, first and foremost when you’re looking for a therapist, the first place you have to start is logistically. You have to find a therapist that’s in your state, is licensed in your state and takes either your insurance or is within your budget. So, that is a pretty broad criteria. If you’re looking for a therapist in California, that can be thousands. So, I think one of the barriers is actually vetting the therapists, and eventually narrowing down who wouldn’t be a good fit for you. After you do that, then it’s this idea of knowing what I’m going to therapy for and how to find someone that can actually help me. I think a lot of times when people are looking for therapists, because you’re looking through that many people, you email the first couple of people that come up that meet your criteria, a lot of times they’re really busy and it can be hard to find someone that fits your schedule and fits your budget. So what I do is I vet the therapist and make sure that the information is up to date for you. It can be a really long and arduous process to connect with a therapist. 

Therapy is about creating a safe space for you to heal and grow. The therapeutic relationship is essentially a container for your own personal transformation. In order to have that healing in that situation, you have to feel safe. Especially for Black and indigenous people of color, for LGBTQ people, for people that are from marginalized identities, feeling safe can look like wanting to see a therapist that reflects you and that can be really difficult to find. So, that’s a part of our client survey that indicates what that ideal therapist looks like for you, and we try to find that. Where my background in therapy comes in is you tell me what you’re looking for and why you’re coming to therapy and a little bit about your communication style, I can take that information and match it with someone that will support you in the way that you need to be supported. 

What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to go to therapy because they think their problems “aren’t big enough” ?

What I would say is that you have value and outside of any comparison to any other people or anyone else’s problems, your pain and your experiences matter, you matter. So you deserve to heal and you deserve to thrive and you deserve to grow and you deserve to have someone walk through that process with you, irrespective of whatever else is happening with someone else. When I hear things like that, that to me is an indicator of essentially you not valuing yourself. In saying that, I don’t deserve to go to therapy, or this is reserved for someone else who needs it more, you’re devaluing your own experiences in your own life and that is something to work on in therapy. 

I would definitely encourage you to care for yourself. Because if you care for yourself, you create space for other people, and that’s the other thing I’m hearing is that you care about other people and you want them to have the resources too. But you deserve the care that you are giving to other people as well.

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As a senior studying magazine journalism at Ohio University and a passionate feminist, I created Freely Femme as a way to use my love for storytelling to highlight some of the most inspirational women in my personal life and beyond.

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