“The actual sessions feel more like a conversation and I make sure to tell clients that our sessions are paced by THEM.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
In 2001, I worked as a translator, supporting families who had lost loved ones due to 9/11. This gave me the opportunity to experience firsthand how empathy could be lost in translation. There were no Spanish-speaking therapists, so I translated for survivors and the therapists. It was so hard to tell a client to stop so that I could interpret what they were saying. The constant interruption took away so much from the session and I realized it was imperative to be able to be a therapist who could provide services in the client’s native language (Spanish happens to be my first language). I grew up translating for my parents and remember how their faces would light up when a medical provider spoke Spanish to them. This fueled me to continue working with the Latinx community around issues of understanding depression, anxiety, PTSD, and the effects that our culture has on mental health awareness.
What should someone know about working with you?
Before our intake appointment, the client will fill out forms explaining the reasons why they are seeking therapy at this moment in time. They’ll describe their strengths and protective factors as well as what they are looking to achieve through therapy. With this information, I am able to explore a little bit more as to what their goals are as well as define what “feeling better” would look like for them. The actual sessions feel more like a conversation and I make sure to tell clients that our sessions are paced by THEM. A therapeutic alliance has to be made before clients are comfortable enough to be vulnerable. I’ll ask questions but they can state that they are not ready to answer; that’s ok with me and it is never personal. I never want therapy to feel stressful!
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
I have always enjoyed learning and continue to do so in order to become a better therapist. After completing my master’s degree and passing my licensing examination, I completed certification courses in child development and family therapy as well as various courses in evidence-based interventions, including cognitive behavioral therapy, EMDR, and trauma treatment certification. I have done extensive work with trauma survivors and am in constant awe of the resilience demonstrated. A lot of my training revolves around trauma work and how to help clients process certain things that may be affecting their quality of life. I also do a lot of training around child therapy modalities. Sometimes, I incorporate children into family sessions; other times, I encourage adults to connect with their inner child. In trauma, a person can get stuck in the age that the trauma occurred and these interventions help process those feelings.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
The best part about the evolving mental health landscape is the impact of technology. We see so much more mental health awareness on social media posts and with telehealth there is so much more flexibility and availability in treatment. Clients no longer have to worry about the commute, parking, or the weather; they only need to turn on the phone or computer to connect. This offers more options to connect to more qualified professionals, rather than limiting clients to the ones in the local town or city. As a professional, this has also opened up the opportunity to attend more trainings, allowing me the chance to expand my knowledge in a way that is more convenient to my everyday schedule!
“A therapeutic alliance has to be made before clients are comfortable enough to be vulnerable.”