Mary Ann “Maren” Pilsitz is a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor and a Licensed Professional Counselor Associate. She joined La Hacienda’s Solutions in June 2014 and has worked both in-person and virtually with groups, individuals, couples, and families.
With more than a decade of experience in chemical dependency care, Maren utilizes an eclectic approach for her group and individual sessions, including person-centered techniques, trauma-informed care, motivational interviewing, solution-focused brief therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps patients identify how core beliefs and distorted thinking patterns can affect feelings and behaviors.
She also utilizes family systems and attachment theory to help individuals, couples, and families understand one’s family dynamics and how our earliest relationships can influence current relationships.
“Addiction not only affects individuals who are chemically dependent, but it also impacts those who truly love and care about them,” says Maren. “Fortunately, there is help for all who have been impacted by this disease.”
Experienced in Counseling
Prior to joining La Hacienda, Maren worked in sales and client relations for major finance and technological corporations.
“I learned a lot about the importance of building client relationships and working together as a team, which is still relevant in the work I do today,” says Maren.
While dealing with burnout and the effects of corporate downsizing during the recession years, she considered other ways to engage in more meaningful work.
“I thought about things that I am passionate about, as well as I reflected on the lessons of my life experiences. I also talked it over with loved ones and then one day, all of a sudden, the call came and I answered,” says Maren.
She found a new calling and followed her passion. Since 2010, Maren has provided counseling services to individuals diagnosed with substance dependence and dual-diagnosis, as well facilitating groups in criminal justice/corrections rehabilitation settings, inpatient, and outpatient settings.
Her educational training and experience include providing services to individuals with a variety of problems, including addiction, relapse prevention, guilt/shame, low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, stress, trauma, and relationship issues.
Passionate About Helping People
Maren is passionate about helping others to create meaningful and lasting change. Carl Rogers once said that the most important aspect of a counseling relationship is the relationship itself. Maren strives to develop a trusting and mutual relationship with her patients by creating a secure and warm therapeutic environment for each to share their thoughts and feelings.
She loves the “family-feel” of La Hacienda and how the staff shares the philosophy of not only helping addicts and alcoholics build a foundation for long-term recovery, but also caring for their mind, body, and spirit and their overall health and wellness.
“I appreciate the threefold wellness approach when it comes to patient care,” says Maren. “Witnessing patients enter treatment with uncertainty about the future and then expressing a new passion for life is truly inspiring to me.”
Up close and personal, she has not only witnessed the devastating effects of addiction but has also seen the miracles of recovery. This inspired her to switch careers to follow her passion to help others and continue her education.
Holds Two Master’s Degrees
Maren recently earned a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Lamar University and has almost completed her post-graduate associate hours under the supervision of Carla Allen, LPC-S, LCDC, NCC.
She also holds a master’s degree in Human Services Counseling from Liberty University, as well a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Angelo State University.
Living Abroad Was a Learning Experience
Maren grew up primarily in San Angelo, but also spent many years living overseas at U.S. military bases where her father was stationed.
“Some of my best memories growing up include immersing myself into different cultures, including learning new traditions and trying different foods,” says Maren. She also gained an appreciation for the resiliency of diverse populations and is culturally sensitive to various practices and beliefs, an attitude which also helps her work.
While stationed at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines, Maren and her family survived the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, the second-largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century.
“It was one of the most scary and traumatic moments of my life, especially since Typhoon Yunya also made landfall during the eruption. We survived what seemed to be the impossible and I am forever grateful to those who helped rescue us during Operation Fiery Vigil.”
Self-Care in the City
In her free time, Maren enjoys live music concerts, listening to podcasts, meditating, cooking and trying new recipes, going on culinary explorations in Austin, traveling to new states/cities/countries, visiting West Texas every now and then, collecting healing stones and gems, as well as she enjoyed spending time with loved ones, friends, and her two cats, Flower and Penny.