A Magazine for the George Mason University Community

Ricardo Sanchez, Counseling and Development

By Lindsay Bernhards, BA '18 on November 26, 2018

For Mason PhD student Ricardo Sanchez, international aid is part of the job. Since he joined Counselors Without Borders in 2013, Sanchez has been selected to travel to his native Peru, South Dakota, and Puerto Rico as a graduate counselor to assist with post-disaster emergency situations.

Ricardo Sanchez

Counselors Without Borders is an international network of counselors and psychologists committed to providing and collaborating with existing mental health professionals in affected areas to provide counseling to survivors who have little to no access to these services. Mason professors Fred Bemak and Rita Ching-Ying Chung of the College of Education and Human Development founded the organization in 2008.

As a cross-cultural counselor, Sanchez helps provide culturally sensitive counseling that is unique to each survivor’s needs. After Hurricane Maria in 2017, Sanchez traveled to Barrio Bucarabones in Maricao, Puerto Rico, to help survivors process the aftermath of the disaster.

“The people in this community faced significant difficulties receiving assistance and support in the aftermath of the hurricane,” says Sanchez. “Although most Puerto Ricans had shown incredible resilience, many hadn’t had space or the time to grieve their losses.”

Sanchez says he chose Mason for the university’s focus on preparing graduates for advancing well-being in surrounding communities and the world. “My work with the organization has helped me practice the core of this work: flexibility, respect, and genuine care.”

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