I am an Licensed Psychologist (Oregon License #1925; Georgia License #PSY004298) and a Certified Group Psychotherapist (Certification #053456). In my independent private practice I provide individual therapy, couples therapy, and group therapy to adults.
I have training as a generalist and experience working with a wide spectrum of clients presenting with a wide range of issues. Among my areas of clinical expertise are diversity and identity concerns (ethnicity/cultural, (trans)Gender, and/or sexual orientation), trauma recovery and PTSD, group psychotherapy, sex therapy, women’s issues, and relationship issues.
I identify as a Latina/Chicana, cisgender female. I am a native Spanish-speaker and can provide bilingual (Spanish and English) psychotherapy. My pronouns are she/her/ella.
Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, Auburn University, 2008
In pursuit of my doctorate, I focused my studies on adult psychotherapy and multicultural counseling and the focus of my dissertation research was on exploring the relationship between meaning-making and post-traumatic growth.
I completed an APA-Accredited Psychology Internship Program in the Counseling & Mental Health Center at University of Texas at Austin.
B.S. in Psychology with Honors, The University of Georgia, 2000
My Honors Thesis focused on long-term effects of childhood maltreatment.
Certified Group Psychotherapist, 2014-Present
I have a passion for group psychotherapy, and in my dedication to furthering my therapeutic skills, I have pursued ongoing training in Group Psychotherapy and have attained the credential of CGP (Certified Group Psychotherapist) awarded by the American Group Psychotherapy Association.
I addition, I am currently in the process of satisfying educational and training requirements to become ASSECT Certified Sex Therapist.
Professional Memberships & Service
I am actively involved in my professional community and am passionate about advocating for social justice issues within the field of psychology and group therapy. I also serve in governance for the American Group Psychotherapy Association, currently serving as the Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force, and have previous served as a Board Member, Co-Chair of the Special Interest Groups Task Force and as Co-Chair of the Racial Ethnic and Diversity Special Interest Group.
Chair, Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee, Georgia Psychological Association
Chair, Task Force for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, American Group Therapy Association
Board Member, Atlanta Group Psychotherapy Society
(Past) President, Lane County Psychological Association (2013 - 2014)
(Past) Board Member, Oregon Psychological Organization (2011 - 2015)
On a more personal note, I am an avid music-lover, have a passion for exploring the great outdoors (particularly hiking, camping, and kayaking) with my infant daughter. I am a self-proclaimed “foodie” and enjoy art of dressing up and creating costumes which are usually debuted at the Oregon Country Fair.
The path towards more self-discovery, growth, and healing is different for everyone. This means that my approach may vary greatly depending on your needs if you should become my client. My goal as a psychotherapist is to create a safe, supportive, therapeutic environment that fosters my clients’ well-being, creativity, healing, and growth.
In general, I would characterize my approach as genuine, warm, and analytical. My style is generally informal, direct, and transparent in hopes of demystifying the therapy process. I endeavor to create a safe, trusting, non-judgmental atmosphere and to foster a therapeutic relationship that strikes the balance between support and challenge. I work collaboratively with my clients to help them reconnect with their inner strength and wisdom. I am an empathic listener, but I actively participate in sessions by sharing my observations, offering support, and providing insight and practical feedback to help clients effectively address personal life challenges. My clients often comment that my open, direct style creates a sense of safety because they don't have to guess what I am thinking or feeling.
Although I integrate various psychotherapeutic methods and theoretical orientations in my practice, I work primarily from theoretical perspectives that emphasize the authentic relationships, individual strengths, and the potential for growth. Specifically, I have been heavily influenced by interpersonal, psychodynamic, and existential-humanistic theories, as well as multicultural, feminist movements in psychology. Interpersonal, psychodynamic, attachment, and existential-humanistic theories direct my attention to my client’s current and past relational dynamics as I strongly believe that human beings are primarily motivated by the need to establish and maintain relationships. My primary focus is on the here and now, but I explore my client’s past to provide insight on how early experiences and relationships continue to influence thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in the present. Achieving a deeper understanding of yourself will allow you to have more freedom and control over your life. Multicultural and Feminist psychology principles provide the foundation for exploring societal, cultural, and contextual factors and building resilience.
Culturally Informed & Culturally Responsive
I am deeply passionate about social justice and helping all of my clients understand their complex, dynamic identities. Our society operates under a white supremacist system. This historical system of oppression impacts all of us regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, ability, body size, etc. In my work, I utilize an intersectional, culturally-informed approach to understand dynamics of power, privilege, and oppression that have shaped my clients identities and lived experiences. For those with marginalized identities, an important part of our work is healing the wounds from race-based trauma (microaggressions, racism, violence, stereotypes, poverty, and discrimination). Furthermore, I honor the cultural practices, traditions, and creativity that have enabled indigenous peoples and communities of Color to overcome oppression and build resilience.
While I can never fully understand every facet cultural diversity that comprise my clients’ experience, I practice from a lens of cultural-humility where I continually question my assumptions and explore the limitations of my world-view shaped by my own intersectional identities. I strive to educate myself so that I can more effectively support my clients. To this end, I engage in ongoing personal and professional development opportunities to understand my experiences of power and oppression so that I may provide anti-oppressive, inclusive, and culturally-responsive services to all.
What You Can Expect
Clients who work with me can expect to focus on their emotion, which means we will seek to accept and deepen an understanding of reactions to various emotions as a means to working through the pain. I may also utilize cognitive, mindfulness-based, and creative arts interventions to find ways to expand your thinking patterns and change unhealthy behaviors. Determining how I adapt my clinical interventions relies heavily on the unique background, presenting concerns, and motivation of you as the client.
I am continually inspired by the strength and resilience of my clients. I truly love being a psychologist, and I feel deeply privileged to be entrusted by my clients as I accompany them on their journey towards self-discovery, self-acceptance, and self-growth.
About the Lotus Flower
The lotus flower has symbolism in many different cultural and spiritual traditions. Most often, the lotus flower reflects rebirth, resilience, potential, purity, and spiritual awakening.
To blossom, the lotus flower must grow through murky, muddy pond water, but despite the muck, it blooms. Though conditions are tough, the lotus heeds the call of the sun each morning, breaks the surface of the water and blooms untouched by the mud; each petal remains clean and pure. Closing at night, it sinks below the water’s surface, only to resurface again in the morning.
The lotus speaks the resilience of the human spirit, and like the lotus, I believe each of us can grow through dark times and difficulties. The lotus is also a reminder of the beauty that can come from change, the transformative power of new beginning, and the seeds of potential that are buried in the most unlikely of places.
“Whenever you should doubt your self-worth, remember the lotus flower. Even though it plunges to life from beneath the mud, it does not allow the dirt that surrounds it to affect its growth or beauty.”
- Suzy Kassem