Part of the nature of therapy is that you share a lot about yourself with your therapist, but you really may not know very much about your therapist as a person. There is an aspect to that which is very purposeful, in that your therapist is not there to be a friend and hash out what happened with their own weekend plans. That kind of defeats the purpose of having an objective person in your corner, and you definitely don’t want your therapist to be heaping their issues on your either! At the same point, it can be uncomfortable feeling like you are talking to a brick wall! So we have come up with a list of questions that can help give you a better sense of who your therapist is, what their therapeutic style might be, and what they are all about! Read on to learn more about Dr. Beatriz Mann!
What is your role at Integrated Care Clinic?
I am a licensed clinical psychologist at ICC. At its most basic, it means that I see clients and offer therapy services. I work to provide evidence-based therapy interventions that are tailored to the specific needs and symptoms of my clients. The therapies I tend to work the most with are CBT, DBT, TF-CBT, and RO DBT. These are all evidence-based approaches, which means they have been heavily researched and studied to be effective for different types of symptoms of mental illness.
But there is so much more to ICC that even our clients don’t really see! Our clinic really works together as a team to continue to grow and develop our skills and expertise. We go to trainings together, we provide weekly seminars to the team, each bringing our area of expertise and sharing it with our colleagues. It is one of the reasons I chose to work in a group private practice. There is a sense of community and comradery that comes in working at ICC that I find invaluable, not only for my professional development but for the sheer fact that is also in another aspect of my job that makes me genuinely excited to come to work every day!
Let’s break the ice: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Well, if it was just one food, I would likely have to go with french fries. But they would have to be a specific french fry. While I enjoy a potato wedge, the fry style that really gets me is a traditional fry that has just enough crisp on the outside, but is still slightly soft on the inside.
If I had to pick a meal, I guess I would go with vaca frita. This is a pretty traditional Cuban dish, with shredded steak that has been marinated in a garlic, sour orange, and onion mixture, lightly fried or crisped. De-lish-ious. It usually comes with black beans and white rice, with some maduros on the side (which are deep-fried sweet plantains, noticing a pattern?). My family is from Cuba, and this dish was always a staple that never got old and always felt like a bit of home. I actually am pretty picky when it comes to Cuban food, and love the fact that there is a Cuban place down the road from our office that delivers Cuban food just as good as what you would get in Miami!
Where did you go to school for undergrad? What did you study?
I went to Georgetown University in Washington, DC for my undergrad (Hoya Saxa!). My parents met at Georgetown, so I grew up in a house that talked about it A LOT, from the sports, to the academics, to the city. I toured Georgetown and really loved it. Although I did not move too far away from home (only about 30 miles), there was something about living in DC that made it feel like a world away, which was new and exciting for me.
It was my education at Georgetown that ignited my interest in psychology, which ended up being my major. I flirted with the idea of doing a double major in Spanish, but ended up settling for a minor in Spanish. Which was fine because I ended up just loading on more psychology courses. My intro to Psychology course was taught by an amazing professor, who was so clearly passionate about what he did and taught that you just couldn’t help getting excited about the subject. It was so exciting that you almost didn’t notice how much work and how hard of a grader he was (…..almost). Once I took his class, I was hooked, and took classes that covered everything, from children and the media, to neuropsychology.
After graduation and a year of service I did in San Antonio, I actually ended up coming back to Georgetown and getting a research position in the Depart of Psychiatry, working with research teams looking at the impact of trauma on women and developing therapy interventions that were accessible in the DC community.
Where did you go to graduate school?
I went to the University of Texas at Austin. I was a part of their School Psychology program, which is a bit of a misnomer. The program was more like a child clinical psychology program. I worked in a variety of different settings, including in-patient psychiatric treatment centers, pediatric hospitals, cancer clinics, community mental health centers, and research centers. My program was intensive and long (about 6-7 years). Being that the program is that long, it gave students the opportunity to learn not only a breadth of therapies and knowledge, but also enable students to go into depth in areas of interest to develop a bit of a “specialty” or expertise. Often programs struggle with this, sometimes having to pick one over the other. Being the overcontrolled person that I sometimes am, I actually ended up graduating with three specialty areas (which basically means a student has demonstrated a specialist level of knowledge and training for that specific topic through work and courses, etc) which were child and adolescent psychology, pediatric psychology, and integrated behavioral health.
I was a bit of an odd-duck in my program. What I mean by that is that I seemed to have interests in a number of areas that didn’t usually coincide. I was (obviously) very interested in therapy and learning therapy approaches, techniques, and skills. I also was (and still am) a neuropsychology nerd, and am fascinated by the underlying neurology that drives our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Usually people who are interested in neuropsychology go on to do assessments, but I found that I was able to merge my love of therapy and interest in neuropsychology in a way that brings a little more information and understanding to my clients, yet in an approachable way.
Why did you decide to become a psychologist?
I always knew I wanted to work with kids and teens and I knew I wanted to work in a health/helping profession. It wasn’t until I volunteered at a Respite Care Center in San Antonio (after graduating) that I finally found a way to marry my love of psychology and love of working with people into a profession! Respite Care was an almost “half-way” house for children with developmental disabilities who had experienced maltreatment. Respite was a place for those kids to be while they were either matched with foster care, an adoptive family, or potential reunification with their families. It was in this setting that I saw first hand the positive impact that passionate, well-trained providers could have in the life of a child, even if it was brief. I also saw the pain, difficulty, and trauma that some of those kids faced, and found myself searching for ways to be able to make a more impactful, long-term change for the overall well-being of the children and families I worked with. It wasn’t until I took one of the kids to a therapy session and the therapist talked to me, when I finally realized that there was a job for the exact thing I was looking for! It was at the suggestion of this therapist that I started looking into being a psychologist!
What are you most passionate about?
If you can’t tell from what I’ve written so far, my passion is providing evidence-based therapy to people that have need of it! I could gush on and on, but at the heart of it, I am still struck by the power of therapy, the change people can achieve, and embarking on that journey with my clients as they work to overcome their struggles.
Do you have any pets?
I do! I have one pet and he is the first pet I have ever had actually (I know, I was late to the pet-owning game). He is an English Bulldog named Georgie Porgie. I got him from a Bulldog rescue group in Texas, when I lived in Austin during my graduate school years. Part of what drew me to getting a bulldog is that they are the official mascot of my undergraduate school, Georgetown University. Another part is that he was just so cute! He found his way to the rescue group after he had given up by his family. They told me it was because he was aggressive, but since I have had him, he has been the sweetest dog ever! He has a very relaxed temperament. I often joke that he is like “the dude” from the movie, The Big Lebowski. Georgie just abides! Even when he became a “big brother” when I had kids, he still was the chillest dog; totally okay with babies poking him or toddlers trying to ride him like a horse. The only time I have ever seen him get feisty is when another dog would try to get close to his human brothers when they were babies. The only thing that can be tricky about Georgie is that he is basically allergic to everything, so that means to goes to the vet just as much as my kids go to the pediatrician. But it’s okay, he loves the vet and almost has this “celebrity status” when he walks in!
Tell us your favorite joke!
It’s going to be corny, so bear with me. The joke that made me laugh the hardest came from my 5-year-old and stuffed his arms in his shirt so only his hands were out and tried to clap his hands but couldn’t. He asked me, “What is a tyrannosaurus rex’s least favorite song?” I asked, “what?” He sang, “If your happy and you know it, clap your hands!” trying desperately to clap his hands, but wasn’t able to (because you know, t-rexs only had those really small little arms).
What are the client ages you work with?
I would say about ⅓ or half of my caseload is working with teens and college students. While the other half to ⅔ is working with adults. While there are some people or maybe even some clinicians that might baulk at the idea of working with teens, I truly enjoy it! I feel like my teenage clients challenge me to be flexible and creative in my work. I also like the idea of helping young people (that doesn’t sound old, does it?!) develop skills so that they can alter the trajectory of their lives, feel more in control, and actively use skills to be effective in overcoming obstacles that will inevitably come up in life.
My internship and postdoctoral experience really exposed me to the world of working with adults, and I have really enjoyed this population. Once I started working with adults, I found that that too was a good fit. I still use humor and bring a flexible approach to therapy for my adult clients. I tend to work with adults that are high-functioning, in the sense that they have a good job, and “checking off all the boxes”, but still seem to struggle with anything from work-life balance difficulties, to anxiety and depression, to overwhelming loneliness.
Tell us about your internship/residency?
My internship was completed at Denver Health Hospital Authority in Denver, Colorado. My specialty track was in integrated care, which especially means working closely with medical providers as an inherent part of the medical team to provide care to all. Part of the goal of this approach is to help provide prevention and early intervention, as well as to normalize psychology services and finally merge the arbitrarily divided concept of body and mind.
If you couldn’t tell from my description, I clearly loved my internship experience. I felt like I was working on the cutting edge of a new era in psychology that required me to be flexible, think on my toes, and be able to draw from a number of therapeutic styles to support my clients. I had to be ready to tackle an issue of severe depression for an adult one minute, and then next just into an appointment tackling gestational diabetes for a pregnant mom, to potty training issues for a 4-year-old. I worked in a bunch of clinics, pediatrics, adult primary care, oncology services, the women’s clinic, the psychiatric emergency department, telehealth for adults with medical issues, and inpatient units. This is where my experience and interest in working with adults really expanded, and I found myself choosing more and more rotations to work within adult clinics as my residency continued.
I had to learn how to become part of a medical team, even if the team felt like they didn’t need my services (although this didn’t happen too often at Denver Health) – and demonstrate the need and benefit for having a psychologist on the team to help in overall recovery, health, and quality of life for the hospital’s patients. It actually got to the point in which teams that didn’t want a psychologist would freak out when their psychologist would go on vacation and demand to know who would be filling in, which was so cool to see.
I also felt like my internship was a wonderful experience in witnessing what a truly integrated therapy team looked like. It was great to see professionals working to support one another, to grow in knowledge and expertise for each other, and to work to continue to change and form the face of psychology and how we as a field can work to best support people (not just people with mental health issues, just helping humans thrive and succeed!). It’s no small wonder that I ended up working at Integrated Care Clinic! And I am happy to say that I have found a similar environment here, which I feel keeps clinicians sharp and engaged, thus bringing the best that they can to their clients.
What hobbies do you have? What do you like to do in your free time?
My family and I are usually running around on the weekends doing different activities, like going to the zoo, visiting friends, or swimming in the pool. I have a long drive to work, so I tend to listen to different podcasts, some educational and serious, some just light and funny. I like to paint, and find myself taking “requests” from my kids for different things they would like in their rooms (which currently are dinosaurs)!
Do you have any certifications?
I sure do! I have a special certification in delivering Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). I am a Level 2 Trained Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) provider. And I am currently undergoing intensive Radically Open Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (RO DBT) training by none other than Dr. Thomas Lynch, the creator of RO DBT! (So many acronyms, right?)
What do you plan to learn next in your career? Any areas you’d like to learn more about?
I plan on continuing to grow in my knowledge and understanding of the field of psychology in general. Specifically, I find the therapeutic approach used with RO DBT to be absolutely fascinating and completely different from any other treatment I’ve been exposed to before. My goal is to continue to learn and grow as I learn to engage in a balance of playful irreverence and compassionate gravity through the work in RO.
In my field, I think an ongoing curiosity and thirst for knowledge is an important thing. While I do have expertise in a number of areas, I do not assume to know everything; especially since the world of psychology is constantly evolving! On area of particular interest for me is to continue to learn and develop my skills around the treatment of eating disorders, whether it is from the Maudsley approach or RO DBT!