My name is Bonnie Cardillo, my pronouns are she/her/hers. First off, I would like you to know that I aim to provide a warm counseling space for you and your loved one to process without judgment – where all thoughts and feelings, even partially formed or tentatively felt ones, are heard and acknowledged. As a counselor who listens with empathy and cultural humility, I will approach your relationship with genuine curiosity to help you notice and shift patterns intentionally to meet your goals. Deciding to seek help for yourself and your relationship is an act of self-love that takes courage, and I applaud you for trusting yourself and potentially me with making positive changes to your mental and relational health.
In addition to working with clients at Estes Therapy during grad school, I also worked with clients at the Veteran’s Village of San Diego. There I conducted intake assessments and individual counseling sessions with veterans struggling with co-occurring mental health diagnoses, problematic substance use, and homelessness. As an undergraduate Psychology major at Santa Clara University, I gained research experience and an eventual publication exploring dating partners’ use of technology when feeling disconnected from one another. After graduating, my work in management at the online counseling platform BetterHelp has helped to reduce barriers to access for mental health care. During graduate school, I joined the team facilitating the Fostering Hope support group, which provides a free and safe space for couples dealing with infertility looking to adopt or foster through San Diego County; an opportunity that led to our team co-authoring a counselor education book chapter on the subject.
These experiences have enhanced my understanding of communication patterns, emotional connection, and the need to address trauma in a validating and empowering way in counseling. Fundamentally, I aim to offer a space for couples and individuals to be seen – to provide a space where thoughts you may have been avoiding are heard, vulnerable feelings are felt, and meaning is tried on in the effort of achieving your goals.
Trainings and Workshops:
- RIHS Motivational Interviewing
- ACT for PTSD and Moral Injury, Treatment of co-occurring disorders
- Working with the Homeless Community
- Sexual Assault Treatment Workshop
- TF-CBT with Children and Adolescents
- Perinatal Mental Health: Treating the Whole Family
- Play Therapy Workshop
- US Immigration Policy, DACA & Dreamers
- CPTWeb course through the National Center for PTSD
- Safe Space Allies: Trans & Nonbinary Communities
- PsychArmor Courses Completed: Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT); Substance Use Disorder, Military and Veteran Populations; Inner Conflict and Survivor’s Guilt
Topics of Focus:
- Young Adults, Adults, and Older Adults
- Couples and Individuals
- Later Life Issues
- Perinatal Mental Health
- Pregnancy Loss and Infertility
- Military and Veteran Issues
- Men’s Issues
Bonnie is supervised by Jennine Estes, LMFT#47653
Get to Know Couples Therapist Bonnie Cardillo
When did you decide to go into Mental Health Counseling?
For as long as I can remember, I have been drawn to helping people feel safe and empowered as individuals and in relationships. I believe that each individual and relationship has the capacity to grow and change throughout life, and for me, it’s an honor to work with clients toward their goals.
Do you have advice for someone who is considering counseling?
If you are thinking about trying counseling, remember that it took some degree of bravery, vulnerability, and self-awareness to get to this point of considering what your next steps are for your relationship. Please also know that I understand that there are so many reasons that people seek counseling, and if you and your partner would like to work with me it will be my honor to help you both explore what your reasons are for seeking help, and how to then make intentional goals.
What would you say to someone who is nervous about setting up their first counseling session with you?
If you’re feeling anxious, know that this is normal and that you can share that with me or any counselor. I will do my best to create a safe environment where you and your partner can feel heard without feeling like you are being rushed or judged.
Do you have a special area you focus on within the therapy field?
I have found that I have a natural affinity for working with couples and working empathetically with trauma-impacted communities, as I believe feeling loved and safe is a fundamental need for all of us. I have experience working clinically with veterans, BIPOC identifying clients, and those impacted by trauma and substance abuse. I recognize the strength it takes to seek help through counseling, and I feel humbled each time I am able to hear and heal parts of an individual or couple’s experience.
How do you pass your time when you are not working with clients?
Probably chiefly spending time with loved ones! I also enjoy traveling, audiobooks, snowboarding, watching sports, and trying my hand at things like cooking, surfing, and photography.
If you were not a therapist, what would you be doing?
That’s honestly a tough question. I have loved working in a team environment, so perhaps working on a team helps increase access to mental health care in a capacity other than being a therapist. I could also see myself being a florist in another life, or training emotional support dogs!