What is Your Role at Integrated Care Clinic?
I recently completed my doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology which is very exciting! My role at Integrated Care Clinic (ICC) is Postdoctoral Fellow, which is the next step after Clinical Psychology degree completion. During this year, I will be continuing my training and working towards being licensed! I also see a variety of client presentations, although my main specialties are depression, anxiety, trauma, and grief. I use a humanistic approach, meaning that I believe that individuals inherently have the capacities to overcome emotional distress. I also include other approaches such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy to help my clients heal and feel better with themselves.
Let’s Break the Ice: If You Had to Eat One Food for the Rest of Your Life, What Would It Be?
Oh wow, this is a difficult one! I love food! I’m the type that can eat everything on the menu and will try all types of food at least once. Now, let’s answer the question. I identify as Latina, which means that if I had to choose one food for the rest of my life it would definitely be rice, beans and beef steak in creole sauce. Please don’t forget the plantains! Can’t be without my Puerto Rican food!
Where Did You Go to School for Undergrad? What Did You Study?
I went to the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras campus. There I learned about Psychology and immediately fell in love with it. And as the saying goes, the rest is history!
Where Did You Go to Graduate School?
In 2016, I decided to pack my bags and leave my island to pursue the goal of becoming a Doctor in Psychology. I traded the warmth of my island for the cold of the Midwest! I moved to Chicago, IL and went to Adler University, a beautiful small school in the heart of Chicago! There I took many classes and practicums that made me fall more in love with psychology and more specifically trauma work.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Psychologist?
Since I was a child, I was always driven to help others. I also come from a family of helpers in the medical field, so it was kind of ingrained in me. In college, I found out that human behavior was extremely interesting to me. I enjoyed learning about psychology and its complexities. Therefore, I did not hesitate to make this my profession.
What Are You Most Passionate About?
If you ask me professionally, I’m most passionate about helping others feel better. I love to be able to help others make sense of their distress so that it doesn’t feel overwhelming to them. There’s a feeling that is unlike any other when someone shares with you the positive impact you’ve had on their life. Quite honestly, nothing compares to that. Now, personally I am passionate about my family, friends, and self-care. I believe that I am my best self when I invest in those three things. I try to make it a priority to care for my support group (family and friends) and myself by doing the activities that make my life full and enjoyable.
Do You Have Any Pets?
YES! I love animals and I am crazy for dogs! I’ve had dogs since I was little, so I must always have dogs in my life. My little one’s name is Ruby! She is a Toy Poodle. I love her incredibly. She’s feisty, lovable, playful, a loyal companion and my travel buddy!
Tell Us Your Favorite Joke!
Would you believe me if I say I don’t have one? It’s not that I’m not a funny person! On the contrary, I think I’m quite funny. Culturally speaking my family of origin did not say or use a lot of jokes, and I think that I’ve never paid too much attention to it. I do laugh at other people’s jokes though, and love stand up comedy!
What Are the Client Ages You Work With?
I feel comfortable working with a variety of ages. I work with client’s ages 15 and up. I enjoy working the most with college students, young adults and adults. I like to offer the space needed for my clients to heal and understand their behavior and how it affects them in their life. I believe I am able to do this best with adults.
What Clinical Rotations Have You Done, and How Have These Shaped You as a Clinician?
One of the main things I wanted to attain in my degree was to have experience in as many settings as I could. That is why I have worked in multiple sites and have done different rotations as a student. For example, I’ve worked in the school system performing cognitive assessments to diagnose neurodevelopmental disabilities in teens. I also have worked in medical settings in which I did a special rotation in women’s care on OBGYN. I’ve worked in college counseling settings assisting young adults transitioning to college, and community mental health clinics in which I was able to help those with persistent mental illness. All these experiences gave me different flavors of the field of psychology. I gained a broad perspective on how to understand and treat human behavior during these rotations. I believe the psychologist I am today is precisely due to the extensive experience I had in multiple settings.
Tell Us About Your Internship/Residency?
During my internship year I worked at Florida Gulf Coast University. There, I was part of the college counseling team. I assisted the college community with individual therapy, conducted group therapy, provided supervision of master level students, and did outreach events for the community. One of the things I loved most about my internship year was the extensive training we received each week. One of the many perks of working at Florida Gulf Coast University was its campus. FGCU has a beautiful campus located basically in a forest! I was able to walk through the woods, see exotic animals, and enjoy the nature that SWFL had to offer. Also, Fort Myers is home to beautiful beaches; working and living in a place that reminded me of my island made the experience even richer.
What Hobbies Do You Have? What Do You Like to Do in Your Free Time?
This is simple, in my free time you will find me near a body of water! My Caribbean blood thrives in Florida, giving me beautiful beaches and nature experiences. I also like to listen to music and sing. Yes, I sing! I like music because it connects me to the world in a different way, and I like to sing it because it helps me relax when I need it the most. I also like to visit new places and get to discover the hidden gems of the city.
Do You Have Any Certifications?
Currently I have a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology and a Master’s in Industrial Psychology. However, I already have a list of certifications and training I would like to take in order to offer the best up-to-date care to my clients.
What Do You Plan to Learn Next in Your Career? Any Areas You’d Like to Learn More About?
This is such a great question! I thrive in learning! I know, I know that makes me a nerd, haha! I would love to continue to get more education in trauma and stress disorders as well as learning more about treating eating disorders.