Dr. Bonilla is a Board-Certified Adult and Geriatric Psychiatrist, with expertise in treating treatment-resistant depression and OCD, using psychotherapy, medication management and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
Having grown up on a dairy ranch in the Andes mountains, raised by a Veterinarian and an animal lover, who rescued any suffering animal in her path, is not a surprise Dr. Bonilla is a nature lover.
On her free time, she likes exploring the natural word with her spouse, children and 15-year-old-rescue-dog Toto. On her hikes, camping trips and road trips, she is mesmerized by the wonders of nature, and loves taking pictures, including those displayed in this website and in her office. Over time, in search for balance in her own life, she has embraced yoga, meditation, mindfulness practices, and a balanced nutrition, which are currently an integral part of her life.
After having children and dealing with the challenges of getting them to willingly eat healthy foods, she found a new passion to learn recipes for vegetable dishes from different cuisines, became a big supporter of the farm to table movement, and learned to grow her own vegetables and herbs, which was the gateway to her newest found outlet, gardening.
Dr. Bonilla graduated from Medical School from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, in her native country of Colombia. She moved to the United States in 2003 to complete her Psychiatry training at the University of Texas Health Science Center, where she was elected by her peers as Assistant Chief Resident in 2006 and graduated in 2007. She then completed a Fellowship in Geriatric Psychiatry at University of Pittsburgh Western Psychiatric Institute.
Her areas of expertise include treatment-resistant depression, late-life depression, grief, OCD, and psychiatric effects of medical illnesses, and other changes related to aging.
After completing her training, Dr. Bonilla moved to Sacramento in 2008, and in the last 12 years she has become a proud Sacramentan.
She initially worked as a hospitalist at Sutter Center for Psychiatry, where she started to apply the holistic, multidisciplinary approach that had resonated with her so much during training. And now, she was able to see first-hand, that seeing each patient as a unique individual, listening to their specific issues, and goals, and making an effort to integrate all aspects of a patient’s life into the treatment plan was indeed the best way to achieve positive results. Cementing what has become her treatment philosophy for the entirety of her career. Her contributions to the hospital and her patients were recognized with the James Margolis Award of Excellence in Clinical Practice in 2010.
Dr. Bonilla left the inpatient world in 2010 and has been working exclusively in an outpatient setting since then, working for Community Psychiatry Associates, Baylor-Scott and White and Mindful Health Solutions/TMS Health Solutions, and finally founding A Mindful Path to Mental Health in 2020.
Dr. Bonilla has dedicated her life to understanding the effects of biological factors, lifetime experiences and lifestyle choices (good and bad) in the way different people think, their emotions and behaviors, and to learn how to apply this information to help people achieve their goals. This passion has led to her learn not only about evidence based pharmacological treatments, but also into learning more about evidence-based psychotherapies and pursuing training in Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), incorporating all these treatments to her patients to maximize the chances of treatment succeeding.
In addition to her vast knowledge of the pharmacological treatments of psychiatric conditions, Dr. Bonilla has pursued training in other treatment modalities for depression and anxiety, in her search for having more tools to offer to her patients if they are not responding to traditional treatments.
Dr. Bonilla is trained in several psychotherapeutic approaches, including Interpersonal Psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, but is also a proponent of other evidence-based psychotherapies, such as: Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and Prolonged Exposure (PE).
Dr. Bonilla has found TMS to be a very valuable tool in the treatment of psychiatric conditions, particularly when used in combination with medications, and behavioral measures.
Dr. Bonilla was one of the first doctors in the Sacramento region to offer TMS to her patients. She started offering TMS for patients suffering from depression who had not responded to other treatment approaches in 2012, and very early on after adopting this treatment modality, she was very encouraged by the benefits this treatment provided on a significant proportion of patients, becoming a strong proponent of this treatment approach for patients who have not found relief through other means.
Since Dr. Bonilla adopted TMS in her practice, the brain stimulation field has advanced immensely, and Dr. Bonilla has been keeping up with the developments. After several years of offering repetitive TMS (rTMS) to her depressed patients, in combination with medications and psychotherapy with great results, she got trained and certified in the use of other kinds of TMS, such as Theta Burst Simulation (TBS), and deep TMS (dTMS), which have also been proven to be efficacious and safe for the treatment of depression, and research suggests they may have other applications, showing promise in the treatment of other problems, including anxiety disorders, neurological conditions and addictions.
Dr. Bonilla has treated hundreds of patients with severe treatment resistant depression in the last 8 years, using primarily rTMS and dTMS. She consistently found that a majority of patients had a positive response, with two thirds of patients reporting a satisfactory symptom reduction, and some of them were able to achieve remission, after years of debilitating depression. It is particularly because of this amazing experience using TMS in the treatment of depression, that Dr. Bonilla was very excited when a novel type of deep TMS showed efficacy in the treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Soon after this treatment was cleared by the FDA in 2018, Dr. Bonilla pursued training to utilize it, becoming the 1st physician in the Sacramento region to offer TMS for patients for OCD. From the Summer of 2019 to the Fall of 2020, Dr. Bonilla led the regional TMS for OCD program in the Sacramento region at the largest TMS Center in Northern California (TMS Health Solutions, now called Mindful Health Solutions).
In November of 2020, Dr. Bonilla made a personal decision to leave her job at TMS Health Solutions and founded A Mindful Path to Mental Health. She knew that by making this transition, she would miss being in the "center of the action" of a busy and stimulating large TMS Center, but also was also excited to being able to offer her experience and knowledge in a smaller, more personal private practice, which she believes may be a better fit not only for her, but for many of her patients.