We had the good fortune of connecting with Marissa Esquibel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marissa, what inspires you?
My mission in life is to empower young women to stop playing small and start taking up space! This includes me since I was a non-space-taker and spent a lot of my childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood “playing small.” My inspiration is to help 20 and 30-something women avoid the pitfalls and agony I experienced as a consequence of shrinking myself to fit the roles that others expected from me. A lot of the mistakes and mishaps I went through during my 20s were avoidable if only I was able to a) talk about it honestly and b) get help. Transitioning from a girl to a woman, especially in today’s society with pressures from social media, is really hard! I’m inspired by and hope to alleviate the emotional suffering of Gen-Z and Millennial women so they can have the careers, families, and lifestyles that they want. I’m also inspired by the lineage of strong Latinx women in in my family. Both of my grandmothers were badass despite growing up in a time where they were expected to clean, cook, and cater to men. I have been empowered and emboldened by them, my mother, and my two sisters to reach for what I want and not let my gender, skin color, or statistics about Latinx women (like the fact that we earn about 40 cents for every dollar a white male makes) get in my way. I’d like to think of myself as the AOC of psychotherapy where I’m taking up space and putting my message out there in spite of being young, Brown, and a woman.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I’m not like a regular therapist, I’m a cool therapist (and yes, I took that from Mean Girls). I am a psychotherapist providing individual & group therapy to 20-somethings all over California. Thanks to Covid, I transitioned my in-office practice to a virtual one and now the entire coast is my “front window.” As a modern therapist, I pride myself in being able to draw from the wisdom of old-school psychology (Freud is my homeboy) with my patients present-day dilemmas (“What do I say back to this Hinge message?”). A lot of therapists would look at my patients and think “they’re young. What do they need therapy for?” Little do they know that my high-achieving and people-pleasing patients are riddled with anxiety, suffering from waves of depression, and are so codependent they can’t cancel plans without being consumed by guilt. I love working with young adults since it is the first time they have been “on their own” and they’re in a critical period where they can either a) work through their past or b) keep on repeating it. I got to where I am today by hustling my butt off. I initially invested in two courses that helped me learn how to market, network, and tap into my entrepreneurial spirit. From there, I started my practice the same month that Covid hit so I had to make major pivots and build my practice virtually. It was difficult but I learned it was not impossible. I’ve learned that I am stronger than I thought and have gotten to know my tenacity, which I’m in love with. I want young women who are thinking about working with me that I was in your place at 20. When I first went to college, I struggled: I barely missed being placed on academic probation, gained 30 pounds, and spent many Sundays trying to piece together what I had done the previous evening since I blacked-out regularly. I went to therapy and was able to turn it all around: I lost 40 pounds (and have kept it off for 12 years), stopped dating alcoholics, and found direction in my life. Since I’ve lived the magic that is therapy, I love being able to provide my patients with the same experience where they can truly turn things around and work towards creating the life of their dreams.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m really into hiking so I would make my BFF gear up and go hike up Mt. Baldy with me. I’d have us pack for a day-long hike with water, trail mix, and and energy bars. We’d start before sunrise and likely take 2-3 hours walking to the top. Up there, we would be able to see all over Southern California and bask in the beautiful morning. From there, we’d hike down to “The Top of The Notch,” which is an amazing restaurant located on the mountain. We’d dig into their delicious brunch, sip a beer from the bar, and nod “hello” to all the other hikers and families (who cheated and took the chairlift up). There likely would be some kids enjoying the zip-lining outside and we’d laugh while watching them “zip” from top to bottom. Then it would be a nice walk down the mountain while enjoying the crisp mountain air.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Tiffany McLain – fellow psychotherapist, entrepreneur, and overall badass who changed my life by challenging my limiting beliefs and “play big.”
Arek Kissoyan (my loving husband)