Counseling Philosophy & Background:
My mission has always been to help people to achieve or recover their mental and emotional health so they can have functional and happy lives. I want to people to thrive and not survive. There is plenty of pain in the world but we don’t have to suffer unnecessarily. Counseling helps to overcome addictions, better deal with mental disorders, unresolved grief issues, childhood or family traumas, and to develop healthy coping skills for facing daily life situations.
At DC VA Counseling, we are committed to helping people heal from their inside out and grow in self-knowledge and self-acceptance. Therefore, we offer different types of therapy or modalities. Our approaches also offers an excellent opportunity for healthy, interested individuals to seek positive self-growth, self-improvement, change, and advancement in personal, educational, career, relationship, and life goals.
The foundation of our work rests on 3 basic pillars:
1) Effective Diagnosis and Treatment to be able to determine if the client has a mental disorder or is simply experiencing adjustment difficulties. Depending on that I proceed to develop a work plan that conducts to the accomplishments of the goals previously established and mutually collaborated between you and I (therapist and client). It is important to avoid miss or over diagnosing, but if a person needs professional help it is crucial to ask for it. Many people refuse to ask for help. It is important for you to realize that you can’t do it alone, and you should not have to do it alone.
2) Positive Psychology is a recent branch of psychology that “studies the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive.” Positive psychologists seek “to find and nurture genius and talent,” and “to make normal life more fulfilling,” not to cure mental illness. Martin Seligman is considered to be “the father of positive psychology.”
3) Prevention because I believe that mental health is a crucial component of our general wellbeing. In the same way that we visit the dentist, eye doctor, cardiologist, and general physician, regularly to check the good state of our body’s organs, we should also visit the specialist to check our emotional health frequently and ask for help when necessary.
The saying that states “therapy is only for crazy people” is nothing but an old fashioned myth. Today crazy is the person that does not look for help with all the resources available and continues to live in pain or unsatisfied.
Counseling or Therapy helps people to either achieve or recover their mental and emotional health so they can have functional and happy lives.
Prior to entering the mental health profession, I worked for ten years in Communications in the non-profit field, which allowed me to work with people from different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds from all over the world. This experience helped me to better understand and effectively counsel people struggling to adjust to a new environment while trying to achieve their career, personal or relationship goals. I love working with clients of different age, gender, religion, culture, personality, and lifestyle.
I have a Hispanic background and have experienced on my own what it is to come, learn, and adjust to a new country. I began since I was very little. I was born in Spain and raised in Peru since I was 8 years old. Moving from Spain to Peru, and even speaking the same language, I started to learn what it is to be and adjust to a new world. I believe that provided me with a different way to look at things and life, which became pretty useful since very early in life. Today, as a professional counselor I bring that expertise into my practice and I am able to provide clients with the opportunity to explore other authentic ways to solve problems, look at life, and even to relate to other people.
I believe that a lot of what happens in our lives is based on the way we handle, or do not handle our emotions. We all have them, people from all cultures, ages, and family histories but it is part of our journey to learn how to be emotionally balanced if we want better lives. Some cultures are very emotional and others are pretty low in emotional expression and recognition of negative emotions, which many times becomes detrimental to people’s wellbeing and blocks the ability to develop deep connections with other people. Like everything else, the goal is to reach a balance. Because of my background I offer my clients new ways of exploring their emotional lives, enriching their relationships, controlling or getting in touch with them (depending on the case), and the opportunity of looking at new options of seeing and doing things. Sometimes we are trapped by the ways we have been taught to do things or even live our lives, depriving ourselves of the wonderful and most powerful experience of growth that trying new things entails.
Being a Spanish speaker also gives me the opportunity to work with the Hispanic community that needs help from a therapist that can truly communicate with them.