This month the NCAL Kaiser Mental Health Training Program has the honor of highlighting the dedication of Emilio Licea III, PsyD (he/him). Dr. Licea currently works as the Training Program Manager, as well as the Postdoctoral Training Director, Predoctoral Internship Training Director, and Consortium Director for Sacramento Valley. Licea states that, as a young Latino male, he was “limited by my imagination” when entering the mental health field due to having few professionals or role models in his life that had his background or “looked like me”. Envisioning a career that required a doctorate or master’s degree was initially difficult, and it wasn’t until his work with the Labor and Delivery, Obstetrics, and the Neonatal Intensive Care Units at Sutter that he began to open to his mind to the possibilities he could accomplish. He recalls that he was exposed to other Latino professionals, which allowed him to believe that he could complete an advanced degree. Dr. Licea’s early career has included work in college counseling, and he has enjoyed the mindset of growth within those institutions. His role as a training director has also aligned with his desire to help, guide, and support future professionals. He states, “my hope is that the next trainee of color who joins our training program feels that they belong because of the role I hold.”
Dr. Licea acknowledges that his favorite aspect of his work is the people around him, including the trainees, administration, and mental health professionals. The training program that he has helped create for the North Valley is an area of pride for Dr. Licea, and he and his team (including the amazing work of Dr. Jessica Liddell) have been responsible for a site known for excellent training opportunities. Dr. Licea expresses gratitude for his role in a leadership position, as well as feeling grateful for the positive work environment that has allowed him to grow the training program, as well as supporting his own professional growth. When asked what he wished he had known getting into the mental health field, he thoughtfully stated “I wish someone had told me that no theory can be applied to all patients. Early in my career I was far too CBT centric. In the wise words of Bessel Van der Kolk, ‘It is sad to think that the field of psychology has come to believe that CBT is the solution for everything’.”
In his time away from work, Dr. Licea enjoys spending time with his son and daughter, hiking, playing and coaching soccer, and has begun learning to play the guitar. We are grateful for his work with our North Valley trainees and the impact he is making on our profession. In Dr. Licea’s own wise words “I often tell my team that our training program has a direct impact on the future and direction of the North Valley because we are training future staff and leaders. I’m proud of our trainees and excited to see them grow into amazing professionals.”
Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to the program, Dr. Licea!