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Featured Therapist Interview
My name is Camilo Ortiz and I am an Associate Professor of psychology and director of clinical training in the doctoral psychology program at LIU-Post in Nassau County, NY, which is on Long Island, just outside of New York City. I immigrated from Colombia as a child, growing up in Queens, NY. I attended Cornell University and received a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, under the direction of my mentor, David Arnold. I did my internship at Montefiore Medical Center, learning from Alec Miller and Lata McGinn, and have been a professor since 2001.
I am the director and owner of a private practice near campus, where we see children and adults. We specialize in parenting, disruptive behavior, and anxiety in children and in anxiety, OCD, and depression in adults. We are also known for being one of the few practices in the country to specialize in elimination disorders in children (encopresis and enuresis). We offer in person and telehealth sessions. We also pride ourselves for conducting vigorous forms of exposure therapy to really test clients’ fears in creative and fun ways. For more information, see my Practice Website: http://drcamiloortiz.com/
What are your personal strengths as a practitioner?
I was lucky enough to be trained by some of the best psychologists on the planet, including Lata McGinn, Alec Miller, and Susan O’Leary. I am practical and my goal is for my clients to leave every session with a plan for the week. I heavily emphasize practicing skills between sessions. I am exceedingly nonjudgmental in the therapy room. As I tell my doctoral students, no matter how confusing a client’s behavior may be, there is always a perfectly logical reason for it. Our job is to figure that out and collaboratively help the client decide whether that behavior serves their goals and values.
What “tips” can you offer to colleagues just opening a practice?
Get really good at one thing, so you become the go-to person for that issue. My expertise in elimination disorders leads to many referrals for other things so you don’t need to worry about pigeon-holing yourself.
How do you remind your patients of their strengths during the therapy process?
I think going to therapy is about the bravest thing a person can do and I let them know that constantly. I am in awe of my patients!
Are you involved in other types of professional activities in addition to your private practice?
Professor and lots of involvement with my professional home, ABCT.
We would also like to know a little about you personally.
Who was your mentor?
David Arnold, who was trained by Susan O’Leary at Stony Brook
When not practicing CBT, what do you do for fun?
I am a huge sports fan, love electric cars, and love to try new bourbons
We are also interested in some of your views of CBT.
What do you think is the single most important thing CBT can do for your clients?
Teach them that they have more agency than they believe, to create the life that they want.
Where do you see the field of the behavioral therapies going over the next 3-5 years?
I hope we get back to scientific principles to understand transtheoretical principles of good therapy. I am a huge fan of Marvin Goldfried, who while being a CBT pioneer, also understands that no theoretical orientation “owns” what it means to be a great therapist.
How do you use the local or social media to educate your community on the benefits of CBT?
I have appeared in the national press a number of times and most recently have become involved with an organization called Dad Saves America. Look them up on YouTube, including a video by me describing CBT to an audience of dads who want to be more involved with raising their kids. My twitter is @DrCamiloOrtiz
Finally, we would like to know your opinions about ABCT.
How long have you been a member of ABCT?
It sounds crazy coming out of my mouth, but 28 years!
How has ABCT helped you professionally?
I have met so many informal mentors, who have modelled for me what being a scientist and a scientific thinker really means. Over my career, people have been so gracious with their time, often not knowing anything about me. We are lucky to be in this field, where people trust us to help them, and it often feels like we are a family. ABCT has been at the center of that.
What services do you consider the most valuable from ABCT?
The journals that ABCT publishes, which include some of the most advanced science in our field.