Elizabeth Sánchez Arvizu, M.A.

I am the daughter of two Mexican immigrants. In a few months, I will be receiving my doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology.

I made a point of traveling to as many places as I could to learn as much as I could. My education journey took me from a town in the middle of nowhere Mexico -> town in the middle of nowhere in California -> UC Merced -> Rome, Italy -> UCM -> Hong Kong University ->Alliant International Univerisity, San Diego.

I learned about many different cultures in my travels which helped me to understand how culture impacts us, our mental health, and our everyday life.

I have worked in a variety of settings and ages. I love working with children/adolescents. I consider myself to be an all-inclusive therapist with a passion for using pop culture in the session. I want to create a safe space for everyone including immigrants, geeks, LGBTQ+, and marginalized communities.


I believe that if used carefully the media and social media by extension can be a great medium to help us with our mental health. I created @psych4geeks (and this website) to build a community of geeks and therapists working together to improve our mental health.


Clinical Experience

  • Practiced in schools, community agencies, Crisis Center, Hospital (inpatient and outpatient), and an integrative clinic.

  • Lead groups for children, adolescents, and adults, in addition to individual therapy.

  • Therapy style depends on the client's needs.

  • I am well versed in ACT, CBT, DBT, Mindfulness, Play Therapy, and Geek Therapy.

  • Collaborated with physicians, social workers, MFT's, Psychiatrists, administrative staff, and nurses.

  • I have provided services in Spanish and English.

Mission

  • Create a safe space for everyone, including geeks, nerds, misfits, and immigrants.

  • Reduce stigma for

    • mental health

    • geek community

  • Educate

    • mental health providers on the geek community and how to use geek topics in therapy

    • everyone on the importance of mental health

Partner in Crime

  • Adopted from ASPCA shelter

  • Canelo means cinnamon- the color of his fur

  • Playful doggo who loves walks, ropes, and squeaky toys

  • Registered Emotional Support Animal

  • Model for @psych4geeks for treats

  • Loves going on car rides and adventures

  • Will love anybody (as long as they have food)


*fantastic painting made by Kindred Soul Art

My Fandoms

I will eventually write about/post how to use my favorite fandoms in therapy or discuss the mental health themes found in the movies/episodes.

Doctor Who

Harry Potter

Brooklyn 99

Studio Ghibli

Disney/Pixar

How to Train Your Dragon

Marvel

DC

Naruto/Boruto

History's Vikings

Avatar the Last Airbender

Jumanji

Dungeons and Dragons

Star Wars

The Untamed

Merlin

Anime/Manga

Cartoons

And bunch more

What Psychology for Geeks means to me...

I believe it's important to address a person's culture in therapy, which includes geek culture. Whenever I make a reference to a movie or show in therapy, I noticed an increase in the client's interest and enjoyment.

Therapy can be a difficult process because we are discussing painful experiences, that we may have been avoiding for years.

There is no reason why therapy needs to be boring. When a therapist incorporates what the client is passionate about in the therapy session the client feels more comfortable, interested, and willing to actively participate in the session.

Geek culture is part of my identity. Immersing myself in the world of fiction allowed me to bond with my brothers, make new friends, and overcome challenges. In many ways, it made my life exciting and fun. I want to share that with others through this website and my social media.

My Mental Health Journey

Growing up I never really thought about emotions other than fear and happiness. All I knew was that I needed to do well in school because that was necessary for the kind of future my parents wanted for me.


When I received a letter of acceptance, to the only graduate school program that I applied to, I was ecstatic. I needed to drive down to San Diego (a 5-hour drive) for an interview. At the time I had no reliable transportation, other than my parent's SUV that sometimes worked and I’ve only driven a handful of times. All my plans fell through and I ended up taking my younger brother (for support, as he didn’t know how to drive) and making the drive down to San Diego for the first time. Spoiler alert, it all went well and I am a few months away from graduating with my Ph.D.


I clearly remember my father telling me that I was brave for doing that. Was I? I didn’t feel brave. I just knew that it was something I had to do. Looking back now, I realize my achievements centered on two thoughts: “It’s not enough” and “I have to do it.” The cost of my achievements on my mental health was never taken into consideration, I didn’t even know that was a thing.


After I began to learn more about psychology and culture, I realized so many things that were not good. I grew up with anxiety, which I never even realized. It accumulated to such a level that I was returning home from school/practicum with zero energy and all I wanted to do was curl up on my bed and live there for the rest of my life.


I hated feeling like that, so then I got in contact with the university’s mental health department and booked my first therapy session. Here is what I learned in therapy…


  • I am an anxious person.

    • At the time I had practically zero coping skills.

  • I had wildly unrealistic expectations of myself.

  • My culture had a huge impact on my way of thinking.

  • I had no boundaries with my parents or siblings.

  • Graduate school is hard and I don’t have to be above average on everything as the program expects.

  • I have been waiting for “the right time” to do so many things.


It’s been about five years since my first therapy session and I am still learning. One thing that was very clear to me was that I was no longer going to wait. It doesn’t matter how long it takes me to accomplish something, I want to live a life I can be proud of. Saying things like “I’m broke, so I can’t” or “once everyone wants to go” or “when I have a good job” can no longer hold me back.


Sure, I can’t do the 2-week European trip I really want to, but I can picnic in the mountains, take my dog to the beach, try new food, practice self-compassion, take time off, reach out for help when I need it, and keep trying.


I have good days and I have days when my anxiety tries to paralyze me and wants to tell me all kinds of unrealistic lies. Since my first therapy session, I have learned much more about myself, my triggers, my anxiety, my relationships, my habits, etc. I have learned through trial and error. I learned from my classes, practicums, and my clients.


My relationships with friends and family have steadily changed for the better. I am more comfortable with myself than I have ever been. I am not where I want to be (yet), but I am making progress every day.


Thanks to @em.j.art for creating this digital version of myself.

You can find me on Instagram, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, TikTok, YouTube, and Facebook @superpwrtoolkit.