Bianca Farmer is a Latina mental health counselor who found in JVS SoCal the support and guidance needed to grow as a professional. Just as she was nearing completion of the 3,000 counseling hours needed to practice in California, Bianca sought help. “I feel like in a lot of my journey I hadn’t had much guidance, so I was really seeking out some type of fundamental foundation that could provide that for me,” says Bianca.
A first-generation university graduate, Bianca Farmer’s path to starting her own counseling practice started with an interest in criminal justice. She interned with the Bay Area JusticeCorps during her last year of undergraduate studies where she worked with attorneys helping lowincome people in need of legal services.
“I loved advocacy work but I wanted to understand more the prevention aspect” says Bianca, “that’s why I wanted to understand the human mind and behavior.”
After she found WoMentoring, a six-month career development program, Bianca felt more hope that her studies would pay off. WoMentoring offers women with defined career objectives the unique opportunity to be paired with a mentor who has an established career in the participant’s
Bianca was accepted into the program and was paired with Cori Newlander, a professional with over 20 years of experience in marriage and family therapy who runs a private practice in Santa Monica. Finally, Bianca met a role model with a career she could admire and emulate.
“Cori was awesome! I am so glad that we were paired together.” Says Bianca, “She met with me every week, and she was very patient,” adds Bianca.
Supported by the JVS SoCal Women’s Leadership Network, the program is designed to be highly structured to make sure that the mentee works closely with the JVS staff and their mentor to reach individually designed career goals.
Through the program, Cori shared with Bianca many details on how to open her private practice, including networking and insurance billing. During her mentorship, Bianca also received pointers on the state’s licensing and certification process, which she completed during this period of time.
“I had no idea how to start, I didn’t know where to go from there, my level of information was zero,” Bianca remembers. “When I met with her it was definitely much larger, so much information. She taught me the little, nitty-gritty: insurance, reaching out, networking, building up my website.”
After Bianca got her license, she wanted to grow more as a clinician. She leaned into the opportunity to train in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) to broaden her knowledge and therapy tools. She then turned again to JVS SoCal as it is really expensive and was able to secure a Women’s Leadership Network Impact Grant, designed to support women in JVS SoCal’s programs, which paid for her training.
This summer, Bianca returned to JVS SoCal to give her testimonial and thank the members of the Women’s Leadership Network. Her experience with JVS SoCal was key in launching her private counseling practice.
“It was awesome, and it was also very refreshing for me, just in the sense of knowing that I have that support and have someone to really rely on,” said Bianca.