In our Clients' Words
We’re very moved to have received numerous kind words from our clients. Here are some of their powerful stories as written by them, with permission.
—J.R. Architect. Divorce Recovery. Online Spanish-language Therapy Client
For a year I have been taking sessions with Karina, at first more frequently due to my situation at the time.
I went to Karina on the recommendation of a friend who was also seeing her, because I was going through a divorce and I felt totally lost and full of anger.
After several sessions I began to notice a change in me…. I began to feel calmer and to see things in a different way, with more acceptance. Because of the communication with Karina, who has a lot of content and has a subtle way of making you recognize and see things on the inside.
It helped me a lot to know myself as a person and how to face situations in my daily life.
I have already recommended Karina to several friends who have needed help at some point and they all tell me how glad they are to have met her, as I am.
Without a doubt I would recommend Karina for: 1- Knowledge, 2- Knowing how to guide you when you are lost, 3- Her communication and way of being subtle with very sensitive issues, 4. She gives you tools to help you deal with the situation.
Among many other virtues.
—L.W. Horse Trainer/Writer. Retreat Client with her husband. In couples therapy after years of struggle with alcohol abuse
“I am a bit at a loss for words (which doesn’t happen often) as the true depth of my gratitude is so deep words cannot come close to how I feel.
I have never opened up to anyone in my life as I have with you. From almost the minute I met you, I immediately started to feel safe and secure. 2 things I haven’t had in my life. By opening that door, I was then able to open my heart and soul to (my husband) much deeper than I ever have.
You have the perfect balance with softness while at the same time you are no pushover when it comes to getting to the nitty-gritty. You have the uncanny ability to put very complex principles into everyday language to help the lay person such as myself to understand and learn the necessary concepts and tools to start to heal.
Your sharing of your love and understanding of the healing aspect of the ocean has also been invaluable. Our mornings on the beach allowed me to open to the often intense work we did during the day—Thank you for sharing that special time with me.
You are such a talented healer—so giving not only of your immense knowledge, your understanding of trauma and the tools to help, but your true compassion and love which is so needed in a program such as this.
My immense gratitude for the understanding and healing of my soul mate and allowing my hurt soul to be able to give the empathy and compassion to him that he so deserves. You are the catalyst in helping to empower us to see the amazing bond we have, that our relationship is so worth the effort and the light at the end of the very dark tunnel we have been trapped in for far too many years. Our future is now so bright and the opportunities popping up everywhere. Thanks from the depth of my heart and soul.
So, although I am leaving … (hopefully only for a short time), my heart, thoughts and deep feelings will always be with you. Thank you, soul sister.
—D.M. CEO. Retreat Client. After a 6-year struggle with Complex PTSD and severe alcoholism through 4 detox centres
“What Karina Inzunza did for me or better yet, helped me do for myself. I am a CEO of a defence manufacturing company in … who developed a severe life-threatening addiction to alcohol that spanned about six years. I had been in and out of detox centers in the US at least 4 times and had been hospitalized in intensive care with life threatening alcoholic pancreatitis. The consequences were severe. I am now diabetic from the alcoholic pancreatitis. I also had life threatening heart arrhythmias because of cold turkey attempts to quit alcohol without medical management. Alcoholism can be an acute life-threatening disease as well as one that slowly destroys your brain, liver and organs. It is only 1 of 2 substances that you can die from while detoxing, which is why doing it properly with medical management and observation and therapeutic and mental health support.
I did what they told me joining a 12-step AA program. I went to Intensive Outpatient therapy for 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result (insanity). None of it worked. I would fall off the wagon after 3-6 months and repeat.
I was diagnosed with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which was the cause of my alcoholism, but every Therapist discouraged me from talking about the trauma. Especially in a group setting, as describing the trauma was very uncomfortable for the Therapist and group members. The trauma thoughts would not leave me alone. They replayed in my mind constantly like a video on loop. All the Therapists said, “You have to stop talking about it and move on with the program”.
Very young therapists with very little clinical or life experience would simply push photocopied sheets at you and then discuss the content. After an AA meeting, I always had the urge to stop at the beer store or liquor store whereas I didn’t have that intense urge before the meeting.
I could not listen to another “rock bottom” story, and deal with my own mental issues. Nothing worked.
There are two types of addiction rehab centers in America. Those for the extremely wealthy with lobster dinners, and complete relaxing environment and so many activities that when you leave and go back to your real life, you are lost and have difficulty returning to duties, responsibilities, and ultimately…..drinking or other substance abuse. Many of the wealthy become addicted to going to these centers as it is an escape from reality and a brief relief from the substance.
The other type is State or Hospital-based Rehab centers or mixed Psychiatry/Rehab units. Here you are treated like a child and a prisoner. 15 min bed checks around the clock. You will find most of the people there are Psychiatric patients with severe behavioral problems or are there mandated by the court for substance related charges. They seem engaged in group therapy, but on meal breaks they are exchanging drug dealers contact information or talking about what they are going to drink when they get out. This only makes the rehab process more difficult. Even the State facilities are expensive, costing more than the therapy in the Dominican Republic.
That’s when I started searching the web for something in Canada or the Caribbean. The Canadian system seemed similar to the institutional system in the US. I looked at beautiful centers in Mexico, and the Caribbean. The scary thing about many of those countries is you read about how they use hallucinogens like Ayahuasca or keep you against your will until your bank runs dry. The scariest of all is you do not have patient rights.
Then I found this program run by Canadian health and mental health professionals, including Karina Inzunza who was ultimately in charge of my case. The facility is set up based on Canadian health care standards and practices. It has a beautiful resort like feel, but you are there to do the work of healing yourself so don’t expect to get a deep bronze tan (maybe a sunburn).
They incorporate various types of therapy. Medically supported detox, mind and body therapy, and even relaxing trips to the beach. The therapists eat meals with the clients in a very family-like atmosphere. When you get there and are in the detox phase, it is your choice to eat alone as most will feel like isolating themselves through this phase. As for feeling uncomfortable going to a foreign country for this type of therapy, I was nervous right up until the point I was picked up at the Airport by the smiling welcoming face of the center’s facilitator.
I spent many of my daily hours of work, one on one with Karina. She specializes in Trauma therapy. It was the first time a therapist in a program focused on the cause of the alcoholism instead of just the alcoholism itself. I had suggested this over and over again to my therapist in the US. They just told me to move on from it. It felt extremely satisfying and anxiety relieving to talk about the trauma, and it was not a one-way street.
Karina analyzed every piece of my life experience and trauma and gave feedback helping me to understand how the traumatic experiences actually rewired my brain, creating unconscious and conscious loops of thoughts and vivid memories that I couldn’t control from clouding my brain every minute of the day. She trained me in mindfulness. She educated me on neurological changes that occur in the brain both related to the trauma and the resulting addiction behavior. She showed me the research on how the brain can be rewired back to a healthier state through various techniques like mindfulness, and neurofeedback.
She recognized in me the therapeutic benefit of going to the beach at sunrise. She would bang on my door if I overslept and the group of volunteers would go to the beach for a long walk in the ocean air. The entire atmosphere is healing in itself. Getting out of your atmosphere at home or the cold, rainy weather of the North East US was important in this process, further relieving your anxiety just as a vacation does.
Karina gave me homework exercises be it reading or writing, and techniques to overcome the repetitive thoughts that result in paralyzing anxiety. She taught me why all this was going on mentally which was half of the battle. This allowed me to work on myself each day.
Over the course of time I spent with Karina and the other staff and exercises, my night terrors began to decrease. I was less tired because I wasn’t waking repeatedly in the night. I became less isolated and enjoyed my contact with other staff and clients. I spoke at dinner without feeling social anxiety. I was sharing thoughts on all manner of things. Normally I would just want to get a group dinner over with as soon as possible. Instead I found myself sitting there when the meal was over having enjoyable conversations.
The involuntary “movies” of the trauma playing on loop started to fade. By the end of the course of therapy these loops were all but gone. The depression started to lift when the anxiety subsided. With this urge to drink subsided, Karina reminded me I was not cured. I had to continue to seek trauma therapy on discharge and do the work myself as my brain was also wired with an addiction to alcohol.
It is a lifelong process, but at least years of life aren’t just passing by while you sit in a semi-drunken or drugged comatose state. You start to feel joy again. You start to enjoy your job. You enjoy the company of others. Your relationship with your family will improve.
Karina even suggested a family therapy session by Skype after discharge, so my wife and children understood the cause of my drinking. Karina helped them understand my diagnosis and why I had changed so drastically in the last 6 years. She made suggestions to them on how they can help me, because as all addicts know, you can’t do it alone.
A friend of mine from the Military has severe PTSD from being shot seven times in the 1990s as a Peacekeeper in the Bosnian war. His life was destroyed as there was really no recognition of PTSD or therapy for it. He turned to alcohol, and ultimately his Doctor prescribed him medical marijuana. Maybe this helps with his trauma and he stopped drinking, but what I see is a miserable person who is just stoned every waking hour and is disabled and useless to his wife and kids.
The answer for an addiction is not another substance. This story is played out the same way for millions of people no matter what has caused the trauma. Even with therapy, the success rate is poor and the instance of substance abuse whether prescription, street drugs like heroin or alcohol are just a very ineffective and life destroying band-aid that people think is getting them through the day.
As I discovered, it is very important to find a true specialist in trauma with vast training and experience like Karina whom are very few in number. She is surrounded by a support team that works with your body and mind to include medical support, yoga, massage, swimming, even Spanish lessons to stimulate your mind and memory.
Karina and the entire program, facility and frankly the atmosphere of the Caribbean have given me the tools to fight addiction. I highly recommend this program and Karina. As I said before, to keep doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result is insanity. Karina and center saved my life, and on top of that I have made a lifelong friend.”
—S.R. Engineer. Depression & Couple Conflict. Online Spanish-language Therapy Client
My experience with Karina was very good and different, since I had tried several psychologists and never got results. I came to Karina with a very strong depression problem which helped me a lot. She was always available for me at any time, whether it was a session or not, she always attended me.
Karina is a very empathetic person and she cares about the person because she does not treat you as a client but as a human being, unlike the psychologists of today who only see you in a monetized way, Karina does not.
She cares first that you are well and second to help you improve the problem. She is excellent and was in a very difficult time in my life which without her help I would not have come out of that abyss. I thank her infinitely, I appreciate her as if she were a relative.
J.S. Legal Assistant. After her 16-year struggle with prescription pills, anorexia & bulimia
“I am a 33 year-old woman. … I suffered almost 16 years from a high dose medication addiction, such as diuretics and sleeping pills. I hated my body, self-harmed me so far. I had anorexia and bulimia for 15 years as well.
I was already seeking for help years before, because this addiction was wearing me out. I was physically at the end in 2017. My heart stopped twice during a stay in Germany, due to my poor physical appearance. In 2019 my heart stopped almost again. I was hospitalized in ICU again. I was caught in a vicious circle I did not get out of. I had already given up, and had no idea how someone could still help me. I had given up for 99%. Once I heard about the … rehab facility close to my home, I checked it out, in March 2019. I have looked at so many places before. But this was different.
I met Karina Inzunza that day and knew instantly, if there is a chance to get out of this life, then it is here. I struggled with addiction, have seen various psychiatrists, various psychologists for the last 16 years, with no success. I was also offered a stationary stay in Germany, in 2017 which I denied. I felt they will not be able to rewire my brain. I felt anyhow with all other psychologists and psychiatrists before, they do not really understand me or seem to be superficial.
As soon as I saw the premises and people I felt, that this is the place where my questions will get answered and my circling mind will relax. Karina looked at me and I felt connected to her. She was able and willing to read inside of me like in an open book. She even discovered pages which have been glued together in my childhood. I didn’t remember. She uses modern strategies and becomes a part of the client’s history. She dives into the life of each patient to discover the origins and reasons for the addiction. Karina Inzunza is not just giving normal counseling, she has a wide spectrum of skills and knowledge, probably no one else has.
Every half-good counselor can give good sessions, with exactly that what he/she has learned in the books. But Karina does not rest on any old studies. She goes with time and space always curious, what new studies came out, what could help herself and her clients to understand the complexity of a human’s brain. She has a heart, is passionate and is loving, that makes her special. And she is always optimistic.
Once I understood my parent’s childhood, my childhood, the different types of attachments, the communication skills, and many more it started to make all sense. I remembered journaling each day, more and more from my childhood, suppressed feelings, which I needed to let go now, appeared. Feelings, which have not been there so clear before. Karina Inzunza started working on my fragmentation and it all started to make sense. I got answers to my questions. I spiritually and ritually grew.
I would have never even thought to get so far mentally. I knew I had the will to change, but body and mind went on a rollercoaster for 16 years. To be for 99% sure I will not relapse is a big accomplishment. To have self-esteem, I never had before, to feel alive again, was out of my imagination. But with Karina’s sessions I came so far.
Personally, I highly recommend Karina Inzunza, with my recovery, she made a miracle happen. No one would have believed that I could be and look the way I am and do now. I was for most people a lost case and I had already given up on myself. But something told me inside, that Karina will be able to help me. And I was right. All my respect to this highly intelligent and loving woman, Karina Inzunza.”
—Parents of J.S. Retreat Client. After JS 16-year struggle with prescription pills, anorexia & bulimia
“We are the parents of Janie. Before (this therapy) we had no hopes left that our daughter is going to be healthy one day again, because she’s been struggling with this addiction for the last 16 years. Abuse of medication, self-harm behaviour and Anorexia. She’s been through all different kinds of hospitalizations, close to death some. She has been to a kind of different therapists and psychiatrists, but instead of getting better the whole situation for her and for the whole family just got worse. Daily depressions and discussions at a high cortisol level, communication was impossible in our house, because of the level of stress and aggression.
We still, of course, hoped for her, when she signed in for treatment, but that hope was very small, due to our thoughts and what we have seen and been through.
Our daughter, shortly after the arrival, improved. She ate, her face looked better, she just looked like our little girl we lost 16 years ago. We still cannot believe it but we have her back. It still feels like a dream, there are no words which can explain how grateful we are with Karina Inzunza’s work.
It is a miracle what she did to that stubborn, stuck young woman. We have to be grateful for the rest of our lives. We are a family again, and learned because of Karina Inzunza, how to communicate better, to express our feelings and not suppress anything. To keep our Cortisol levels low. Karina Inzunza uses a strategy which is new, and we highly recommend her as a counselor. Because her way and structure of her sessions is just unique.
So far she’s one of the best counselors we have seen, or actually, she is the best we have met because our daughter is back and it has been a very long fight, giving up hopes for 16 years. We never thought that we will have this chance to finally get our daughter back, but we did. Karina changed a lot and has a great and individual passionate program and human skills. We wish that she can make those changes in therapy and help many other people, because she has some skills the majority of the other counselors we’ve met does not have.
We live calm and quiet together again under 1 roof and even apply mindfulness for the whole family every day.”
—S.V. Artist/Designer. Retreat Client. After years of severe, chronic alcohol addiction
“I’d like to take a moment to share my experience of working with Karina Inzunza, during my 28 days in rehabilitation for severe, chronic alcohol addiction.
I felt instantly comfortable in Karina’s presence. She established clear boundaries and explained her role as my therapist, while being personable, warm and welcoming. It was obvious that Karina was actually listening to me, and she sincerely cared.
This made the process of being vulnerable and discussing (as well as uncovering) the darkest and most buried parts of my life and past not only easy, but surprisingly enjoyable. I always looked forward to my sessions with Karina as they were liberating, freeing and insightful, and I left each one feeling lighter, and enlightened.
Karina was always fully present and engaged in my stories, helping me to quickly identify many key issues I hadn’t considered as being events that have been contributing to my severe addiction, and in turn, quality of life.
After (and during) my very first session, I began feeling free from the layers of guilt, resentment, shame and grief I’ve been carrying for longer than I can remember. Through her advice and suggestions, I became engaged in the process, and the quality of my thoughts, feelings and life has improved consistently and remarkably faster than I ever imagined possible.
I attribute my sessions with Karina to finally, after decades, feeling as though I am becoming a ‘whole’ person again – rather than fragmented pieces, broken by trauma and eventually, leading to severe alcohol addiction.
Her professionalism and vast well of knowledge not only gave me confidence and comfort, but a wealth of education I was not expecting.
What I value most is how very personalized and holistic every consideration that Karina provided was. When addressing anything, she would quickly and clearly help me see the connections between a certain trauma and how it was manifesting in my current situation. She always explained or suggested the “how” and the “why” – helping me draw my only conclusions at times, resulting in those “a-ha!” moments that truly hit home. I felt like I was not only working with a talented Psychotherapist, but discussing my challenges, traumas and personal life with a trusted friend.
Without an ounce of exaggeration, I can honestly say Karina was a major component in saving my life.
I am grateful for her wisdom and guidance, but I am also grateful for her passion for psychotherapy and helping others. Karina always helped me feel safe, listened to – and understood. It never felt as though she was ‘working’ since she was so engaged in every word I was saying. Her level of attention, dedication and passion is rare in our current world, and I’m beyond lucky to have been able to have had the pleasure of working with her.”