I lived and worked as a psychologist in New York when the terrorist attack of September 11 occurred. I saw, through the stories of my patients, those towers fall hundreds of times. Pain, confusion, fear and suffering were very present feelings and emotions at all times.
Curiously, I had arrived in this city years before, “fleeing a bit from the violence” that was sweeping my country, Colombia. In Colombia in 1996, crimes of violence had increased by 35% and violence had become a major problem.
The stress that was experienced every day made some people feel vulnerable, without control of their emotions and anxiety and depression increased.
Many patients, with different experiences of trauma, began to appear. For example, some had been raped as children; others kidnapped or knew someone who had been. People were afraid to leave their homes or just go for a walk.
The number of patient cases that came to me with post-traumatic stress increased. And it was my patients who led me to be interested in the study of trauma. Because of this wide variety of violent incidents, I wanted to have more knowledge about what this type of trauma can mean in a person’s life, so I decided to move to the United States to develop new skills and learn new therapies to better help victims of trauma.
25 years ago, little was known about the effects of trauma. When I tell people that I am a psychologist and that I work with trauma, pain and conflict, they imagine that my work is painful or “traumatic”. Nothing could be further from the truth.
And this is so thanks to the power of the self-healing ability that each person has which is stimulated, when working with certain therapies, so that changes are seen. The person starts to sleep better, what bothered him no longer bothers him, he is less depressed, there are changes in several ways and this is very rewarding, both for the patient and for me. It is a process that takes time, patience and commitment.
As a therapist, seeing these changes, far from being traumatic, is rewarding. That’s why I enjoy my work.
I am a psychologist, graduated from the Javeriana University of Bogotá, now I live in Spain.
I studied to be a Counselor in Addiction at the University of Miami and Hypnosis and Psychoterapy at the Milton H. Erickson Society of New York and Madrid.