STERLING – A little boy, about 6 years old, kept burying a little figurine in sand during therapy sessions with Juanita Madrigal.
When Madrigal asked him why, he said, “Oh, it kind of reminds me of me sometimes.”
Madrigal discovered that the boy wanted to hide because he had been abused in the past. She passed along the information to his foster mom, who thought the reason he hid in his closet was because he didn’t like her, Madrigal said.
Madrigal, 54, opened an Isaiah Counseling Center, 2605 Woodlawn Road in the Woodlawn Road office complex in February. She offers play therapy, including the use of dolls, houses and sand, to treat children.
Madrigal said she has heard that she is the only counselor in the area who offers play therapy, and the only one fluent in Spanish.
Madrigal opened Isaiah Counseling Center in Berwyn in 1999, then moved about a year ago to nearby Stickney. She now lives in Rock Falls and hopes to transition from her suburban office and eventually work full time in Sterling, she said.
Madrigal offers individual, couple and family therapy. She intends to conduct support groups, psychotherapy groups and educational groups when she has enough people interested.
Topics for the educational groups could include stress management, dealing with anxiety, communication with family, and building your own or your children’s self esteem.
She named the center after the biblical chapter of Isaiah that deals with hope and salvation. When clients walk through her door, she wants them to feel hopeful, she said.
That does not mean she tries to impose her religious beliefs on others, she said. “Hope is universal.”
Seeing people transform through therapy is a pleasant part of her job, said Madrigal, who has 30 years of experience. She is certified as an addiction counselor and as a cognitive behavioral therapist.
She also has a great deal of experience in trauma work and treating children who have been abused or who are in foster care.
For more information
Counselor Juanita Madrigal got a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1989 and a master’s in family and community counseling in 1993 from Northeastern University. She completed coursework for a doctorate at Adler School of Professional Psychology, but did not secure a Ph.D. because she did not finish a dissertation or an internship.
Her Isaiah Counseling Center is open by appointment Monday, Friday and Saturday, including evenings, at 2605 Woodlawn Road in Sterling.
Call 815-716-8641 for more information.