Valerie Nicole Barela, MA, LPC, LCDC

Through my work in the mental health field for over 10 years, I have developed a strong belief in three things. First, the power we hold within ourselves. Second, the healing that occurs when we interact with ourselves and others with respect and authenticity. Third, that change is possible for anyone willing and brave enough to try something different. 


My specialty is developing a unique relationship with my clients to un-do aloneness when life feels most overwhelming, isolating, and hopeless. I do this by ensuring you have a say in the direction of your therapeutic work.

We explore how interactions with others may be helping or hurting.

We openly discuss how identities such as race, culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, etc. affect your day to day life. We define your healthy patterns of being and functioning, particularly through mindfulness and self-awareness. We nurture what IS working in your life.


I have worked well with people from age 5 years to 65 years. I am informed and aware of concerns related to all gender identities and relationship types. I work with concerns related to mood disorders, anxiety disorders, stress, trauma, self-harm, suicidality, substance use, addiction recovery, relationship issues, and identity exploration

I use a therapeutic framework known as Relational Cultural Therapy. From that framework I construct a therapeutic experience unique to each client by incorporating my knowledge of evidence-based practices like CBT and DBT as well as trauma-treatment concepts from renowned theorists like Bessel Van Der Kolk and Peter Levine, and relationship therapies from the Gottman Institute and Sue Johnson. 


I identify as a cisfemale Mexican American who grew up here in El Paso, and who is proud to be a mental health provider in my hometown. I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology and earned my master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from University of Colorado Denver. I am an animal lover, wilderness adventurer, and seeker of tranquility.

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