“Whether dealing with self-esteem issues, perfectionism or wanting to learn more about how their upbringing is showing up in their adult life and relationships, the clients who I work best with believe that there is much more to life for them than what they know or have been taught, but they are having difficulty figuring out how to quiet the inner critic, are perhaps fearful of setting boundaries for themselves or others.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
Prior to becoming a therapist, I worked in the corporate environment, doing consultative sales. I did well, but the work was not fulfilling. Ultimately, the adrenaline that is associated with "making the sale" was not what fueled me. The things that kept me coming back were the interactions, connections, and relationships that I was constantly forming with the clients I worked with. It wasn't until I had my own experience with an incredibly attuned and effective therapist that I realized that therapy was what I was meant to do. It also wasn't until my 40s that I decided to go back to school and pursue a whole career change. There are nuances that come up in the therapy space that aren’t taught in any book, so it is life experience that has been my best teacher in many ways. I am proficient in CBT, clinical anxiety treatment, and incorporating hypnotherapy techniques into my practice.
What should someone know about working with you?
Whether dealing with self-esteem issues, perfectionism or wanting to learn more about how their upbringing is showing up in their adult life and relationships, the clients who I work best with believe that there is much more to life for them than what they know or have been taught, but they are having difficulty figuring out how to quiet the inner critic, are perhaps fearful of setting boundaries for themselves or others. They are motivated to do the work, and I’m ready to roll up my sleeves to dig in and help them make the changes that they want in their lives. Much of my work is neuro-informed and I work with helping people "retrain" their brains in the case of anxiety disorders or become more in tune with their bodies in the case of understanding and healing from trauma. The therapeutic relationship has to be founded on trust, because trust encompasses safety in a relationship; I work hard to establish and maintain this trust with those clients who grant me the privilege of being a part of their lives.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
I am constantly in pursuit of learning and reinforcing what I already know, because it is valuable knowledge that I pass on to my clients through our work together. I’m a Certified Clinical Anxiety Treatment Professional, and am currently enrolled in an intensive seven-month trauma research certification course. I also have extensive experience in cognitive behavioral therapy and processing and treating childhood emotional neglect (CEN), which is rooted in attachment-based trauma. I love to recommend books and podcasts to my clients, as I find that these very much compliment the work that we do in session.
How do your own core values shape your approach to therapy?
Growing up as a biracial, Latinx woman has sometimes left me feeling either unsure of where I fit in or having to constantly make decisions about how to represent and honor the different parts of me. For this reason, engaging with cultural sensitivity feels very organic to me, as I know how it feels to be spoken to or addressed when it is absent. Racial microaggressions occur often for BIPOC and sometimes, we even engage in them among ourselves. So, increasing the awareness and understanding of how this gets internalized and then reinforced by the world around us is, in my opinion, a fundamental part of understanding the importance of cultural sensitivity. All this being said, it is also important to note that cultural sensitivity is not limited to BIPOC, and people's cultures all around the world influence and shape how they see themselves and how safe (or not) they see the world.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I've been doing telehealth before telehealth was "a thing" and have been very much aware of the benefits of being able to engage with clients within their own environments. You are able to get a glimpse of hobbies, talents, and other parts of their worlds that you may not have gained with in-person visits. For my chronically ill clients, telehealth is a gift, as it allows them to participate in therapy even when they are not feeling well enough to make the trip to the office. One of the things that I am really excited about is news from the National Clinical Social Work Association as it moves toward license reciprocity among states within the next 2-3 years. I'm really excited about the flexibility this would provide practitioners and clients alike by not needing to pause therapy or terminate early based on location. I suspect that this will be limited at first, but it’s still exciting!
How would a person know that they are with the right therapist?
First, look at the basics and whether you like the person. You may not know them, but you like them anyway. That's always a good start. You should also feel validated, heard, and understood. You should feel that they have a genuine curiosity and interest in getting to know you and hearing your story. You should feel challenged but not unsafe. You should feel that you are learning but are not being told what to do. You might not always feel better after a session, but overall, you are noticing an improvement in your communication, self-confidence, anxiety management, or whatever it is that you are here to address. You are improving, little by little, day by day.
“The therapeutic relationship has to be founded on trust, because trust encompasses safety in a relationship; I work hard to establish and maintain this trust with those clients who grant me the privilege of being a part of their lives.”