How I became a therapist
Some therapists remember that, from a very early age, other people somehow trusted them with their stories, asked them for advice, and sought them for comfort. It is as if they were naturally born to become therapists.
My experience was different. I have always been curious about what makes people who they are, about why people think, feel, or behave in the way they do. However, it took years of personal work and growth, to get to a place where I could start in this profession. In the meantime, I accumulated, processed, and went through life experiences that made me who I am today. Experiences of loss and separation, love and hate, harm and reparation, fear and hope, darkness and light, holding on and letting go.
Several years ago I decided to leave life as I knew it and move to the United States from Peru, where I grew up. I moved to attend graduate school and continue developing my career in the corporate world. Years later, I decided to start a new journey toward something I personally found more meaningful and rewarding. I decided to become a psychotherapist.
I do believe in change, in taking risks, and in personal growth. I believe that is what therapy is about. During our work together I will not ask you do something I have not done before, or wouldn't be willing to do. We will be in this together.
Who Do I Help?
I help adults who feel stuck, trapped, broken, or confused by their own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. I help individuals of diverse backgrounds, sexual identities and orientations, relationship lifestyles, and life stages.
I work with people seeking help because they are experiencing a wide range of issues, including shame, anxiety, depression, irritability, loneliness, self-doubt, trauma, social anxiety, relationship issues, lack of passion, creative blocks, grief, codependency, low self-esteem, and compulsive behaviors.
Part of my work is focused on out-of-control sexual behavior, sometimes called sex addiction. I do not believe there is one single path to recovery, and my job is to help you go beyond the behaviors to understand what might be going on underneath. I do that from a sex-positive stance, making no judgements about your behaviors, preferences, or kinks.
I find that most people I see have experienced some form of trauma. Trauma does not require a big event happening in our life, but it can develop from a childhood marked by neglect, rejection, or abuse. This includes the experience of not being "seen" or accepted by our parents, having to pay more attention to our parents' needs than to our own, or receiving the message that our feelings were invalid or unimportant. As a result, we learn to hide, deny, or disavow parts of ourselves: feelings, thoughts, wishes, longings, preferences, identities, etc. My job is to help you reconnect with the parts of yourself that you learned to hide, and find new ways of being and relating.
My approach to therapy
My approach varies depending on each specific person, because everyone is different, but I come from a psychodynamic understanding of human nature. That means that I believe we are complex creatures, with many feelings, thoughts, conflicts, and wishes we may not be aware of. This also means that I believe healing happens in the context of the relationship people develop with their psychotherapist.
We have multiple layers so I try not to reduce the people I see to a diagnosis or a "condition." I am less interested in assigning people a label, than in learning about their personal experience, about their pain, fear, joy, hope, longings, and dreams. Therapy is about you. It is probably one of the few places where you can be yourself, free from expectations put on you by others.
I do not think therapy is about "fixing" or about changing something defective. I think it is about gaining self-awareness, understanding, acceptance, love, and growth. It is about getting to know yourself better, so that you can feel compassion for the feelings and experiences that made you who you are.
It is about discovering, facing, and learning to love parts of us that might be difficult, painful, or scary. It is about taking personal responsibility without feeling shame.
Psychotherapy is a long term journey, not a sprint race. I strive to be non-judgmental and accepting of every single part of the people I work with, to really see them and value them for who they are. I welcome all the feelings and thoughts they bring. There is nothing that cannot be talked about.
- Licensed Clinical Social Worker (Illinois)
- Specialist in Problematic Sexual Behavior, by the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health
- Masters of Social Work (MSW) - Loyola University Chicago
- Masters of Business Administration (MBA) - University of Texas at Austin
- B.A. in Psychology - Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú
Additional Training and Affiliations
- Program in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis
- Psychoanalytic Fellowship Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis
- Gottman Method Couples Therapy, Level 1 and 2 The Gottman Institute
- Multiple trainings, workshops and institutes American Group Psychotherapy Association
- Multiple trainings and Board Member Illinois Group Psychotherapy Society
- Staff member at Breakthrough Weekends for Men Victories - Transforming the Lives of Men
- Delboy, S. (2016). Attachment and Recovery: Combining 12-Step Programs and Group Psychotherapy to Treat Addiction. In: Revitalizing Our Social Group Work Heritage: A Bridge to the Future. (Read it here)
- Delboy, S. (2015). Evidence-based practice for sex addiction: A clinical case illustration. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity. (Read it here)
- Korshak, S.J. & Delboy, S. (2013). Complementary modalities: Twelve step programs and group psychotherapy for addiction treatment. Group.