I was raised along the U.S.-Mexico border and I am fluent in English and Spanish. I graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 1985 and from the Texas A&M University College of Medicine in 1990. I then completed an internship and residency in psychiatry from The University of Arizona in Tucson in 1994. I have lived in San Diego since 1998. Before moving to San Diego, I traveled for an entire year visiting western Europe, South America and southern and central Mexico. Since I owed a relatively small amount of student debt, I was able to pay off all my student loans. I then took off. I left academic life behind me with an eye to the future and a strong desire to experience life after so many years in school. I left with a number of unanswered questions in my mind.
I was born with a natural inclination for art and music as well a naturally introspective character. I did well in school and enjoyed both the arts and sciences. Growing up between two cultures, with two languages, and identifying myself with art and science created a tension inside of me. I became aware early in my life of the duality of my inner experience. Of course I did not have a name for it but I sensed that something inside of me was at odds with itself. Having finished my studies and being debt free, my question then was “was I correct to pursue a life in medicine, as a psychiatrist, or should I be an artist?” I felt that perhaps I had made a life long decision too early in my life. So I left Tuscon, closed my practice, and traveled for a year in search of an answer. One year later I settled in San Diego with a clearer vision of the road before me. I came to understand that it is not as simple as making the right choice but rather integrating different parts of oneself. I realized that there is a deeper source for this duality and that my original question was not the only question but the first of many.
I learned that there is also a need for this duality and that the problem is not that there is such a duality. The difficulty is often that we don’t know what to do with it or how to integrate it.
The bigger question becomes, “How do I remain an individual, separate, as myself, and not lonely and alone?”… “How do I do this and grow with another, in a relationship, together?”…
The question then becomes one of successfully becoming an individual while remaining connected to others. It is a question of separation, individuation and relatedness. It is a journey into the unity of oneself and the communion with others. It is not an easy or simple task. Yet, it is a necessary and unavoidable one. You see what you are. If you are at war with yourself, you will make war with everyone around you. If you have found peace with yourself you are more likely to be at peace with others.
I offer an integrated approach to psychological well being. This approach involves the integration of the experiences of a lived life, the ideas and concepts of Freud, Jung, Campbell, Johnson, and Erich Fromm. It also involves applying the knowledge of psychopharmacology in an honest, smart and realistic way. Please read further below for a wider discussion about my approach to psychiatry.
Integration is a life long process.
The need for integration begins early in our lives. The loss of faith in ourselves and others, which leads to isolation, loneliness and despair is often at the root of much of our suffering. This loss of faith blocks us from finding unity and meaning. There is suffering all the way from boredom to disappointment to disillusionment.
Though there is a natural need for this separation and individuation, this separateness often occurs outside of our own control and early in our lives. If we are not prepared or helped along the way, this can cause confusion and suffering.
We may become blocked and stuck. If we are not guided enough along this process, we can become anxious and depressed This causes a loss of trust and often results in frequent and frustrated attempts to correct the past that was or the past we remember. We imagine a better future but become frustrated when we can’t hold on to it. Repeating old patterns simply makes us feel bored and it sets us on our way to disillusionment. We begin to lose faith in life and don’t know how to live our lives. Then we may acquire a false self or persona to get us through. The need to integrate is a requirement to be able to move forward, grow, and to function as loving adults. Psychotherapy helps us use our human capacity to observe, imagine, and work our way through this stuckness. Only then, can we become transformed.
The use of psychopharmaceuticals has advanced the treatment of many disorders and reduced their debilitating symptoms. Many psychiatric disorders are now successfully treated though not cured with medications. Newer and safer medications are available to treat a wide spectrum of conditions including depression, anxiety and psychosis. There is a very important role for psychopharmacology in our modern life. We have come a long way in a few decades. Psychopharmacology has its limits because medications cannot cure a certain level of human suffering. Still, we must be familiar with all the tools at our disposal. A psychiatrist must be able to integrate both psychology and biology.
Each one of us is a unique and original individual. No two people are exactly alike no matter how similar we may seem. We may ask ourselves, “What is this all about?” or “Why am I depressed?” or “What is the point of life?” Because we are all unique individuals, there is no one answer for everyone and no one person has the answer for everyone. Yet, there is an answer for each one of us. Sometimes medications offer more than a quick fix. They do work and can continue to work. Sometimes a medication can feel like a remedy no matter how good it works. We recognize that sometimes we need a solution more than a remedy. .
Finding a solution for a human problem involves exploring different aspects of that person, including both
biological and psychological factors. It also involves helping that person access their full human capacities and finding a place for a uniquely human experience. That uniquely human experience is the attainment of MEANING.
Finding a way of integrating those different aspects involves having a deep understanding of that person. Understanding a human being requires an open mind and trust between two people. Finding a solution requires that open mind and integrating all these factors including, biological, psychological, cultural, and spiritual. I believe each person has the capacity to be intelligent, honest and creative.
Likewise, by developing a trusting relationship with you, one which is also honest, intelligent and creative, I can help you move toward that experience. None of this can happen however, if there is no trust between doctor and patient. Too often these days our relationships are influenced by third party entities who dictate what and how things should be done. These days the most private and sacred relationship between psychiatrist and patient can be influenced by a third person or party who expects to know details of a patient’s life just because they represent an insurance company and because the patient has signed a waiver. Most people don’t realize that this actually happens and that the person reviewing this information may or may not know the patient, they have unknown credentials and they could be based anywhere. It seems to me that the value of privacy and discreetness has been diminished. It is not just and old fashioned idea to me. It is a necessity to establish trust between patient and doctor. You must know and believe that your personal information will not be shared with anyone. This is very difficult to guarantee in today’s insurance dominated healthcare system.
You will know that I value privacy and that I respect your life by being discreet, honest and direct. I believe that the human problems which require a solution, also require trust, honesty, commitment and time. If you value trust, honesty, creativity, an open mind, commitment and privacy, as I do, then we can work together to achieve transformation.
- Texas A&M University System Health Science Center, MD, 1990
- University of Arizona Health Science Center, Psychiatry & Neurology, 1991
- University of Arizona Health Science Center, Psychiatry & Neurology, 1994
All PPOs (Out-of-Network) accepted