Hearts Healing

“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become. “

~Carl Jung

Michelle Montalbano


Finding beauty in my surroundings and wanting to create connection with people led me to my first career of thirty years as a professional photographer. This taught me the lesson of perspective.

Parenthood became my second and undoubtedly my favorite career of a lifetime, teaching me patience and unconditional love (and a million more things).

As with many people that choose a helping profession, there was a catalyst – an impactful life experience that led me toward my current work as a drug and alcohol counselor. Years ago, not one, but two of my kids, fell into addiction as teens. So, I have been there, in the trenches, dealing with all the grief, loss, sadness, and uncertainty that can accompany substance use disorder and mental health issues. I struggled desperately with where to turn for help.

And so my journey began…

I went back to school to gain a greater understanding of addiction and mental illness. I acquired knowledge of our local resources and support services. I developed counseling skills and honed those as a case manager at a treatment center for women and children. As a Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor, I now use my knowledge, skills, experiences and the adversity in my life to help and support others through their own challenging journeys.

I am honored and humbled to be able to be of service.


I approach counseling with my head and my heart.

Formal education teaches the foundations of moral and ethical duty of confidentiality and boundaries. These are among many of the important skills that I uphold as imperative to a successful and healthy practice. I am trained in CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), Motivational Interviewing, Seeking Safety and Trauma Informed Care, all of which are evidence based theories.

In addition to this, I believe the relationship between client and counselor is a two way street. Healing and connection inevitably go both ways.

I bring my passion for the outdoors, so most of the sessions are held during walks or sitting in a quiet setting, because nature can be one of the greatest healers of all!

I believe in this profession. My own experience and story are what help me to be better at what I do, bringing more understanding, empathy, and compassion.

I believe it takes great courage, humility, and vulnerability to seek help and it is a great strength to be able to ask for it.

I believe it takes commitment, as well as perseverance, and a willingness to face the challenges.

I believe it requires mutual respect and honesty.

Most importantly, I believe we are not alone. We are all connected. Our suffering, grief, loss, and pain is shared, but with that, so is our joy, laughter, and love.

Addiction Counselor Certification Board of California        Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor 1 (CATC 1)        Credential# 21108801         ©2022 HeartsHealing.love