We had the good fortune of connecting with Tania Vargas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tania, how does your business help the community?
One of the first reasons I got into social work was the desire to help others. Through my education and work experience, I have seen first hand and learned all about the injustices and inequities in the United States and around the world. My move into private practice focused on the disparity of qualified therapists of color for low income and the BIPOC community. It is important to have representation and for people who are seeking mental health services to have providers who look like them and speak their language. I, and many other therapists of color, are working towards the de-stigmatization of seeking mental health services along with ensuring proper representation. Many people, especially men, have repressed and ignored their feelings because it is the cultural thing to do. Being able to speak about and heal from past trauma and current life events is a huge stepping stone that should not be ignored. When people have appropriate coping skills, and understand how their past impacts their current view of the world, they are better able to navigate those larger “bumps in the road” along with appropriately providing support to those within their community. It also allows them to speak first hand about their experiences which plays into helping these communities de-stigmatize mental health. I am hoping that I can contribute to a world where anyone can seek mental health services and not be worried about costs, representation, stigmatization, and the quality of a therapist.
What should our readers know about your business?
Just like most other people, starting my own practice was not as easy as I thought it would be but I am so glad I started this journey. It took a lot of research, and some trial and error to get to this point but I understand my privilege in having people who were willing to help me navigate starting your own business and everything that comes with it. It takes a lot to ask for help, but I most likely would have made some major mistakes had I not asked numerous people for help or their opinions. Although my practice is just over a year old, I feel so connected to the people I am working with and proud of all of the steps they have taken. While I work with a variety of different people and needs, I specialize in working with people who have been impacted by the foster care and adoption system. Our identity plans such a major role in how we see ourselves and how we interact with others, so when someone is questioning their identity it can really affect other aspects of their lives. I love being part of someone’s journey in connecting with who they are and how they want the world to see them.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
In my opinion, New York City is one of the best if not the best city in the world. There is such a cultural melting pot of people, things to do and see, and all the food you can eat. People really love the staples of New York like Times Square and the statue of Liberty but it’s all of the smaller things that make New York so special. My favorite part of New York is Governor’s Island. You pay for a $2 ferry and can spend all day exploring this island. It used to be open only during the summer season but they recently allowed it to be open year round which is a huge game changer. They are constantly updating and renovating different parts of the island so there is always something new to view, or eat! Along with Governor’s Island, I always recommend people just sit in a fairly crowded area and just watch everyone around them. People’s clothing, their pets, or what they’re doing can vary greatly and it is just a great reminder of how special this city is. Some of the best places to observe people are Washington Square Park or Union Square. If you go during the weekends/Friday afternoon, you will most likely stumble upon the Union Square farmer’s market which is always a treat. It’s a great way to see some of the local businesses in the city, along with getting some tasty treats, or fresh produce! There is someone for everyone in the city.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I could probably write a book about all of the people who have supported, encouraged, and pushed me to branch out and take this leap of continuing my education and subsequently opening my own practice. My family and my husband are always the first people who come to mind. Their support has always been unwavering and it has only given me more confidence in how I interact and navigate my life. Erica Sandoval with Sandoval CoLab has also been an amazing mentor and truly opened so many doors for me. She has introduced me to so many other phenomenal social workers of color, and ensured that I could write my story in our Latinx in Social Work book. All of the authors have created such a community of support and encouragement and I would not be part of it without her. She is a huge blessing in my life.