By the time I graduated high school I had decided that I would like to attend medical school to pursue a career in Psychiatry. Although I had grown up in Houston, I felt ready to explore a new part of the country, and I chose to attend Northwestern University just north of Chicago. Because my pre-medicine requirements provided me with sufficient math and science exposure, I chose to balance my undergraduate education by majoring in Hispanic Studies. This proved to be a useful compromise between the practical and more creative aspects of my Self: I returned to Texas and was better able to communicate with many of the individuals I intended to heal, and I was stimulated by the exploration of a different culture and the push to think in a different tongue. My Spanish proficiency served me well through medical school, residency, and a few years in practice in the Ben Taub Clinics and Psychiatric Emergency Room. I still delight in the language but speak it rarely, and, sadly, lack the level of mastery required to do effective psychotherapy in Spanish.
I returned to Houston for medical school at the University of Texas, what is now known as McGovern Medical School. These were challenging and growth-inspiring years. During my time in medical school I found myself affirmed in my initial decision to pursue Psychiatry, in awe of the immense diversity of human behavior and experience. I became more and more curious about the human unconscious, which lead me to pursue residency at Baylor College of Medicine in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry. The program stood out to me as depth-oriented and with greater psychoanalytic emphasis than the typical psychiatry program. While in residency I pursued and completed Studies in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, a certification program through the Center for Psychoanalytic Studies (member of the American Psychoanalytic Association).
I began treating patients in private practice in 2012 with medications and psychotherapy. I quickly became aware of how pervasive the impact of trauma is on the human psyche, and I sought ongoing education through the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation to better understand these processes. As I have worked longer and with more individuals it has become clear to me how even individuals without an identified history of trauma experience more subtle manifestations of the same processes we have studied in PTSD and more severe dissociation. The inevitable frustrations, disappointments, and betrayals that we all face in life can lead to shame, withdrawal, or any number of defenses that take us further away from ourselves and our community. The work of psychotherapy will be informed by the individual’s goals, willingness, and resources, and can take place effectively in any number of modalities. But, at its core, I believe that psychotherapy is effective when it brings us closer to the truth of our Selves and others.
I still have a deep interest in how our consciousness and the unconscious interact. To this end I have been finding myself increasingly curious about topics such as spirituality and spiritual traditions, meditation and altered states of consciousness, Holotropic work, Psychosynthesis, Transpersonal Psychology, Humanistic Psychology, Jungian analysis, mind-body and functional medicine, somatic experiencing, and Gestalt Therapy. As of now these remain topics of interest and exploration for me as I am considering how they each contribute to the evolution of the human psyche; I have not yet committed to pursue formalized study or certification in any one of them. I continue to use an eclectic approach to treatment and offer medication management as well as psychotherapy.