“I take an integrated approach to my practice, which means that I incorporate a psychoanalytic approach as well as a cognitive behavioral approach.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
My path to becoming a therapist began when I would assist my mother with my disabled older sister. My mother had limited ability to communicate in the English language and I assisted her by translating my sister’s challenging needs to helping professionals. In my early 20s, I started to work with individuals who struggled with severe addiction and then decided that my vocation was to help people like myself, who grew up with access to limited resources. I take an integrated approach to my practice, which means that I incorporate a psychoanalytic approach as well as a cognitive behavioral approach. Ultimately, I believe that the method depends on the needs of the individual or family. I hold two master’s degrees and I am currently pursuing my doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania.
What should someone know about working with you?
I describe myself as someone who is wholly committed to assisting people in their personal journey with compassion and respect for their decision-making process. Anyone who has worked with me knows that the most important thing is to establish is the reason for seeking therapy. Sessions are usually conducted on a weekly basis, especially in the beginning, which helps me establish a clear understanding of a person’s goals in the process of change.
How does collaboration with other providers inform your work?
I have extensive experience working successfully with other providers in the therapeutic process. I believe the more people working together in your wellness, the better. In fact, I have taught graduate-level courses on the importance of integrative treatment and I invite collaboration with any other providers or support systems.
What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to try therapy?
The two things I would say to anyone who is hesitant about therapy is to try it at least once and to get curious. It is not easy to initiate a conversation with a helping professional; but seeing a therapist is not about discussing something that is wrong, it’s about seeking to understand yourself better and see your life from a new perspective.
Have you done any research-based work that you found particularly exciting? How does it inform your practice today?
In my role as past director of the OnTrack NY program, I investigated the impact of early intervention for young people experiencing their first onset of psychosis. This research is particularly exciting because it examines the role of an integrative approach in mental health treatment. Currently, I am working on a qualitative study with the University of Pennsylvania that examines the cultural experiences of Hispanic families in community mental health settings. I am confident that this research will offer a greater understanding of culturally sensitive interventions that may help Hispanic families living in urban environments.
“I describe myself as someone who is wholly committed to assisting people in their personal journey with compassion and respect for their decision-making process.”