I am a bilingual/bicultural therapist who has specialized in mental health and psychotherapy since 2007.
In 2007 when I embarked on providing therapy, I immediately fell in love with the process of healing and hope. Since then, I’ve been providing mental health services to children, adolescents, and adults in Los Angeles County. I’ve found that therapy is the ultimate form of self-care. It’s where one can be understood and guided to act in ways that are aligned with their values and goals.
I’m passionate about helping individuals through their challenges, childhood memories, trauma, parenting and life transitions. I use a combination of strength-based, behavioral, and cognitive interventions to help clients become present, focused and skillful — all in an effort to train them to become their own therapists while developing a life worth living.
I have experience with providing therapy to children, adolescents, transition aged youth, and adults, as well as providing clinical supervision to MSW graduate students. I have treated a range of disorders, such as disruptive behaviors, depression, anxiety, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, ADHD, schizophrenia, self-harm, suicidal ideations, borderline personality traits, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Additionally, I bring in the theme of trees frequently in my work. I use the tree metaphor to teach how negative core beliefs and thinking patterns are formed by describing trees and roots. Trees have been traditionally known for their wisdom and resilience despite great adversity. Roots form the foundation of a tree that will ultimately dictate wellness, strength and the capacity to grow and strive. Likewise, I strive to guide people to uncover what their roots are, help them heal, and ultimately, to thrive.
About my training: I completed both clinical internships with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health with a focus on community mental health. From 2008-2009 I interned at Harbor UCLA, focusing on providing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) to adults in English and Spanish.
After earning my Masters in Social Welfare (MSW) in 2009, I worked at the Long Beach Child/Adolescent Program and Harbor-UCLA Child and Adolescent Psychiatry providing mental health treatment to children, adolescents, families, and Transition-Aged Youth. From 2013 – 2014 I also participated as a DBT study therapist on a randomly controlled trial providing DBT to suicidal and self-harming adolescents. Since 2015, I have been the clinical supervisor and coordinator for a program that provides employment focused mental health treatment to single parents and their children.
My approach combines compassion and research to help people feel validated as they take the necessary steps to reach their behavioral goals and values. I have been extensively trained in various Evidence-Based Practices (EBPs) for the issues discussed above. They include, Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Trauma-Focused CBT (TFCBT), Adolescent and Adult Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) for children ages 2-7, and Family Focused Therapy (FFT) for early onset psychosis and Bipolar disorders in adolescents. I am also a certified fellow and Diplomat of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. I am also trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), Cognitive Processing Therapy and Prolonged Exposure as additional trauma treatment modalities. Recently, I’ve participated in a Maternal Mental Health Training Initiative and pilot project regarding mental health issues during pregnancy and post partum. I love learning and am committed to continuous training to enhance my skills and with the most up to date interventions and innovations in mental health treatment.
A note about evidence based practice and BIPOC: While I have received several trainings with researched backed methods, I also acknowledge research limitations. I validate the experiences of those who did not find relief with such treatments, especially for BIPOC clients. I am committed to providing therapy to folks in marginalized communities. I continuously seek to learn and become educated on how to bring in other modalities such as Liberation Psychology, Chicana/o Psychology and Decolonizing Therapy. I believe that therapy is an art form that is informed by researched, ancestral, spiritual, and cultural practices. We can incorporate several healing tools in your therapy journey. Please read about the APA’s apology to BIPOC communities about being complicit in the USA’s history of racism and discrimination. I’m here to validate BIPOC folxs in their experiences. As a mujer of color, I do have experienced the microaggressions, discrimination, and race based invalidation throughout my personal and professional life. I’m here for you in processing it all. I’m committed to your effort in deprogramming society’s expectations of you.
Specialties and Therapy Interests: In the last 5 years that I’ve been in private practice, I’ve specialized in working with First Generation Professionals, mainly in the Helping Industry (such as fellow therapists, MSW students, social workers, educators, medical professionals, policymakers, food, entrepreneurs etc). This specialty found me. First Gen are those first persons in the family to be a college graduate and/or the first professional in the family. These clients sought treatment with me because I am a Latina and understand the impact of generational trauma. Then they referred their friends, family members, and colleagues. I thoroughly enjoy working with this population. My background in trauma training, employment focused mental health and clinical supervision give me experience in identifying burnout, compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma. Additionally, coming from a culture that values collectivism and familism, I can help my clients navigate the generational and family role issues that come up for them. It has been an honor of a lifetime to contribute to the wellness of our helpers. Helpers need help too and I assist in helping navigate all their competing demands so they can preserve their energy and thrive.
Fun Facts about me: I’ve completed three Long Beach Half-Marathons. My current method of exercise is running after or dancing with my very spirited daughter. I love to crochet and always bring my yarn and hook everywhere I go (it’s how I self-soothe). My guilty pleasures include binge watching TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy (yes, I’m very loyal and hanging on until the end), Stranger Things, Twin Peaks, Friday Night Lights, Parenthood, Parks and Recreation, Catastrophe, Schitt’s Creek, HBO documentaries and Jane the Virgin. My favorite movies tend to be biographical and musical in nature. That means that ‘Selena’ is at the top of the list. KLOVE is the only radio station I listen to these days because it helps me stay in tune with Spanish language news and music, and I’m committed to bilingualism in my family.