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Paula is a licensed psychologist in Argentina, specializing in perinatal psychology. She’s currently living in Virginia, and heading back to Buenos Aires in September.
Spring Health has given Paula an opportunity to expand her reach by working with LATAM clients across the globe. Amy Cirbus, Head of Clinical Content at Spring Health, connected with Paula to talk about her love for the field, how she manages challenging situations, and what working with clients in multiple countries has taught her.
Amy: What brought you into the mental health field?
Paula: I have always been a good listener. I’m passionate about learning how we can act and react, and the impact that random situations can have in our lives. On top of that, I like making an impact in someone’s life by guiding them and being a support when they need it.
Amy: Perinatal Psychology is such an interesting specialization. How did you get into that area?
Paula: I started my career in 2002, supporting members of the military and their families by providing testing and treatment services. Then, I had a personal life event occur that exposed a huge hole in pregnancy and postpartum support.
I didn’t want deployed women and families to ever have to feel like they were dealing with pregnancy alone. So, I shifted my focus and became a Perinatal Psychologist.
I’ve been working in the NICU and OB/GYN for eight years now, providing mental health support for women through hospitalizations and experiences of grief, postpartum stress disorder, and depression.
Amy: What do you find most challenging about the work?
Paula: Every client and situation can be challenging, but for sure I would say that going into an operating room to support a woman giving birth to a stillborn baby or knowing that her baby is going to die soon is really hard.
But, when clients call me after a few years to tell me they’re ok and say thank you, it’s an endorphin injection.
Amy: It feels like the word “challenging” doesn’t quite describe it. How do you take care of your own mental health?
Paula: I attend therapy regularly and am active in a lot of sports. I enjoy spending time with my family, keeping in touch with friends, and traveling.
I also get excited about the work I’m able to do. I stay connected with colleagues, I consult regularly, and try to be as creative as I can.
Amy: You live and work in different countries and cultures. How has this influenced your work?
Paula: Living for a while in another country and having the chance to travel around the world inspired me to not take anything for granted. Every person has their own story and their own particular viewpoint.
I’ve learned and taken things with me. I’ve developed respect and curiosity for cultures other than my own. It’s deepened my empathy and ability to understand people through their own lens, within their own culture and personal experience.
Amy: What are you looking forward to in your career?
In my experience working in hospitals, I’ve seen that mental health is not always prioritized. I want to make an impact and change that.
Our emotional health needs to be valued equally to our physical health. I know I’m on the right path. I’m going to continue to be the best professional I can be, studying and working to develop programs for every pregnant woman.