Mental health counselor Patricia Cepeda-Russell has been a child advocate for more than 20 years, working in case management, placement and as a therapist. She most recently turned her talents to Multilingual Psychotherapy Centers Inc. (MPCI) as a mental health practitioner serving the western communities of Palm Beach County.
Cepeda-Russell’s specialty is Therapeutic Behavioral On Site (TBOS) for Spanish speakers, which means she works to help change unwanted behaviors, such as oppositional defiance, adjustment disorder or other mal-adaptive behaviors that impede family harmony or success in school.
“I use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which is based on the idea that your thoughts influence your feelings, which then influence your actions,” Cepeda-Russell explained. “A popular example is, ‘I think, I feel, I do.’ I also utilize play therapy to build rapport and trust with children, as well as a way of gleaning pertinent information about their feelings. What makes MPCI special is our diversity and ability to bring therapy to people in their own language and with consideration to their culture.”
Cepeda-Russell sees weekly changes in clients who are frustrated with their lack of language skills, who are now learning to express their feelings.
“I have teens who are changing their negative coping mechanisms due to sexual abuse, to positive ones,” she said. “I have families that are learning new parenting techniques that are helping their kids adjust to major life changes.”
Cepeda-Russell’s personal life experiences give her an edge when it comes to helping Spanish-speaking clients.
“I am first-generation American, and English is my second language,” she said. “I can understand the challenges and frustrations that my young clients are feeling, because I have been there. I am also a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and know first-hand what that looks like to a teenaged girl.”
Cepeda-Russell has turned her own negative experiences into a positive, not only for her clients, but for herself. “I get the privilege of modeling assimilation, positive coping skills and hope to my clients,” she explained.
She often uses a particular source, a helpful book titled From Obstacles to Opportunities, which was published in 2013 by WestBow Press and just happens to have been written by Cepeda-Russell herself. It can be found on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle format.
Multilingual Psychotherapy Centers Inc. is a community mental health/behavioral health agency that serves children, adolescent, adults and their families in Palm Beach County. Established in 1997, its mission is to improve the lives of children and families through their diversity while considering their cultural background, speaking their own language and providing the mental health services they need.
MPCI works through its office, as well as on site in homes, shelters and schools — wherever the need arises — to alleviate emotional, behavioral and mental difficulties, improve their clients’ quality of life, and prevent the need for a more restrictive placement. Together with psychotherapy, MPCI provides case management services, psychological services and psychiatric services.
Multilingual Psychotherapy Centers Inc. is located at 1639 Forum Place in West Palm Beach. For more information, call (561) 712-8821 or visit www.mpcipbc.com.