Dr. Aaron Aviera, director of the Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) West Los Angeles Community Counseling Center and formerly director of clinical training for the doctor of psychology program for five years, says that, "As a values-centered institution, Pepperdine has a sincere commitment to serving the needs of others." One way Aviera fulfills this commitment is in his role as director of the Pepperdine Counseling Center at the Jerry Butler Union Rescue Mission, which provides recovery services for Los Angeles' homeless.
Aviera has worked extensively with the Latino population, and often conducts therapy sessions in Spanish as well as English. In fact, he previously worked at Metropolitan State Hospital with persistently mentally ill Latino clients, and has established culturally-sensitive interventions such as using "dichos" (sayings) and "proverbios" (proverbs) as therapeutic tools for Spanish-speakers.
Aviera most enjoys teaching and working with his students simultaneously. "It is exciting," he says. "There is a synergy that happens when you are in the classroom providing background education while also working on the ground with your students to make a tangible difference."