Maria (she/her) is a Latina, biracial, pansexual, non-religious, neurodiverse, psychologist. She practices psychotherapy with individuals, partnerships, families, and groups from integrative psychodynamic, feminist, multicultural, orientations. She works towards affirming diversity and empowering individuals in their difference, rather than pathologizing differences in identities and worldviews. Herfundamental theoretical orientation to therapy is vitalist; she believes clients have the capacity to know themselves and to trust their innate healing processes to work effectively when obstacles on the path to growth, whether internal or external, are removed. This orientation is informed by the Indigenous healing practices of her ancestors, as well as by traditional Western philosophy. Maria believes many forms of distress are caused by multiple forms of intersecting oppressions, rather than by individual deficiencies or intrapsychic problems. Suffering often originates from being situated at a borderland/frontera. Recognizing that situatedness as a source of challenges, rather than internalizing it, is often a major focus of her work. She strives to create a safe and non-judgmental holding environment to support client growth.
Informed by interpersonal and feminist approaches to psychotherapy, Maria emphasizes collaboration, shared goals, strengths, sources of support, and resilience. She seeks to provide services to individuals who have been traditionally underrepresented in mental health settings, especially Latinx clients, economically marginalized clients, and LGBTQIA+ clients. Maria’s clinical focus also includes first generation college students and neurodiverse clients, especially Autistic people and people with ADHD and other learning differences. Maria’s training in university counseling centers has concentrated on developmental concerns typical of emerging adult populations. As such, she often emphasizes psychoeducation and skills building, such as communication and coping skills. An additional aspect of this work is often direct advocacy, fostering connections to community, and increasing self-advocacy skills.
Regarding specific areas of competency, Maria is a generalist psychologist who strongly values integrated healthcare and a mind-body approach to holistic healing. She has worked on multi-disciplinary treatment teams serving clients with eating disorders, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia spectrum disorders. She has experience working with phobias, anxiety disorders, and OCD. Maria provides therapeutic neuropsychological assessment from a multicultural and feminist orientation primarily for ADHD and LD concerns, but also for severe and persistent mental illness, multiple diagnoses, and personality disorders.
Maria completed her doctoral training in clinical psychology at the University of Detroit Mercy and her predoctoral internship Michigan State University Counseling and Psychiatric Services (MSU CAPS). While at MSU CAPS, she received the Paul Dressel award as an outstanding intern in multicultural counseling. She worked in various college and community mental health settings during her training, serving diverse populations in regards to age, race, sexual orientation, ability status, and socioeconomic status. Maria researches attachment and intersubjective personality functioning and is active in the American Psychological Association division of psychoanalysis. She is a member at large of Div. 39 section V, applied clinical psychoanalysis.