“Most of us at some time or another feel overwhelmed, incapable, or stuck in a challenging situation or circumstance.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I decided to become a psychologist because I was interested in understanding what causes people to act the way they do. I grew up as the youngest in a large family of people with strong personalities and temperaments and mixed cultural backgrounds (both American and Cuban/Puerto Rican). It made me curious about what drives people's behaviors, particularly behaviors that are ineffective and harmful to themselves and others. I wondered about people's inner worlds of imagination and beliefs, their particular sets of talents and abilities, and their personal life stories that, together, make them unique.
What should someone know about working with you?
An important part of successful therapy is getting a full understanding of each client during the intake process. I do a thorough background interview, gather information from parents and schools, and take the first 2-3 sessions to get to know each person. After those initial sessions, we come up with a plan together that best suits the client.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
Over the years, I have continued to learn about different therapeutic interventions based on the needs of my clients. For instance, when I worked in hospitals and schools where we often saw children with ADHD and learning problems, I learned the behavioral and environmental interventions that best supported those children. With young children and mothers, I learned about play therapy as an expression of feelings regarding relationships. Later in private practice, when working with children with specific fears and OCD, I sought training in CBT interventions for anxiety. More recently, while working with teenagers and college students involved in self-harming behaviors, I needed more strategies to help those students cope with sometimes overwhelming feelings. So, I sought training in dialectical behavioral therapy and ran groups supporting these students by teaching mindfulness and a variety of coping strategies.
How do your own core values shape your approach to therapy?
I believe that psychotherapy can be a very effective tool for change. Most of us at some time or another feel overwhelmed, incapable, or stuck in a challenging situation or circumstance. When there is someone there to witness our experience, help us to recognize and verbalize our feelings, offer consistent empathy and understanding, believe in us and recognize our strengths, and introduce us to other ways of reacting to that experience, change can happen.
“But when there is someone there to witness our experience, help us to recognize and verbalize our feelings, offer consistent empathy and understanding, believe in us and recognize our strengths, and introduce us to other ways of reacting to that experience, change can happen.”