Student Testimonials

Gabriel Somarriba, M.S.

The son of immigrant parents, doctoral student Gabriel Somarriba, M.S., welcomes the opportunity to use his training at the service of the Church. See more testimonials like Gabriel’s.


“I was born and raised in Washington, DC, in a Spanish-speaking home with my Nicaragua-born parents and two brothers. After graduating from St. Alban’s High School, I received my B.A. in International Studies at American University in 2003. I was an assistant manager at the Catholic Information Center prior to enrolling at IPS in 2008. In May 2010, I completed my M.S. in Clinical Psychology from IPS. During 2011-2012, I will be completing an externship at the HSC Pediatric Center in Washington, DC.

Why did you choose IPS to earn your advanced degree?

I chose to study at IPS to deal effectively with family and marital issues from a Catholic perspective, and I find there is considerable overlap between helping families and helping the Church.

I would welcome the opportunity to use my training at the service of the Church in candidate screening and marriage tribunals. And I’m confident that IPS and my externship experience will prepare me well to meet the psychological needs of families – whether children or adult – and I look forward to applying IPS’s integrated approach of serving the whole person to bring genuine healing to a world that needs it.

As I see it, the human need for healing is increasing in proportion to the breakdown of the family in the United States; considering the rising rates of divorce, domestic violence, and juvenile delinquency, good psychological counseling is becoming more and more essential for many Americans.

In the future, I would also like to assist with assessing candidates for the priesthood and religious life, as personality assessment is an area that fascinates me. This issue is more important than ever in the aftermath of the sex-abuse scandals that have hurt the Church in the United States.

What qualities of IPS do you appreciate the most?

I appreciate the close-knit Catholic community and small-sized classes. Class discussions are engaging and stimulating, perhaps because IPS has not succumbed to the politically correct agenda that has crippled honest debate on many university campuses.

Any advice you’d like to pass on to prospective students who are considering coming to IPS?

I would recommend to prospective students that they come for a visit and experience it firsthand! For those who plan to attend IPS, who haven’t studied psychology as an undergraduate, be prepared to catch up with good discipline and 200% effort. Also, it doesn’t hurt to brush up on your theology and philosophy.”