My interest in psychology began when I was participating in a Chicano mural project in San Diego. I was curious about why some families would discourage their children from studying art or cultural expression. This eventually led me to study cognition and communication at UC San Diego then Human Development and Psychology at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. While at Harvard I had an advisor who taught courses on Culture and Personality from a Neo-Freudian perspective. This provided further motivation to understand the links between ethnicity, gender, and class in relation to social structures and cultural practices.
Upon returning to California I took a position as an Associate Researcher at UCLA and then pursued a MA in clinical psychology at a small school that was based on psychodynamic and object relations theory. I have worked with victims of torture, children, adolescents and adults. Currently I remain active in the area of Latino mental health and I also work with creative professionals regarding mental health issues.
Select Publications and Presentations
- Hysterical blindness and the ideology of denial: Psychosocial considerations of resistance to multicultural education. In Ideologies in education: Unmasking the trap of teacher neutrality. Bartolomé, L. (Ed.) (2007). Peter Lang Publishing, Inc. NY Mexican repatriates and mental health: Silent wounds and unanswered echoes Communiqué. A Publication of the Office of Minority and Ethnic Affairs. American Psychological Association. February 2002.
- Collaborative Course Assessment and Modification: A Case Study in Progress With Leslie Reese, Ph.D.; John Attinasi, Ph.D.; and Olga Rubio Ph.D. Workshop presented at the 5th Annual CSU Fullerton Assessment Conference March, 2001.
- Confronting the demarcation of resistance: A social-cognitive study of instructors' experiences at five California State Universities. National Association of Multicultural Educators Conference, San Diego, California 1999
- Psychosocial issues in the development of prejudice and discrimination Meeting on common ground: A conference on refugee and immigrant children's education. San Diego State University, San Diego, California 1998
- Borderline identity: Psychocultural resistance to the spectacle of ethnicity. Exterior /Interior Borders Conference Department of Languages and Literatures Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ. April, 1998.
- The voices of anti-bias peer trainers: Their struggle against racism and hate. With Lucia Rodriguez, Ed.D. American Education Research Association National Conference. San Diego California. April, 1997
- Preventing ethnic bias and promoting respect in diverse classrooms. With Marjorie Green MS. Project presentation at the Annual Conference of the National Council of Social Sciences. Cincinnati Ohio. November, 1997.
- Identity, disfigurement and Chicano cultures mid-life crisis: Issues of dominance and resistance. Paper presented at New Perspectives on Chicano Culture. UCLA May 1997
- American Psychological Association Division 39—Psychoanalytic Psychology
- California Latino Psychological Association
- California Latino Psychological Association; Co-Founder and former Board of Directors
- Core Artists, Magoski Arts Colony, Fullerton, CA.
Teaching and Therapy
Q. Please describe your teaching philosophy.
A. Critical Pedagogy is a teaching practice that allows collaboration between the student and the teacher. It is also a method that guides the student to constantly assess their everyday life in relation to real world events. This information is then compared to psychological theories, techniques and research methods as a means of finding the “best fit” between the student and the formation of a learning process that empowers personal development and professional character.
Q. Please describe your philosophy regarding the practice of psychology.
A. Constructivism, like Critical Psychology, is a process of patient-therapist collaboration and focuses on the client’s ability to create new conditions in their lives. This theory views individuals as agents of change and reflects upon how the individual interacts within a larger social context and reflects upon spirituality and an awareness of the body as a form of assessing emotional states.
Q. Why did you choose to enter the field of psychology?
A. At an early age I was deemed to be mentally retarded by Catholic nuns at my school. This triggered a process of overcompensation. This motivation was linked to other interests in creative, political and social issues
Q. What advice would you give a student entering The Chicago School of Professional Psychology?
A. I would suggest that the student take independent study in philosophy, anthropology, literature and the arts and cultural studies. If possible the student should also seek therapy to resolve personal issues and to better understand the point of view of the patient.