Candice is a psychotherapist who specializes in working with individuals who have been impacted by PTSD/trauma, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. She received her Masters in Social Work at Columbia University and completed her Trauma Certification at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy. Candice believes that healing should be accessible to everyone and that coming to therapy is not about something being wrong with you, it just means you are not alone in the journey. Candice utilizes an eclectic approach including CBT, Internal Family Systems and EMDR to provide collaborative care to her clients.
General Mental Health
Grief and Loss
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“We do not give clients anything. Anything and everything they have comes from innately within.”
What should someone know about working with you?
One of the first things I learned while becoming a therapist was that growth, change, and healing does not happen quickly. I experienced first hand as a therapist and as a client what it means to have seeds planted in the therapeutic process. “Aha” moments are what I call them. It’s where the therapist and the client are aligned together in a powerful realization that has taken many sessions to get there. It’s also important for me to emphasize that I am a stranger and do not have any expectations for a client to tell me their deepest darkest secrets as soon as possible, or even at all. It is a privilege for me to be able to sit side by side with clients and bear witness to growth, change, and healing. I tend to find beauty in using analogies that I come up with in the moment, and I believe the use of humor is a powerful tool in the therapeutic process. I enjoy working with clients who have ambivalence about therapy, and who may not understand how the process works but have an openness to it all. I also enjoy working with cycle breakers! Throughout the therapeutic process, I will remind you that it didn’t start with you, but it ends with you. This is an example of someone who is having to manage the challenges that come with disruption to the dysfunction within the family unit due to the transmission of intergenerational trauma. And I would be amiss if I didn’t acknowledge what a drastic change it has been to be pursuing therapy in the pandemic and how scary that can be, and I’m happy you’re here.
How do your own core values shape your approach to therapy?
Finishing up my studies in Sociology, I was sure of two things: I wanted to learn more about how one’s mental health impacts their daily lives and having a deep desire to help others. This combined together led me to the path of becoming a social worker to be able to make a difference. It wasn’t until I was in my graduate program that I learned about what it means to be impacted by trauma. As a Mexican-American woman who is a cycle-breaker from a working-class family, I've experienced first hand the difficulties and struggles that come with classism, racism, colorism within the community, and misogyny. This is an important part of my identity as I work with clients who face similar difficulties because I work with a decolonizing lens.
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I've worked in settings such as: Balboa High School, The Kings County District Attorney’s Office with the Victim Services Unit, STEPS To End Family Violence with the Anti-Trafficking Unit, St. Barnabas’ Behavioral Health System with the Behavioral Health Clinic. These experiences have shaped who I am as a therapist because without being thrown into it, I wouldn’t have learned everything that I did. My experiences managing large macro level systems, in combination with working clients on a one on one level has exposed me to what it’s like to embody resilience. Being in these settings, I also quickly learned the importance of understanding the neuroscience piece. When I learned that on a physiological level that any type of trauma changes the brain, this blew my mind! I said, “well if trauma changes the brain, then so can healing.” This led me to pursue the two-year Integrated-Trauma Studies Program at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy (ICP). Through the completion of the program I became certified in Levels I and II of Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR). One of the greatest parts of this program was being able to apply all of the materials of what I’m learning in live time, and thoroughly processing as I go
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
I like to stay up to date with new interventions and continue to bring them into supervisions for creative discussions and how they can apply to the work I do as a therapist. I believe that there is so much to learn no matter where you are in your life, so staying up to date with the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is crucial. When trainings to further my career development and challenge me critically are available, I attend when I can–especially now that most can be provided virtually. I also appreciate engaging in conversations with peers, especially when we have different ideas or opinions and we can learn from one another.
"Throughout the therapeutic process, I will remind you that it didn’t start with you, but it ends with you."