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MEET DR. SOPHIA

I’ve provided information below about myself, my professional experiences and my approach to therapy to give you a sense of what it might be like to work together and with the hope of demystifying the therapy process. I encourage you to read the information below so that you can determine if I might be the right therapist for your needs.
Of course, the best way to get sense if we might be a fit is by requesting an Initial Appointment.

 

I am an Licensed Psychologist and a Certified Group Psychotherapist and a Fellow of American the Group Psychotherapy Association. I am the founder of the Aguirre Center for Inclusive Psychotherapy where I provide individual therapy, couples therapy, and group therapy to adults. I provide services in person and via telehealth in Atlanta, Georgia, and I provide telehealth (online therapy) ​in the following states that participate in PSYPACT: AL, AZ, CO, DC, DE, GA, FL, IL, KY, MD, MO, MN, NC, NE, NH, NV, OH, OK, OR, PA, TN, TX, UT, & VA.

 

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.

Positionality

I identify as a Latina/Chicana (Mestiza/Brown), cisgender, heterosexual female. As a first generation Chicana born to immigrant parents from Mexico, I have been raised in a bilingual and bicultural home. Clients who work with me can speak English, Spanish, Spanglish, or mix of these in our sessions.

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Licensure, Certifications, & Fellowships

  • Licensed Psychologist: Georgia #PSY004298 & Oregon #1925

  • Certified Group Psychotherapist (Certification #053456)

  • Fellow, American Group Psychotherapy Association

  • PSYPACT E. Passport (Mobility Certification #4925)

    • Licensed to practice teletherapy in the following states: AL, AZ, CO, DC, DE, GA, FL, IL, KY, MD, MO, MN, NC, NE, NH, NV, OH, OK, OR, PA, TN, TX, UT, & VA

 

Education

  • 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.


Clinical Specialties

Throughout my professional career, I have been committed to the pursuit of educational, training, and professional experiences that promote group psychotherapy and group psychology. In dedication to furthering my therapeutic skills, I attained the credential of Certified Group Psychotherapist (CGP) awarded by the International Board for Certification of Group Psychotherapists.  In 2020, I was elected a Fellow of the American Group Psychotherapy Association, an honor and distinction recognizing outstanding professional competence and leadership within field of group psychotherapy.

Professional Service & Membership

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 at local, regional and national levels. I currently serve as the Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force for the American Group Psychotherapy Association, and have previously served in a number of governance and leadership roles within the organization. I am also the Chair of the Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee for the Georgia Psychological Association and the Co-Chair of Sanando (a collective for Latinx mental health professionals in Georgia).

  • Chair, Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee, Georgia Psychological Association

  • Chair, Task Force for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, American Group Therapy Association

  • Co-Chair, Sanando Latinx Mental Health Professionals 

  • Board Member, Atlanta Group Psychotherapy Society

  • (Past) President, Lane County Psychological Association (2013 - 2014)

  • (Past) Board Member, Oregon Psychological Organization (2011 - 2015)

     

Out of the Office:

I am an avid music-lover (and in particular enjoy following Tori Amos on tour). I have a passion for exploring the great outdoors (particularly hiking, camping, and kayaking) with my family. I am a self-proclaimed “foodie” and enjoy art of costuming -- most of my costumes are debuted at the Oregon Country Fair. One of the most rewarding experiences of my life has been parenting my infant daughter.

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My Approach

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.

My Style
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.

Theoretical Orientation

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-Responsive & Anti-Oppressive

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.

I am also committed to helping my clients develop healthier relationships with their body by examining the detrimental impact of sizism and size oppression on both individual and societal levels. My practice is informed by Health at Every Size principles which include celebrating body diversity, promoting weight/size-inclusivity and advocating for critical awareness cultural messages, structural and systemic forces, and scientific assumptions that contribute to size oppression, fat-shaming, and fat phobia. 

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.