Delmira Martinez is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has extensive experience working with children, adolescents, and their parents/guardians who have experienced trauma. She is certified in Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and is a graduate of the New Center for Psychoanalysis Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Program. As a former therapist of the internationally renowned UCLA- Stuart House, she treated children and adolescent survivors of sexual abuse. Her psychoanalytic training has helped her understand the early life experiences of children and adolescents, how they manifest in their day-to-day lives and the relational work in the therapeutic relationship necessary to help children and parents along the path towards healing.
What is it like to work with you in therapy?
I promote an environment of safety and trust within the therapy space in order to help children and adolescents heal and get back on course towards progressive development in the aftermath of trauma. I help them make sense of their experiences and challenges through education and helping create a mental space for self-reflection. I work together with parents and guardians to help them connect the impact their child’s trauma has had on the way they parent and interact with their child.
As a bilingual, bicultural, and biracial therapist, I have sensitivity for clients’ culture and its influence on how they engage with the world around them. Moreover, I am particularly attuned to the importance of spirituality and/or religion in many people’s lives and welcome the client’s beliefs as a tool to help along the journey towards healing.
What was your path to becoming a therapist? What inspired you to choose this profession?
I was a young college student trying to understand the world around me and what my place and contribution would be. While in undergrad, I studied International Relations and Sociology where I was exposed to human behavior at a macro level. Through my studies, I came to understand that the world at large is made up of individuals making decisions on a daily basis to influence the systems around them to have their needs met. I came to understand that a society whose individuals are healthy can have a significant impact for the better on the world at large. As a result, I shifted gears and decided to pursue studies in mental health with the hope that as I supported children and caregivers move towards a healthier and more fulfilling family system, they would be better equipped to be good citizens of their communities and the world at large.
Is there an example from your daily life where you practice what you preach?
In accordance with my belief that change for the better starts at the individual level, I continuously prioritize my own personal development and growth through different means of learning and participating in my own therapy.
What is one thing that you have learned through your own therapy?
My empathy for clients undergoing the therapeutic process has exponentially grown as I’ve experienced the sense of vulnerability and discomfort that the healing process often entails. It has been a journey of discovery and growth that has required significant effort and intention but that has gradually made my life all that much more colorful and purposeful. It has strengthened my conviction that although the journey may be challenging, when there is a real intention, when we exercise courage, “and when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” -Paulo Coelho. It is an honor and a privilege to walk alongside families on this journey we call life.
Short Term (Solution-focused, etc.)
Ideal for those who are coming in with a specific problem they’d like to address and gain clarity on. Typically, short term therapies are present focused and do not dive deep into your past.
Structured therapies are goal and progress oriented. Therapists may incorporate psychoeducation and a specific “curriculum.” In order to stay on track, therapists may provide worksheets and homework.
Insight-oriented (Psychodynamic, Existential, etc.)
Exploring the past and making connections to present issues can help clients gain insight. Getting to the root of the issue and finding deeper self-awareness can help with long-term change.
Non-directive (Humanistic, Person-centered, etc.)
Going with the flow and seeing where it leads.
Behavioral (CBT, DBT, etc.)
Focuses on changing potentially unhealthy or self-destructive behaviors by addressing problematic thought patterns and specific providing coping skills.
Trauma Focused (EMDR, TF-CBT, etc.)
Recognizing the connection between trauma experiences and your emotional and behavioral responses, trauma focused therapy seeks to help you heal from traumas.