“My acculturation process and my value of family helped shape my therapy approaches and practice, as I know the effects that separation and acculturation have on an individual.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I found my path in 2000 when I began working with children and families in the foster care system, advocating for them in family courts while assisting with entitlements and counseling. It was during this work that I discovered my true passion, especially after I was able to see the impact that I had on the lives of those I served. A few years later, I decided to enter the social work program at Fordham University where I completed a master’s in social work with a clinical concentration. I also became a credentialed alcoholism and substance abuse counselor (CASAC-T).
What should someone know about working with you?
I am empathetic and a good listener. The initial contact will start with a free consultation to assess the reason for seeking treatment and to determine if I will be the right fit for you. If you decide to proceed, insurance and identification cards will be provided via a HIPAA-compliant platform and I will follow up by sending intake forms as well as releases electronically. Once the intake forms and pre-screening forms are completed and releases are signed and reviewed, an intake appointment will take place within a week. Progress is measured periodically during the course of treatment and at the end of treatment. Since every individual is unique, some clients are assigned homework and encouraged to participate in exercise activities during the sessions or practice coping skills to review progress. My ideal client is someone who trusts the therapeutic process and is ready to embark on change.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
I believe learning the most evidence-based approaches as well as specific training can enhance overall knowledge, help us become better clinicians, and allow us to provide higher quality care to those we serve. Learning is a lifelong process. Despite this fact, it is also important to note that, regardless of the type of training and/or competencies a therapist may possess, each individual is unique and no individual treatment intervention generates the same outcome. I have completed training in psychoanalysis, CBT, and DBT and continue to participate in ongoing training that may better help my clients with their unique needs. I also believe in treating individuals holistically by not only treating their mental health needs but also any substance misuse and medical health needs while encouraging ongoing follow-up and pharmacology if deemed necessary.
How do your core values shape your approach to therapy?
I grew up in the Dominican Republic in a two-parent household where I shared a home with both of my siblings. At the age of 14, I migrated to the United States, leaving all that was familiar to me. My acculturation process and my value of family helped shape my therapy approaches and practice, as I know the effects that separation and acculturation have on an individual. For me, taking the time to practice cultural sensitivity is crucial, as it allows me to better engage the families I serve while remaining ethical in my practice.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I am most excited that I can help individuals via either telehealth or face-to-face interaction. I believe that telehealth is an integral part of mental health treatment, as it offers easy, stigma-free access while allowing us to meet the needs of hard-to-reach populations and those with limited mobility.
“For me, taking the time to practice cultural sensitivity is crucial, as it allows me to better engage the families I serve while remaining ethical in my practice.”