Member of the Month: Paulina Leon


Graduate Program:
UBC Counselling Psychology M.E.d
Pronouns: She/her/hers

What drew you to studying counselling psychology?

I love psychology and I love counselling! Helping people heal or thrive is a great honour, and a passion of mine.

I am from Mexico, where I did my undergrad in psychology and a masters in counselling. I moved to Vancouver in 2019 and  wanted to make sure I was well prepared to work in the field here in Canada.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

In Mexico, I worked for 5 years in a university community centre. It was a fulfilling experience because I got to supervise undergrad students practicum and be part of their academic journey and personal growth; I also was able to help vulnerable people by providing low-cost counselling and workshops.

More recently, well, I am about to finish my first year of the MEd in Counselling Psychology at UBC. New program, new university, new country, new language; all of this over zoom during a pandemic. What a mix, eh?

What’s a moment from your time at UBC that you think you’ll be talking about for years?

I think an important moment for me was when I finally met my CNPS 578 classmates in person. The nine of us were very excited about finally get to see and talk to each other. We met on a park on Halloween day 2020. Cold weather but heartwarming.

As you look ahead, what are your career goals?

At this moment, I am exploring different options to work in Vancouver and I am open to opportunities. I am particularly interested in social justice and human rights, and I would enjoy working in a community based setting that serves women or immigrants. I also want to continue studying to keep learning and improving my counselling and research skills.

Who are your therapist heroes? Who inspires you?  

To be honest, I am a fan of Freud and I have all his books (lol). This is because in Mexico psychoanalysis is very popular and some of the best instructors I had during my studies in Mexico were either psychoanalysts or psychodynamic oriented therapists. I tried psychoanalysis myself and it was an interesting experience.

I am currently more interested in other counselling theories and interventions, but I think I will always have a sweet spot for Freud and his legacy.

That being said, I think the real heroes and inspiration are the great professors, instructors and classmates I have been so fortunate to share classes and spend time with.

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