Christina is a Strozzi Institute Certified Somatic Coach with a BA in Psychology from the University of Arizona and graduate studies in Counseling, International Peace and Conflict Resolution, and Latin American Studies. Her extensive non-profit work in Domestic Violence, Children's Mental Health and International Issues (including immigration and environmental preservation) influenced and motivated Sereno's mission and practices.
"I tasked myself at a young age to find solutions to both practical and psychological problems. Growing up in a bicultural environment made me a witness and active participant in many complex personal crises and for which I found myself learning to adapt quickly to different personalities and expectations.
I am a strong believer in the importance of counseling and the mental health system, but I have observed repeatedly that very few people seek help when they really need it - mostly because it became “one more thing” that the person would have to make time for when everything seemed to be falling apart. My determination to close this gap and give people a chance to move forward is one of the many reasons I decided to start Sereno Relief Services."
Founder, Somatic Coach & Change Strategist
What does "Sereno" mean?
When I lay down to sleep at night, sometimes, when I’m especially stressed, I breathe in deeply and remember the sound of a whistle cutting through the Salvadoran night.
I grew up in two very distinct worlds, one, a very “normal” American dream, and in the other, I was a part of a growing community in El Salvador during the end of a civil war and its aftermath. I went back and forth throughout my childhood and, despite knowing that my life included a certain amount of risk, I always left a large part of my heart there. I’ll admit that there have been times when I’ve been in my grandfather’s house and been afraid – sitting with the knowledge that life, especially in that environment, is unpredictable. My mind told me regularly that every noise I couldn’t explain was a threat to me and my family.
Was that rational thought? I can’t be sure. However, I know I wasn’t alone in that thought or feeling. When I felt like that - like it could all fall apart - I would listen for the whistle of the Sereno, i.e. the night watchman. I know that the concept of a night watchman isn’t uncommon or unique to my little tropical world, and I can’t say what the normal practices are. In my neighborhood, the sereno makes his rounds and periodically uses a whistle to announce to his fellow serenos that he has found no danger and that his community is safe. Even though I know that the whistle comes from a single man on a bicycle with no weapon to protect me, it has brought me great comfort in times of turmoil to know that someone is aware of my need to feel safe and is doing something about it.
It is this same feeling that I want my clients to experience. I want them to know that those of us at Sereno Relief Services know that they are confused or scared about being able to control their situation and that our staff is dedicated to making sure that they know that someone is with them in their darkest night. Most importantly, I want our clients to feel safe knowing that together we will figure it out.