Maria Leija Briones

Maria Leija Briones

Adjunct faculty, art therapy
Master of Arts in Professional Mental Health Counseling with a Specialization in Addictions, Professional Counselor Associate, NCC

Teaches: AT 550 Diversity & Equity

Maria Leija Briones, MA, Professional Counselor Associate, NCC, is a Mental Health Counselor currently residing in Portland, Oregon, born and raised in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Maria holds a Master of Arts in Professional Mental Health Counseling with a Specialization in Addictions from Lewis & Clark College, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a Minor in Spanish from Portland State University. Her professional background for the past 8 years consists mostly in working with children 8+, adolescents, and families, specifically from diverse and underserved populations, including BIPOC. Maria is bilingual (English/Spanish) and bicultural. Maria has experience working in treatment settings and a juvenile justice setting. Maria is also a 2019 NBCC Minority Fellowship Addictions recipient and is in the process of getting certified as a Grief Educator.

Maria’s theoretical orientation or philosophy in counseling is based on person-centered, existentialism, and relational-cultural theory. Maria places high emphasis in the power of a good therapeutic relationship based on collaboration. A therapeutic relationship where there is empathy and where the client feels accepted, understood, heard, and welcomed to explore deeper layers of their experiences. Maria also uses an integrative approach that includes using counseling techniques drawn from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Expressive Arts Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with self-compassion focused interventions, and also uses a strength-based approach. Additionally, Maria also uses a multicultural, systemic, and social justice orientation where the client’s lived experiences based on their cultural identity and social locations are taken into consideration, including evaluating the impact that the systems that they live in can have in their life.

Outside of the counseling room, Maria enjoys writing poetry based on her personal experiences and one of her poems has been published in a book called Hispanic Women/Latina Leaders Overcoming Barriers in Higher Education by Daisy Indira Barron.