Osiris Ordaz
Bilingual Behavioral Health Therapist, Promise Community Health Center, Sioux Center, Iowa
Osiris Ordaz

Combining passions

After completing her graduate studies in counseling–art therapy at Adler University in Chicago, Osiris returned to northwest Iowa to serve as a licensed mental health counselor with a local health center. In bringing her passion for art to the therapy setting, Osiris is able to connect with patients from diverse backgrounds, providing holistic care that transcends language and gives shape to difficult emotions.

How well did Northwestern prepare you for graduate school?
Academically, I felt beyond prepared for my role as a student at Adler. I was fortunate to be immersed in academia at Northwestern, learning valuable content that other undergraduate programs don’t offer. Being able to present my undergraduate research at an Association for Psychological Science conference was tremendously valuable to me. As an artist, I was taught to connect myself to my artwork and be vulnerable with what I create. Northwestern’s community not only helped me grow academically, but also prepared me for life after college. Because of the people I was surrounded by and the conversations I had on campus, I can speak confidently to others about topics that are difficult, but necessary, to discuss.

How was your faith impacted while you were at Northwestern?
I grew spiritually through conversations with classmates and friends who held different viewpoints than me, and by intentionally seeking relationships where we sought to help each other grow. Northwestern professors taught me that growth comes from asking questions and not necessarily arriving at an answer. Dr. Edman’s Faith and Psychology class particularly aided in this teaching when it felt like every question led to more questions. Both my art and psychology classes showcased the need to love our neighbors through our highs, struggles and growing pains.

What is your philosophy for therapeutic care?
My goal is to be a mirror for my patients so they might recognize their ability to form meaningful relationships, engage a spectrum of emotions, and develop bountiful skills with which they can persevere through suffering. We are the experts of our own lives and can problem solve in amazing ways. My job is to cater to each patient’s specific needs and provide them with the most holistic care possible.

Describe how you have used art therapy within your practice.
I love how much Promise Community Health Center supports my use of art therapy alongside “traditional” talk therapy sessions. One of the first sessions I held in Spanish was extremely difficult because the patients spoke a Guatemalan language and their understanding of Spanish was limited. Art transcends language, so I was able to utilize art therapy to bridge the gap in our communication. It’s incredible to see patients work through their thoughts and feelings outside of themselves in a creative way.