Meet Monica!

LCSW, Clinician

Hello! My name is Monica Cortes Ardila. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I am a bilingual English/Spanish Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I have certification in Individual Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Trauma-Focused Therapy. My approach is humanistic to assist individuals and couples with their journey to healing and wellness. My goal is to create a safe haven that promotes sex positivity and self-acceptance through connecting with the authentic self. My work includes using mindfulness, self-compassion, cognitive behavioral therapy, and emotion-focused therapy. I incorporate the mind, body, and spirit by integrating attachment and bonding within the self and external relationships.

Culture and Influence

As a holistic practitioner, I desire to explore biases, gender identity, gender roles, family roles, relationships, sexual practices, narratives, and unspoken expectations related to cultural norms.  I encourage dialogue related to how culture influences every aspect of an individual’s relationship with themselves and their significant others’ interactions.  In my work, I facilitate exploring cultural identity and balancing the elements that serve and no longer serve the individual.  I practice cultural humility and offer an understanding of the client’s needs to be heard and accepted as they are.  My goal is to provide a non-judgmental, warm, and compassionate space where clients can feel free to explore and grow. 


I use self-compassion in my work with clients to assist with emotional difficulties.  Self-compassion consists of three parts: self-kindness, mindfulness, and shared humanity.  A common saying states, “we are our own worst critic” and self-compassion can help soothe this internal nuance.  Self-kindness consists of being less self-critical and caring for ourselves the way we would care for others.  Mindfulness consists of being present and allowing feelings, emotions, and sensations to flow without judgment.  Common humanity recognizes that all humans experience hardships in life, and it normalizes our beautiful, imperfect selves.  It is my wish to invite you to embark on this journey of self-compassion.


I welcome diverse constellations of relationships, including monogamous couples, open relationships, polyamory, BDSM, and LGBTQ partnerships.  Emotion-focused therapy explains that, as humans, we are hardwired to form attachments, bonds, and connections as it is an integral part of our survival, and it is a vital need for our wellbeing. Therefore, when conflicts, detachment, or infidelity disrupt relationships, the nervous system becomes negatively impacted.   As a result, partners become stuck in unhelpful cycles of communication driven by strong emotions, leaving them feeling confused, overwhelmed, fearful, unheard, and/or unseen.  In my work, I use communication, exploration, and validation to process unmet attachment needs.   I look forward to assisting clients with growing and healing through the exploration of their relationships. 

plants with small spikes


I provide a safe space where individuals can work to maintain self-compassion and self-love to build and promote clients to be their authentic selves in relationships, sexual identity, sexual intimacy, and the world.  As a holistic therapist, I use mindfulness and cognitive therapy approaches and other healing practices to promote self positivity.  I believe that mind, body, and spirit are connected and, if they are aligned, they create the best version of oneself.  I explore core belief systems, internal biases, unmet attachment needs, traumas, and use a strength-based approach to guide the healing journey.  I hope that individuals will optimize their desires and live to their full potential.


I enjoy quality time with family and friends.  You can find me spending time in nature, hiking, riding my bicycle, sitting on the beach watching sunsets, and exploring new restaurants.  I also enjoy reading, taking dance classes, tai chi classes, meditation, live music, and festivals.  I have a passion for healthy living. 

Licensed Social Worker LCSW76467


M.S.W., Master of Social Work, University of Southern California 

B.A., Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, University of California Los Angeles

Certification & Training

AASECT Certified Sex Therapist Candidate 

Individual Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (I-CBT)

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)

Structural Family Therapy (Trained)

Emotion-Focused Therapy (Trained)

Additional Skills

Bilingual and Bicultural English/ Spanish

"We accept the love we think we deserve."
Stephen Chbosky