Becoming A Marriage And Family Therapist Is Influenced By Personal Experiences That Impact And Transform An Individual

Becoming A Marriage And Family Therapist Is Influenced By Personal Experiences That Impact And Transform An Individual

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The decision to embark on the journey to become a marriage and family therapist is commonly influenced by personal experiences that impact and transform an individual. My experience involves countless medical appointments, multiple misdiagnoses, and an extraordinary will to persevere. The culmination of this arduous experience was my son’s Autism diagnosis at the age of three, prior to this diagnosis I worked tirelessly to obtain the help my child my needed. Being a parent of a special needs child leaves little to no option of failing; hence my child has taught me to be strong, even in the most difficult and darkest times of my life. This experience inspired me to help other families and individuals encountering hardship.
Choosing a path
As I began the arduous task of finding a proper diagnosis for my child, I encountered the unique challenges of being a migrant raising a child with special needs in this country. The cultural differences between the therapists and myself hindered the process of obtaining a proper diagnosis. Being born in a foreign country with distinct values, culture, and language allowed me to see the great need for Latino therapists in this country, especially in cities such as San Diego, with large Latino populations. As a client, I yearned for a therapist who I could relate to, someone who spoke my language and who did not berate me for not understanding White culture.
The demanding effort of finding a culturally competent therapist that would validate my experience, culture, and child rearing style was exhausting. The therapists I met adhered to the medical model, which in turn resulted in minimizing the importance of culture, personal experience, and knowledge of child rearing. Often times, I felt crit...

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... and language. Furthermore, clients are curious about the immense diversity amongst Latinos, so I concluded that it is best to collaborate and be transparent with clients. If I am speaking quickly they can ask me to slow down, clarify, and repeat what I am trying to convey. This technique helps balance the power in the therapy room and removes me from the expert role, after all clients are experts in their own lives. I simply serve as a guide towards their desired change.
At times my new role as a therapist has been challenging, but the opportunity to work in a field in which I help create change is invaluable. Working in the mental health field challenges personal biases and cognitions that help individuals grow, during this past year I have matured at lighting speed. Perhaps, that is one of the most significant impact I have noticed since I began this program.

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