Let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there. I began working in the field of behavioral health while in undergraduate school in 1991. I worked in a DCFS run residential treatment center. Upon graduation, I taught Kindergarten and Preschool and while working with young children I realized I needed to obtain a Masters’ degree to make more impactful change in the lives of children and families to help them improve and thrive.
While working on my Masters’ degree in Clinical Psychology I worked as a Director of programs in Residential Treatment with Adults with severe mental illness and developmental disability. In time, I realized that I would need to better understand outpatient care so I began working at Metropolitan Family Services managing their crisis and intake department. I was able to triage families all over the city in both Spanish and English and became well-versed in employee assistance programs. I really enjoyed this work but saw the need to gain experience in providing therapeutic intervention not just assessing and triaging so I started my career as a psychotherapist.
Since 1996 I have worked in inpatient psychiatric hospitals, outpatient mental health centers and medical settings. In 1999, I opened a small private practice and found that I really enjoyed this model. Around the same time, I began teaching undergraduate Advance Psychopathology courses at DeVry University.
In all of my experience, I have learned that there are limitations in the work that can be done with clients because of Medicaid limitations or merely the lack of collaborative care. In 2014, I decided that with all the changes to the provision of services that limit psychotherapists to provide good care to clients in an outpatient center I wanted to create something that was able to provide a balance to both the clinician and the client. I began Innovative Counseling Partners at this time.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you? Our growth started out slow and steady. The one thing I did not realize was how much clinicians really wanted/needed a place where they felt free to provide good therapy in a supportive manner; as a result, we grew much faster than I realized as clinicians were coming and asking to work in our group practice.
Additionally, I did not realize how much other provider types i.e., occupational therapists, pediatricians, etc. we’re struggling to make good connection and collaboration within other behavioral health settings so we found ourselves having many referral sources. We began getting more referrals than we had clinicians so I had to really move some things off my plate to provide more administrative time onboarding clinicians, providing treatment and supervision. I had to connect to a business support group to aid in our growth and to answer our phones. I also needed more bilingual staff as we were filling all of those clinicians before I could get new ones on board. It was not easy starting a new business support group and learning a new business software while training new clinicians.
We are a group of mental health psychotherapists that provide outpatient therapy in a truly collaborative manner with other provider types in Spanish and English to an insurance friendly population of adults, children, couples and families. We work very closely with pediatricians, pediatric occupational therapists, chiropractors, internal medicine doctors, non-profits agencies, and job training programs. We have 4 clinicians that are Veterans and we provide EMDR, Trauma informed models of care, services to Transgender youth, Eating Disorders, and youth and families who have struggled to connect and have required return to home after residential treatment. I am proud that we are a diverse group of practitioners that hold tightly to the model of Family Systemic care approach to aid in healing individuals, couples and families. Over half of our staff of clinicians are bilingual in Spanish and most are bicultural. We also have clinicians that speak Hindi and Mandarin. Our practice has been very intentional to ensure most if not all providers have a basis in mindfulness practice.
I have always been an extrovert and loved helping people. I also am a huge animal lover and have been known to be somewhat of an “animal whisperer.” I was also very sport and academically oriented and enjoyed learning about other cultures and began Spanish classes in 7th grade. I enjoy running, yoga/mindfulness, working out, and love music and dance.