“Largely influenced by my passion for the mind-body connection, I focus primarily on somatic interventions and other techniques to help promote greater resilience and improved quality of life.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
My journey as a therapist began during my preparation to become a lawyer, as my family's background gently informed my career aspirations. With a degree in political science and Latin American studies from the University of Arizona in hand, I made my way into law school. Unfortunately, it soon struck me that it was not the right fit. Fast forward to a year full of soul-searching and grief and my hope for a rewarding career never extinguished and I ultimately found my way to one as a counselor. Now years removed from this great transition, I find myself with great humility, compassion, and appreciation for the way behavioral health issues touch us all in some way. I have worked with primary care physicians in community health centers as well as community behavioral health agencies. Largely influenced by my passion for the mind-body connection, I focus primarily on somatic interventions and other techniques to help promote greater resilience and improved quality of life.
What should someone know about working with you?
My intake process provides us with an initial opportunity to get to know each other and for me to learn about your needs, your wants, and any information that can help me guide therapy. I believe that every step of engagement (starting with the decision to go to therapy) is a sign of progress and I work with clients so we can share a vision of what progress will look like for them. I have my own tools and methods to measure progress, such as the use of clinical questionnaires that measure depression and anxiety symptoms, but I also use client feedback to measure my effectiveness (and I always welcome feedback). Generally speaking, I like working with clients who are motivated to take steps to improve their lives. I find that I am at my best when working with clients who need someone to share in the process of evaluating what they want to do and when working with clients trying to let go of the things that they carry on their shoulders; I help them shed the fog and promote resilience so that they can make it across the finish line.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
I am passionate about learning. I firmly believe, no matter the profession, there is always a need to continue growing. I invest in lots of training, either virtual or in-person, including training culminating in certification (such as my certification as a somatic experiencing practitioner (SEP)). I also engage in peer consultation with other professionals so that I can obtain valuable insight and information that I use to stay sharp and aware of the ways to help my clients.
How do your core values shape your approach to therapy?
My family is from Mexico and many of my family members have made significant contributions to their community in one way or another. At the core of my experience of spending time in Mexico and traveling back and forth is my awareness of the fragility of life and how we are all deserving of being treated with dignity and respect. I hold myself accountable to serving my clients as I would serve my family members or friends. Making a difference often only takes just a minute of my time or a little more effort. I am always hopeful and open to learning about how I can best serve each respective client, as we are all different and what suits one person may not suit another.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I think that counseling, whether in-person or via telehealth, can be a valuable resource for people. Neither is perfect, but I find that telehealth is highly flexible and appropriate for many clients. There are some clients who do truly need face-to-face counseling and there are many providers who cater to those clients. However, I believe that allowing the appropriate client to participate in counseling from home or somewhere else that feels comfortable and private empowers them in taking steps to promote their wellbeing. I am very passionate about learning about the brain and central nervous system, the influence of trauma and stress on their functions, and how to help them improve their functions. I think the future of the behavioral health field rests on our ever-increasing knowledge of the interlinked function of the mind and the body.
What do you most enjoy about your work as a counselor?
I enjoy helping others, but I absolutely fly over the moon with joy when I can help someone look through the storm that keeps them from seeing the big picture and inhibits their strengths, the options they have, and their resourcefulness to make it through short-term challenges and reach their goals. I inherently believe in the ability of people to overcome their challenges and I am really skilled at seeing the good in them. If they are open to considering that there is more than meets the eye, they take a leap of faith, they engage in counseling, they start doing healthy things, and they make use of recommended strategies to clear some of those hurdles, I believe that people can surprise themselves with what is possible.
“I hold myself accountable to serving my clients as I would serve my family members or friends.”