Like many, my journey to becoming a therapist was a long and winding road. It began in the entertainment industry working as a publicist for high profile celebrities and brands, followed by a second career in the healing arts doing energy work and therapeutic massage. After deciding to go back to grad school, and finishing my 3000 hours, I am now thriving in my dream career of being a private practice licensed psychotherapist. What’s even cooler is that I’m able to draw upon my past careers to inform my current practice. I truly believe that everything happens for reason and to trust the timing of life.
An interest in the healing professions has always been present for me. I draw on the experiences of my past to inform my work, including a narrative and somatic approach, focusing on an individual’s unique experience, felt sense and meaning making. Being a dancer in my early years, I’m very aware of the importance of body posture, breath work, and movement. How we show up in our bodies has a huge impact on our emotional life.
My individual experiences and areas of interest allowed me to create a unique practice specializing in working with people who struggle with disordered eating, anxiety, and questioning self-worth. I love to work with people who are caught in self-sabotaging behaviors, feel stuck in their lives, feel unable to move forward from past trauma, or struggle with self-actualization. I believe that my empathy, patience and hunger for knowledge in these areas support my clinical practice and allow me to be fully present for my clients.
I joined LA-CAMFT while I was pre-licensed, and was immediately drawn to the supportive and welcoming nature of the group. I later stepped into the position of Co-Chair for the Somatic Special Interest Group and have enjoyed working with fellow leaders to create educational workshops and nurturing opportunities for our community. I am grateful for LA-CAMFT for providing educational events, a fun/supportive community, mentors, leadership opportunities and a place for us all to feel welcomed, seen and heard in this challenging profession. This field is filled with continual growth, transformation and exploration of ourselves as well as our relationships, and I am honored to go through such transformations with the support of my fellow MFTs.
Ilona Varo, LMFT is a graduate of UC- Irvine, Phillips Graduate University and alumni of Southern California Counseling Center. She is fluent in Hungarian and is LA-CAMFT’s Co-Chair for the Somatic Special Interest Group. Ilona is passionate about working with women’s issues, eating disorders and approaching the work from a somatic lens; her goal is to help clients heal using their own body-wisdom. Ilona can be reached at Therapy@ilonavaro.com or 424.259.1112.