Meet Dr. Oropeza-Diaz

My name is Dr. Yashira Oropeza-Diaz.  I feel that one of the most important things to know about me is where I come from.  I was born and raised in Puerto Rico and speak English and Spanish.  As a child of working parents, I understand the culture of wanting to achieve, and working hard for your goals.  I was always attracted to the helping and support careers and found the best mentors to learn from.  At the same time, I also observed those in these careers feel chronically exhausted, neglected and almost forgotten.   Understanding the need to “help the helpers” motivated me to continue expanding my knowledge to support and prevent further suffering.

I am a licensed Clinical Psychologist and hold a post-doctorate degree in Clinical Psychopharmacology.   I specialize in the worry, anxiety and sense of physical and emotional loss that comes from big changes in life, having to be present for others, life transitions and the stress and anxiety that this might cause.  I help individuals find the clarity in their path, engage in self-recognition, and learn skills to cope with these changes.  I also work with those that have been impacted by acute and chronic trauma due to direct or vicarious exposure, anxiety disorders, and difficult adjustments.

I use a combination of methods starting with a full assessment to understand the best way to tailor your treatment.  Then, I provide psychoeducation about the specific situation, and we start working on finding the necessary resources to help you cope with the immediate needs.   We work together to get you to identify the core beliefs that activate and maintain these difficulties and apply Eye Movement Desensitization and Processing (EMDR) to help you work with these negative beliefs, the associated feelings and find resolution.

EYE MOVEMENT DESENSITIZATION AND PROCESSING (EMDR) SPECIALIZATION

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that will help you heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences and the core beliefs that are formed from them.  Repeated studies show that by using EMDR people in therapy can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference.

It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal.  EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma.  When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound.  If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain.  Once the block is removed, healing resumes.  EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes.  The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health.  If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering.  Once the block is removed, healing resumes.  Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR therapy training sessions, I help my clients activate their natural healing processes.   After successful treatment with EMDR therapy, affective distress is relieved, negative beliefs are reformulated, and physiological arousal is reduced. For more information see www.emdria.com, and www.emdr.com

How Does EMDR Work?

There are eight phases of treatment and the initial one focuses on taking a thorough client history followed by a preparation stage. In the Rapid Eye Movement portion, the client focuses on a troubling memory and identifies the belief he has about himself connected to this negative memory (for example, in dealing with a loss, the person may believe “It’s my fault”). The individual then formulates a positive belief that he would like to have about himself (“I am a worthwhile and good person; I did the best I could.”). All the physical sensations and emotions that accompany the memory are identified. The individual then goes over the memory while focusing on an external stimulus that creates bilateral (side to side) eye movement. This is most often achieved by watching the therapist moving a finger. In remote session and telehealth, this is achieved by following a visual stimulus while listening to bilateral sounds.  After each set of bilateral movements, the individual is asked what came up. This process continues until the core belief or memory are no longer disturbing.

The individual is processing the trauma with both hemispheres of the brain stimulated. The chosen positive belief is then installed, via bilateral movement, to replace the negative one. Each session normally lasts for about one hour. It is believed that EMDR works because the “bilateral stimulation” by-passes the area of the brain that has become stuck due to the trauma and is preventing the left side of the brain from accessing the right side of the brain.

During this procedure, clients tend to “process” the memory in a way that leads to a peaceful resolution. This often results in increased insight regarding both previously disturbing events and long-held negative thoughts about the self that have grown out of the original traumatic event. For example, a harassment victim may come to realize that they were not to blame for what happened, they are now safe, that the event is really over, and, as a result, they can regain a general sense of safety in their world.

There is no “right amount” of sessions since this is an approach that will depend on your very specific needs and goals.  However, sessions are usually weekly for 60 minutes.   The frequency and duration might change as the treatment progresses and the need transforms.

Is EMDR right for me?

Have you ever felt like no matter how much you do it is “never enough?”.  Do you ever notice that, even though you have “moved on” from some stages or situations in your life, the patterns repeat themselves?  Do you ever feel anxious about something so intensely that you go “blank”? Do you ever feel lost, stuck, incapable, or confused about the reasons why past experiences keep coming up? If any of these are true, or you came up with a similar scenario, then the answer is yes.  EMDR has been proven effective to help reduce stress, trauma related reactions, anxiety, mood disorders, dissociation, and many other disorders.  However, you do not have to have a specific diagnosis to benefit from this approach.  Since it works with core beliefs, you will only need to be able to sit with your therapist and identify together how to “target” the impact these beliefs have had and continue to have in your life.  We will work together to identify these questions, the core beliefs, the “stuck points”, the associated feelings, behaviors and how your body is showing that.  After this, I will be there, every step of the way to guide you in the desensitization and reprocessing aspect.  After one “target” is cleared, we will decide together if there is more to work on, and how to approach it, if necessary.

TRAUMA & STRESS RESPONSES SPECIALIZATION

EMDR has also been proven effective for the treatment of the following which are other areas I specialize in treating:

  • Recent episodes of stress or trauma- Acute stress related disorders. This refers to the emotional consequences of a recent event, from day one to years after the incident.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder- even if this has not been formally diagnosed,
  • Phobias or extreme avoidance of a specific(s) stimuli- this includes avoidance of an object, activity, or internal feeling caused by the stimuli. For example, avoidance of the extreme anxiety the causes to go to work or engage in studying for a very important licensing test can be treated.
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorders that are accompanied by thought ruminations, fixations, and severe body reactions even when you know rationally that “there are no reasons to be anxious”.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive personality traits, or OCD- need to be in charge and the possibility of not having “control” over all of the possibilities impact your ability to engage or disengage from the rumination and therefore it keeps you acting in certain ways (e.g. inability to “let go” of memories or thoughts, inability to delegate, or let others do the work for you, discomfort if you do not know ALL of the information, uneasiness just by the thought of “letting things happen”.
  • Unhealthy habits or addictive behaviors tendencies- some examples of this are the procrastination habit, using work, exercising or deprivation patterns to self sooth, and other addictive patterns (e.g. gambling, sex, shopping, alcohol and other substances)

I also have special training and use different EMDR protocols based on your specific need.  Some examples of these are:

  • Recent Traumatic Episode Protocol (RTEP)
  • Avoidance, Feeling State and Urge/Cravings Protocol for Unhealthy Habits
  • Ego State Protocols for Identity and Self Awareness
  • EMDR Flash Technique and Reverse Flash Technique- to work on the discomfort using a positive focus.

Frequency and length of sessions depend on your needs and specific goals:

  • Weekly sessions for 45-60 minutes
  • Intensive sessions (60 min +)
  • Intensive retreats (several days in a row or several times per week)
  • Short term to work on a very specific goal (e.g. fear of driving or flying, test anxiety)

SUPPORT TO “SUPPORTERS” AND HELPING THE HELPERS SPECIALIZATION

As part of my commitment to support those who spend their lives helping others, I started providing services to other clinicians in my community.  These clinicians often felt isolated in their feelings and unable to find resources in which their privacy would not be a challenge.   After a while, I became the resource to many therapists, teachers, nurses, doctors, and first responders.  The work we do is mostly focused on identifying how what you “do” might have impacted your sense of self, your relationships and your overall health.  Then, we work specifically into working on coping with the stress and anxiety of such intense experiences, how to repair what was hurt, and look forward to a healthier, purposeful future.

As part of this work with helpers, I realized that there was much that could be done before the pain and suffering would get to this point. I have been working directly with students currently in medical school, nursing school and Graduate School of Sciences, Psychology, Counseling, and others.  Knowing the ins and outs of these professional paths and how intense the life can be clarified why many of these professionals start their career journey feeling chronic exhaustion and a sense of never being good enough.  I help my clients understand the journey of being students, what it means to become a “helper”, prepare them emotionally for very important exams, and help them create a plan to succeed.

No matter what stage in your professional path you are, it is never too soon or too late.  I will meet you where you are and find the resources to support you in the journey of reconnecting with yourself and that purpose that might have been lost or misplaced.

Contact Today



205 S. Hoover Blvd. Ste 202
Tampa, FL 33609

admin@wellnesspsychservices.com
(813) 563-1155

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