This presentation aims to explore the challenges and skills for counseling diverse clients, and proposes that the Trinitarian God is inspiration, source, and goal for unity in diversity. Counselors need to learn how to understand and accept clients’ diversity in order to establish therapeutic relationships. Thus, counselors are challenged to develop skills such as self-awareness, knowledge, and empathy, aiming to connect with clients and seek unity. Catholic counselors should search for unity in diversity by considering the Trinity as inspiration, source, and goal for acceptance, forgiveness, and communion. The path to unity with God is built through the development of a personal relationship with God that goes from acquaint to follower, to servant, to friend, and to beloved. By seeking unity with God, counselors will find the tools, especially acceptance and forgiveness, to support and enhance the therapeutic relationship and foster healing in the counseling process.
3 Objectives to be Learned During this Presentation.
1. Learn the specific counseling skills necessary for working with diverse clients.
2. Explore unity from the perspective of the Trinity as a model of community of love.
3. Acquire tools for developing unity within diversity from a Catholic counseling perspective.
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Dr. Cristina Lima has more than 20 years of counseling experience, working with a variety of clients in individual, couples, families, and group counseling, addressing a number of issues including relationships and several mental health problems. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Marriage and Family Therapist in Texas, and a Mental Health Counselor in Florida. She is also certified in Neurofeedback. She runs a private practice in Sugar Land, TX.
She holds a PhD in Counseling and Counselor Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the East Tennessee State University. She is originally from Brazil, where she is a Psychologist, specialized in Health Psychology and in Clinical Psychology, and she provides counseling in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Additionally, she is currently a student in the master’s program in Theology at the Franciscan University of Stubenville and she is the author of the book “Entering into Friendship with God: an eight-week journey of personal prayer with the Word of God.” She is an active member of St Laurence Parish in Sugar Land.
Dr. Bia Lima specializes in child, adolescent, individual, and family therapy. She has a Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; a Masters in Psychology, Development, and Education from Universidad de Cádiz, Spain; and a Specialist Degree in Clinical Psychology from Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. Besides having many years in private practice, Dr. Bia has also worked as a counselor in other settings such as schools, hospital, child protective services, women’s center, non-profit organizations, and as adjunct professor. Such a broad range of experience has allowed Dr. Bia not only to grow professionally, but also to reaffirm her passion for working in the clinical counseling field and helping others.
Dr. Lima has conducted several research studies in the psychology/counseling field, some of which she presented at national and international conferences. She is the author of a published article and has been invited to speak in various settings in Brazil, Spain, and in the USA. Dr. Lima is also very engaged in her local church and community.
Dr. Bia Lima currently lives in Florida and works in private practice with family, individuals, children, and teenagers. She has clients in Florida (in-person therapy) and in Texas (through teletherapy). She also teaches at Houston Graduate School of Theology as an Adjunct Professor in their Master’s program in Counseling. She is fluent in three languages and can offer therapy in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.