When discussing what our next blog topic would be, we came across the idea of discussing Hispanic Culture. We want our supporters to know that Hispanic Culture is important to us and why. We decided to ask Katherine, our director of Clinical Services for her help! I wanted to keep Katherine's answers to the questions in her words, so I decided to write this blog in a question and answer form.
What is your role at The Tree House, Inc.?
I am the Director of Clinical Services at The Tree House and provide Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) for children 17 years of age and younger.
Why did you want to become a Therapist?
Growing up I always knew I wanted to help people. Service is something that runs in my bloodline. I had two amazing examples! Both my grandmother and mother instilled in me the value of service to others. During my college years, I realized my calling was in Social Work. It was difficult to find my path because of the misconception I had on what social work really is. When I researched social work, I learned the many roles social workers have. I fell in love with the field! In my Intro to Social Work class, it was affirmed – “I am in the right place!” I felt an immediate closeness to work with children and families. I did not know in what capacity, but knew this was an area of interest. As I entered into my Masters, my passion for direct practice grew fonder. I was an intern at The Tree House and had the opportunity to provide TF-CBT for children and families. That is exactly where my passion as a therapist grew. Throughout my bachelors and masters, I noticed the importance of working with people in my Hispanic/Latino community. There was a gap in services and I did not have peace about it. I knew I wanted to help out in my community and bridge that gap in whatever way possible!
Do you serve Hispanic families at The Tree House, Inc.?
I have had the opportunity of working with a Hispanic families by providing both therapy and forensic interviews. As an entity, The Tree House, Inc. has been a vessel in providing assistance to Hispanic/Latino families.
How does your background help you provide services to Hispanic families?
Representation Matters! It is a beautiful thing when the person on the other side of you looks like you and understands you. I am of Colombian-descent and even among Hispanics/Latinos there are still many differences. However, it is refreshing and calming to see someone like you. I cannot describe the relief and comfort I see in our client’s eyes. It is as if a huge weight is lifted off their shoulder to be able to speak with someone in their native language.
Why is it important to offer Spanish-speaking services when able, instead of interpreters?
Interpreters can do a great job at interpreting and translating. They are still qualified individuals. However, a lot can be lost in the translation between both languages. Having a native Spanish-speaker helps with not only interpreting, but also helps with rapport, trust, and comprehension. Within the Spanish language, there are different accents, dialects, Spanish from Central America and South America are different – when a Spanish-speaker is available, they generally have an understanding of those differences.
What is important to know about Hispanic culture and child abuse?
Unfortunately, within the Hispanic/Latino population, child abuse may go unreported for many reasons. At times it is a language barrier, not knowing what to do or who to report the abuse to, fear of the offender, just to name a few. There are many reasons that can stop a family from reporting. However, our due diligence as a community is to be an advocate for all. For example, if you do not speak Spanish fluently, but know a few words, a Hispanic/Latino family in need will appreciate whatever help you can offer.
What is one thing you would like the Hispanic community to know about The Tree House?
The Tree House is a safe place to bring your child. We are here to ensure children are safe, to educate, and to nurture and support all families. Child abuse happens within our community and it does not mean we are any less or cannot break the silence. We too can break the cycle of abuse and use our voice to make a change. Have no fear and step forward. We are here to help.
I hope that this helps you to understand Katherine's role at The Tree House, and her connection to the Hispanic community. As a Child Advocacy Center, we want to make sure that we provide all that a child and family may need to feel comfortable when coming into our organization. #GreatChildhoodsBeginWithAllOfUs