ABOUT DR. BIRA
I am a clinical health psychologist functioning as a therapist, speaker, consultant and coach. I serve as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio and run a partial telehealth private practice by The Pearl. I received my Ph.D. from University of Miami and completed residency at the Boston Consortium (Harvard Medical School, Boston University School of Medicine, VA Hospital) before completing an additional 2 year fellowship in trauma psychology. I've been featured by TEDx, Women's Health Magazine, Texas Public Radio, Science Magazine, Nature Biotech, and more for my work (see Media).
Through my work and presence in all contexts, I am dedicated to reducing stigma related to mental health while helping others lead more fulfilling lives. I do this through working with individuals one-on-one, speaking to groups, and leading workshops. I value transparency, integrity, and compassion in all that I do and have established my practice with these values in mind.
In therapy, I primarily use a cognitive-behavioral (CBT) orientation, which is the gold-standard of therapy and is highly effective for many issues. CBT trains the brain and body to interact better and respond more appropriately to the environment. I work in collaboration with my clients to reduce symptoms as quickly as possible while teaching skills that will maintain good functioning over time. By using research-driven treatments flexibly and incorporating other approaches, I provide care that is tailored to the unique needs of each client. In coaching, I help generally healthy individuals make healthier adjustments by teaching skills & providing guidance to help them tackle problems quickly. For both therapy and coaching, I deliver services mostly via video for the convenience of my busy clients, and do offer in-office sessions 1 week per month in San Antonio. MINDFULNESS: Check out my community interest group focused on using mindfulness to identify values and shift perspectives for a healthier, happier life (mindfulness audios available here).
In my adjunct faculty role as a clinical research psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry at UT Health San Antonio, I have worked for STRONG STAR, the world's largest research consortium for the detection, prevention and treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to military combat trauma. I have been involved in evaluating and treating patients, training residents and fellows, and working in collaboration with Drs. Patricia Resick (CPT) and Edna Foa (PE), and continue to contribute to training and wellness programming as well as research in collaboration with faculty in multiple departments.
I actively use social media as a platform to disseminate important information, motivate others, and align with other professionals. I believe that the field of mental health can and should evolve along with advances in social technology; in doing so, we can maximize the impact of our research and clinical work and allow for more accessibility in our initiatives.