Sabiduría Latina/o Psychology Emphasis

“Sabiduría” in Spanish means wisdom, knowledge, learning and understanding, not only of oneself but also of others. It means using knowledge and understanding to attain balance, health, wellness, to reach goals and help others to do the same. Sabiduría states that the healing and spiritual development are interconnected, that people can live life with meaning and purpose, that illness offers an opening for integration and personal growth and that life setbacks are opportunities for growth and self-improvement." (Ruiz, 1997, Comas-Diaz, 2010).

General Overview

Sabiduría, the Latina/o Psychology Emphasis allows students from the three School of Graduate Psychology programs to gain competencies in Latina/o psychology and culturally informed work that can be adapted or translated and applied to other multicultural groups. The emphasis is ideal for students with different levels of Spanish proficiency who want to be trained in Latina/o culture and/or multicultural areas. The emphasis provides students opportunity to focus their training on culturally informed services with Latina/os and individuals from other diverse cultural backgrounds; while at the same time working on improving their Spanish proficiency. It is not required, but desired, that students have Spanish language skills.

The emphasis provides students with classes, clinical practicum, community service and research experiences that focus on working with Latina/os and/or Spanish-speaking individuals. Outreach, health and wellness, and community psychology components and services are integrated throughout the emphasis requirements.

For the PsyD program, students can choose the emphasis in combination with their track of choice (e.g., health with the Latina/o psychology emphasis). For the Applied Psychological Science program, students can choose the emphasis in combination with their specialty (e.g., clinical psychology with a Latina/o psychology emphasis). PhD program students can pursue the Latina/o Psychology emphasis to supplement their academic, clinical, and research training.

Benefits of Joining Sabiduría Latina/o Psychology Emphasis

Sabiduría provides students with specialized training to work with Latina/os and individuals from other diverse backgrounds in the most culturally sensitive manner. Our training includes courses in culturally and linguistically focused assessment and treatment, clinical supervision in Spanish, Latina/o and bilingually focused clinical training placements, multiple community outreach opportunities, cultural and international experiences, and Spanish language supports. Sabiduría creates a cohesive and supportive learning community that provides students with an opportunity for faculty mentorship, close peer relationships, and lifelong professional connections. Our emphasis is community focused; we have an extensive community network that supports practicum experiences and professional or personal opportunities beyond our academic program. Our students receive the satisfaction of developing and delivering high-quality services to underserved and underrepresented communities while enhancing their opportunities to secure internships and gainful employment as culturally informed psychologists.


Course Requirements (4 credits total)

  1. Depending on a student’s Spanish language skills, the student can either take the Basic Clinical Skills Bilingual Lab (equivalent to 1-credit course for students who have Spanish skills at the intermediate-mid level or intermediate-high level) or the Basics of Mental Health Spanish II (equivalent to 1-credit course for students who have Spanish skills at the intermediate-low or low level). Either course is required in first year.
  2. Depending on a student’s Spanish language skills, the student can either take the Treatment Planning and Intervention Bilingual Lab (equivalent to 1-credit course for students who have Spanish skills at the intermediate-mid level or intermediate-high level) or the Basics of Mental Health Spanish II (equivalent to 1-credit course for students who have Spanish skills at the intermediate-low or low level). Either course is required in the first year.
  3. Sociocultural Foundations of Latina/o Mental Health (3 credits)
  4. Participation in one Latino Cultural Experience, Immersion, or International Study (1 credit – recommended in summer prior to the second year of graduate study).

Recommended courses

  1. Intermediate to Advanced Spanish Language Courses (when needed and available), recommended during the third and/or fourth year.
  2. Multicultural Assessment or Psychological Assessment with Latinos (3 credits)
  3. Clinical Interventions with Latina/os  (3 credits)

Clinical Requirements

For doctoral students and APS students in the clinical psychology specialty, their first clinical experience (Practicum I at the Pacific Psychology and Comprehensive Health Clinics for doctoral students) must include work with Latina/os and/or Spanish speaking populations, participating in the Interprofessional Diabetes Clinic (IDC), and performing outreach activities with the Latina/o community. Additionally, for doctoral students, at least one of the community-based clinical training experiences (either Practicum II or Clinical Fieldwork) must be focused on Latina/o populations as combined with other interests or track. Only students who want to work with Spanish-speaking clients must be tested on the OPI and the LPT of the ACTFL tests and score at the Intermediate-high level before Practicum I (or before internship for APS students).  Students working with the Latina/o community either at PCH Clinics or in the community participate in a monthly cultural and linguistic consultation group provided by one of the PCH Clinics.


For doctoral students and APS students in the research specialty, their dissertation or thesis must be completed within an area of Latina/o mental health, in accordance with track or program research requirements. Students conducting research with the Latina/o community must participate in at least one cultural research consultation meeting during each stage of the research process (i.e., topic/research question development, measure selection data collection, data analysis, etc.).


Every year, students must engage in at least two community outreach activities, (other than the PCH outreach mentioned above) for the duration of their academic program. While doctoral degree students are completing their doctoral internship, they are exempt from this requirement. Outreach activities are also part of the Sabi


Faculty and mentors in the Sabiduría Latina/o Psychology Emphasis include a mix of core and part-time faculty in addition to community psychologists who provide teaching, supervision, and research mentoring to emphasis students. Faculty areas of specialization include mental health evaluation; neuropsychological assessment; individual, child, family, group, and couples' psychotherapy; integrated health care; treatment of anxiety, depression and trauma, eating disorders, and obesity; parent-child relations; child and adolescent behavior problems; cross-cultural interventions, mindfulness and cultural adaptations; stress management, mind-body integrated treatments; community psychology and wellness practices.

Core and affiliate faculty

Ruth Zúñiga, PhD - Emphasis Director

Shahana Koslofsky, PhD - Associate Director

Leonardo Bobadilla, PhD - Affiliate Faculty

Allison Brandt, PhD - Affiliate Faculty

Katherine Elder, PhD - Affiliate Faculty

Michael Christopher, PhD - Affiliate Faculty

Anne Willis, PsyD - Affiliate Faculty

Daisy Bueno, PhD - Sabiduria Postdoctoral Resident at Pacific Psychology and Comprehensive Clinic

Example of Practicum Placements

  • Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center
  • Forest Grove School District
  • Laurie Renteria, Neuropsychologist
  • Willamette Family Medicine
  • Western Conexiones

Admission & Selection

Application to the Sabiduría Latinx Psychology Emphasis occurs after students are selected into their respective School of Graduate Psychology (usually during the summer before their first year). Students are identified on the basis of academic strength and fit with the emphasis based on the admission selection process. If space is open, a second wave of admissions and selection for students who are already part of the School of Graduate Psychology will occur at the end of each fall semester.

Students interested in the emphasis must send the application and a letter of interest to the Sabiduría director before the Sabiduría admissions deadline (end of summer and fall). Students will receive an email with the application requirements, and the deadline.

For more information about Sabiduría contact Dr. Ruth Zúñiga.

Contact Us

Ruth Zúñiga, PhD | Director & Core Faculty of Sabiduría: Latina/o Psychology Emphasis
503-352-3615 | | HPC 2 Room 292


Ruth Zúñiga

Pacific University Professor Ruth Zúñiga, the director of Pacific’s Sabiduría: Latina/o Psychology Emphasis, was awarded a pair of grants to support the outreach work she and her students conduct in the LatinX community.

Dr Bueno

Students from the School of Graduate Psychology's Sabiduría Latina/o Psychology Emphasis released issue one of the Sabiduría Newsletter, Saber Es Poder (Knowledge is Power). The inspiration for this newsletter stems from the social justice movements happening across the country. As Sabiduría students we make outreach a pillar of our training, and we recognize that we do not always do a great job of including other students and faculty members in our efforts. The purpose of this newsletter is to increase communication, continue the conversation for racial equality, showcase Sabiduría’s community work, and inspire others to get involved.

Ruth Zúñiga

On Facebook, Spanish-language viewers anywhere in the world can join sessions of Charlas Comunitarias to learn about emotional health and resources. The program is led partly by  Ruth Zúñiga, an associate professor in School of Graduate Psychology at Pacific University and director of the university’s Sabiduría Latina/o psychology emphasis.