Meet Emily Abeledo-Adams, LCSW
I always joke with my clients about what a nerve-wracking setup it is to come into therapy, and confide your deepest, most personal secrets with a complete stranger! The comment helps break the ice, but I really do feel great empathy for clients’ discomfort. Because of this informational imbalance, I feel it is only fair to share a little about who I am. So here goes: more than you ever wanted to know about me. lol.
I was born in Los Angeles, California and after my parents divorced, I was raised between California and Costa Rica. During my years in Costa Rica, I lived with my mother and her side of the family. My maternal grandparents were my role models for what a marriage should be: loving, committed and enduring. They were farmers dedicated to growing coffee and therefore our lives where modest. But they were people of great integrity, who believed in themselves and in hard work, as well as in education. Mediocrity was never accepted and I learned from a young age, that the only acceptable effort, is the best effort we can give at anything.
After high school, I attended law school -because my father convinced me to do so- and after a long first year, I was confronted with the reality that law was not my vocation. I struggled with codependency towards my father and feared to disappoint him. But after some soul-searching, it became evident to me that this was my life, and I needed to follow my dreams and my vocation, instead of my father’s.
The rest was rather simple: I graduated from an undergraduate in Costa Rica and came back to California where I had to complete and the extra year just to validate my degree. I began working at a Halfway home for people with mental illnesses and substance abuse programs and later enrolled in Graduate school at the University of Southern California (USC). I worked at Didi Hirsh Community Mental health agency and Portals Mental Health under the psychosocial rehabilitation model. During graduate school, I completed internships working with children with learning disabilities and emotional disturbances at a non-public school setting; as well as at the Veteran’s Affairs Administration, with patients and family members of those suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of Dementia.
I completed my Master’s Degree part-time since I worked full time in an Intensive Case Management program form people with severe and persistent mental illnesses, homelessness and substance abuse issues. Yes! I even worked in East L.A and Skid row!
After five years in this agency, my best friend and I decided to get married and we moved to his hometown in New Jersey. Yes, from Los Angeles, California to a small rural town in New Jersey with a total of one thousand people and one-mile radius.
Shortly after we had a son, I began working at the Cumberland County Guidance Center and completed the requirements to become licensed to practice therapy independently. In 2001 I became an LCSW and established my private practice in Elmer, NJ. I completed special training at the Philadelphia Child and Family Therapy training center and specialized in Structural and Strategic Family Therapy.
Five years later, I decide to become a funeral director to also be able to help with the family business. I became a funeral director in NJ in 2006 and started working with my husband, at the Adams Funeral Homes, in Woodstown, Elmer and Penns Grove, NJ. Because of this special training and my new professional experience, I also specialized in Grief and Bereavement counseling. I worked in Hospice and palliative care, with terminally ill patients and their families helping them prepare for the imminent death of their loved ones and offering psychosocial and spiritual counseling.
In 2009, we adopted our daughter – who is the light of my life and an answered prayer – and I decided to cut back my work to be her main caregiver. Since then, I have only worked part-time in my private practice. Having a biracial child has exposed me to many issues of race and gender that I had not experienced before. It has also shown me the huge capacity we have to love, and that family is all about the bond and the love and does not require shared genes.
In the last 5 years, I have become adept in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Cognitive Behavioral Treatment (CBT). I completed a Trauma-Informed treatment certification from Bryn Mawr College and have specialized in the treatment of first-responders like police, emergency room physicians and personnel, fire-fighters and ambulance workers. I also became certified in Gottman Marriage Counseling, levels I and II, treating hundreds of couples with great success rates.
Which brings me to where I am today, married for 21 years with a College age son and a 9-year-old tennis prodigy that has me living the life of a tennis mom in Bradenton, Florida. In the little spare time I have, I love to read and to do Crossfit, so I can catch up with my husband who is an avid marathon runner and overall athlete.
I am still licensed in New Jersey and now, also in Florida. I continue to have a part-time private practice and do teletherapy consultations as well both nationally and internationally. I work with highly exceptional people, and I am enjoying every moment of it.
Education & Credentials
- Florida Licensed Clinical Social Worker
- New Jersey Licensed Clinical Social Worker
- Gottman Certified Marriage Counselor Level I and Level II
- Trauma-Informed treatment certification from Bryn Mawr College