San Antonio Sabbatical

National Latina/o Psychological Association Conference

Posted on: November 17, 2010

The 2010 National Latina/o Psychological Association Conference took place from Thursday, November 11th through Saturday, November 13th right here in San Antonio.  Lucky me!  I attended the conference and learned a lot and met some really nice people.  I even saw Dr. Andrés Consoli, a fellow trainee from my internship days at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  The theme of this year’s NLPA conference was “Latinas: Celebrating the Psychological Strength and Resilience of Latina Women and Girls”.  In my last post I wrote about my NLPA experience in a journal entry for Classroom Professor who collected the journals two days ago.  Today’s post is being provided for those of you who would prefer to read about this event in English.

My first experience with NLPA was fantastic!  The conference was well organized and drew a large number of attendees.  It was a busy and fun weekend with lots of positive energy and great people.  Even though I’m not a Latina, I felt very comfortable in this warm and supportive atmosphere.  OLLU was one of the conference sponsors and held on its campus Thursday evening a poster session (which included a great case study done by two members of my Spanish Clinic Team — they talked about the power and resilience of a Latina grandmother and her granddaughters), reading and book signing by Sandra Cisneros (author of The House on Mango Street and other books), and a reception marking OLLU‘s 20th anniversary of its graduate psychology program.  What a great start to the conference.  NLPA President, Dr. Edward Delgado-Romero, gave an official welcome.  Sandra Cisneros did a fabulous reading in which she chose three heartfelt selections to share that described her personal struggles with severe depression and low self-esteem during her early days as a writer.  I felt honored to be part of the audience of psychologists and psychology students who heard her speak that night.  She was truly amazing!

The next two days at the Westin Riverwalk were filled with several educational sessions on a variety of topics relevant to Latinos and psychology; I earned 11 continuing education hours.  I listened to inspirational speeches from leaders in the field of psychology, including ones by Dr. Melba J.T. Vasquez (President-Elect of the American Psychological Association and the first APA President of color), Dr. Patricia Arredondo (co-author of my textbook, Counseling Latinos and la familia: A Practical Guide) and Latina pioneers Dr. Lillian Comas-Diaz and Dr. Nadya Fouad.  They discussed their personal and professional experiences and the risks they took and the challenges they encountered, such as racism and sexism, as they climbed the ladder of success.  They also talked about their hopes for Latinos and for psychology in the future.  I especially loved when Dr. Melba Vasquez talked about how she campaigned for the APA presidency and the huge amount of support she received from others.  She was surprised to realize the extent of her support system until she actually won the election.  When she exclaimed, “I have people!”, she was humble but sounded like a star — and she is.  I’m so glad to have her as my president.  Psychology is very lucky to have all of these intelligent, energetic, and powerful Latinas in their midst.  I am in awe.  Latinos are changing the world in wonderful ways.

At the end of the conference, one of the awards given was to an early career psychologist whose work has furthred the mission of NLPA.  This award was given to Dr. Lisa M. Edwards, who did an excellent conference presentation on the challenges of balancing work and family.  It was purely coincidental that, after I attended her session and later ate lunch with her and her friend, the next day she won this award as one of the new leaders in the field.

Sessions that I attended were:

The first…of many: Promoting leadership among Latinos/Latinas by Melba J.T. Vasquez (Friday’s Keynote Speaker)

Latina Motherhood: Young Professionals’ Reflections from the Borderlands (Lisa M. Edwards, Carrie Castaneda-Sound, Geneva Reynaga-Abiko, Melanie Domenech-Rodriguez)

Latina Undergraduate Coping and Wellbeing: A psychosocial framework (Jeanett Castellanos, Bianca Barrios, Ashley Delagado, Jessica Kayat, Alberta M. Gloria)

Predictors of Mexican American College Women’s Mental Health (Lizette Ojeda, Natalia Jimenez, Brandy Pina-Watson, Noshaba Khn, Linda Castillo, Kimberly M. Rodriguez, Lisa M. Edwards)

Mentoring in Latina professional development: Lessons learned in the journey (Melissa L. Morgan, Andrés J. Consoli, Alejandra Gamez-Villanueva, Rosa Serpas, Lucila Ramos-Sánchez, Carolina Cervantes, Ana Cabrera, Jasmin Llamas, Nelly González)  

Strengths Based Brief Therapy for Latinas (Monte Bobele, Arnold Slive, Teresa Correia, Kyle Green)

Latinas as transformative leaders by Patricia Arredondo (Saturday’s Keynote Speaker)

The negative effect of discrimination on the health of Latinos (Andrea Romero, Scott Carvajal, Cecelia Rosales, Lisa Lapeyrouse, Gilbert Gee)

Marianismo: Theory, Measurement, and Clinical Application (Linda G. Castillo, Cynthia E. Guzmán, Rachel L. Navarro, Araceli López-Arenas, Emilia O’Neill)

Training and Supervision for Bilingual Therapists: Ethical Issues (Laura L. Luna, Andrés Consoli, Azara Santiago-Rivera, Ellen L. Vaughan, Edward A. Delgado-Romero)

Resilience and Strength of Immigrant Latinas within the context of domestic violence (Julia Perilla, R. Lillianne Macías, Josephine Vásquez Serrata, Alvina Rosales)

I learned a lot this past weekend and can use this information in order to better serve my clients.  There is a lot of good research being done about Latinos and I expect that even more will be done in the future.  When I came to San Antonio for my sabbatical leave, I had no idea that the NLPA conference would be held here this year.  Things just happened to work out so that I could attend.  And I’m glad that I did.  This additional activity has made my sabbatical semester even better.  ¡Qué bueno!

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