“I was originally drawn to mental health following my own initial experiences with psychotherapy, which helped me realize my capacity to help myself and others.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
The person-in-environment perspective, which allows me to better understand the interpersonal, community, and social contexts that impact our mental and behavioral health, drew me to this work. I was originally drawn to mental health following my own initial experiences with psychotherapy, which helped me realize my capacity to help myself and others. My identity as a queer, Latinx, first-generation immigrant has helped me recognize the intersections among my identity, personality, upbringing, privileges, and oppressions. I have experience working in community and hospital mental health settings as well as in private practice. Working in community mental health has given me the skills to work with a wide variety of clients and their psychological problems.
What should someone know about working with you?
My initial consultation focuses on getting to know you and your current interest in therapy. I ask about past treatment, medication, family mental health history, possible goals, and more. To help measure progress, we will work on a plan to guide the treatment and assess how the client feels about achieving each goal, all with the aim of improving overall symptoms. My focus really depends on what may work best for the client. If a client feels that practicing more active coping skills would be helpful (such as diaphragmatic breathing), then I may assign it as homework. If a client feels that their priority is having a safe environment to explore their circumstances, talk, and process, an assignment may not be needed. I don’t have a particular type of client I “like” or prefer to work with; my job is to meet people where they are and provide unconditional support while helping them resolve their problem(s).
How do your core values shape your approach to therapy?
I think it is important to acknowledge and accept diversity and differences using an intersectional approach, which I draw from as a queer, first-generation, Latinx man. We all have different experiences even if we identify with the same group. Part of my aim is to learn and understand how (and if) your culture, background, and values help give your life meaning and purpose, which allows me to better understand your life experience. Additionally, I attend training and seek education and consultation to help inform my practice when working with diverse communities.
“My identity as a queer, Latinx, first-generation immigrant has helped me recognize the intersections among my identity, personality, upbringing, privileges, and oppressions.”