I’ve always known that I would either become a marine biologist or a mental health professional. I love the ocean- even though I don’t know how to swim-and I’ve been obsessed with whales since Free Willy came out in the 90’s. On the other hand, I’ve been equally fascinated with human behavior, why people do the things they do, and relationships. I think by now you know which route I chose.
Growing up, therapists did not look or sound like me. They wore suits and asked “and how does that make you feel?” to the point it was comical. In novelas, people would say they had “nervios” (nerves- to signal that their nerves were bad)…umm that’s anxiety. Don’t even get me started on the issues with depression, anger, and masked alcoholism that runs rampant in BIPOC communities. People who went to therapy were labelled as “crazy.” I personally did not know anyone who willingly went to therapy until I was well into adulthood; people were encouraged to pray their problems away or suck it up- simple as that.
These observations along with my lived experience of being a translator/caseworker for my family since I was a child (shoutout to being the eldest daughter in a Spanish-speaking Immigrant household) and living with my brother who was born with Down’s Syndrome, led me on this amazing path where I get to connect with people of all walks of life. It is a gift to be able to connect culturally with clients and provide a space where they can be their true, authentic selves- no need to translate or decode cultural terms, slang, or mannerisms. My absolute favorite is when we communicate with only a sound or a look (you know the look).
Times have changed and I am overjoyed to see more BIPOC clinicians offering services to our community and creating safe spaces. Most importantly, it's refreshing to see more people of the global majority engaged in therapy and committing to learning new ways of coping and being…. I love it here.