Juan's professional journey in psychology started during his studies at the University of Florida. There he found a passion in education and human development. This interest led him to tutor and mentor youth in at-risk settings. Later he became an instructor of Educational Psychology at the University of Florida. His intentions in providing education were to help students learn about themselves while also developing the understanding of important psychological concepts.
While getting his master degree in Educational Psychology, Juan became interested in studying the way older adolescents and young adults grow in their intellectual understanding of scientific knowledge. This interest stems from his belief that it is important to help students develop sophisticated cognitive maps of how knowledge is constructed so that they can become better consumers of information and knowledge. Therefore, Juan’s Master thesis revolved around this interest.
As Juan continued his professional Journey, he started to become interested in psychotherapy. Thus, he decided to begin his career in counseling. As a counselor, Juan has worked in multiple mental health settings. Most of his experience includes working in community mental health in San Francisco. For instance, he worked several years in residential facilities supporting the structure of programs treating patients with dual diagnoses. Juan also worked as a school counselor in the Mission district in San Francisco. Here he supported students, faculty, and families in dealing with challenging issues, like bullying, self-destructive behaviors, and academic performance.
One of Juan’s most fulfilling experiences has been working with people with substance abuse disorders. For the past 4 years, Juan has worked in providing therapy to such clients in various settings, like the Tenderloin in San Francisco, and currently in South Miami. He hopes to continue to learn from working with this population and bringing insight to the treatment of substance use.
Furthermore, Juan has worked in private practice over the past 2 years supporting clients through challenges in relationships, substance use, depression, anxiety, and other mental health challenges. More recently, Juan is working as an online counselor with BetterHelp.com and also in his private practice. He feels very excited and stimulated by this kind of work since it allows him to continue working with a wide variety of people. As telemedicine continues to evolve, he hopes to continue to understand the ways this type of service can aid people in working with their mental health.
Juan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Florida. His graduate-level education includes a Master of Arts in Education degree also from the University of Florida. Here his studies focused on advanced cognitive development. In addition, he has a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. At CIIS his concentration was in transpersonal, somatic, and psychodynamic approaches to psychotherapy.
"My Philosophy on Mental Health & Wellness"
Juan believes that one of the most important contributing factors in healing is in empowering clients to know their deepest truths and to relate to their lives in more authentic ways. For him, this is done by cultivating a clinical relationship with his clients characterized by warmth and acceptance. In his view, an optimal relationship between therapist and client is what help clients feel safe and able to unravel in therapy.
Juan’s approach to mental health also includes relying heavily on experiential, somatic, and mindfulness approaches. Such practices, for him, allow clients to develop their curiosity about their present mental state. This means that for Juan, the client’s need to be supported in developing their intrinsic capacities to understand and experience who they are. This process, in Juan’s view, is what allows people to become emotionally stronger. The more people are aware and able to manage their thoughts, feelings, and inner conflicts, the more choices they will have in dealing with the difficulties they experience.
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