Madison 365 highlights ‘Esperanza’ bilingual psychological services certificate program

A new bilingual psychological services certificate program in the School of Education’s Department of Counseling Psychology was spotlighted by Madison 365 in an article that is headlined, “Centro Hispano’s Esperanza program brings holistic framework to mental health.”

The program, entitled Esperanza, or “hope,” is funded the Wisconsin Partnership Program and was developed in collaboration with Centro Hispano. Open to graduate students in a variety of psychological disciplines, it aims to increase the number of bicultural and bilingual mental health providers in the Madison area and beyond.

Photo of Alyssa Ramirez Stege
Alyssa Ramírez Stege

UW–Madison’s Alyssa Ramírez Stege, a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Counseling Psychology, told Madison 365 that hope is the center of Esperanza’s mission. Stege serves as the bridge between the university and Centro, the article explains, “ensuring that there is synergy between the community and the university’s differing needs and expertise.”

“I think that part of the intentionality around how we’re building this partnership, and building the work that we do is by naming our framework and shaping ourselves,” Stege said. “It’s like, how are we centering the type of work that we want to be doing? [We have to center] healing processes.”

“That’s probably one of the major things that we do at the beginning, is knowing that despite all of the suffering that we can go through, there is hope that change can happen, and hope for healing, and hope for things to get better,” Stege added.

Stege notes that interdisciplinarity is among the program’s greatest strengths, “that continued collaboration and partnership, growing at the speed of trust,” she said. “That’s so important to how we’re collaborating and how we’re being able to be intentional, is doing it as we grow in our own trust in ourselves and other people.”

Stege also highlighted the symbiotic nature of the program’s benefits. “I think we often think about community-university partnerships as the community [being] the one who is benefiting from that,” she said. “But we often don’t see the other side of how having supporting and affirming community-engaged partnerships on the university side also changes our culture there.”

“There’s so many things that are different for the training of our students that impacts their development as professionals and as students in their training. They’re being trained in these radical healing frameworks, but they’re also being trained half in Centro on how to do practical skills that other students don’t necessarily have the scaffolding or connection to do,” she added.

Learn more about Counseling Psychology’s Esperanza certificate program by checking out the full article at

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