Maria Zarza


Maria Zarza


I am lucky to have two beautiful subjects to share with students on the Valencia Campus: health and wellness; and general psychology. Could anything be more important than learning and applying the basic principles of leading a happy and healthy life?

Both teaching and counseling share strategies and techniques such as using reflection, self-awareness, practicing, organizing, planning, making proper decisions, self-empowerment, self-determination, among others that make me more a coach than a teacher or a psychologist.

Nowadays technology and massive media outlets provide tons of educational possibilities and information that is easy to find but difficult to filter and make sense of it. Students can find information faster than teachers since technology is part of their ‘natural’ habitats. They don’t need us to find information anymore, they can do that in seconds on their laptops. They need us as mediators and coaches to model how to make sense of and prioritize all that information.

I believe that education today entitles active feedback and interaction, discovering, experiencing, reflecting, respecting, and sharing. The days when the teacher was the only one talking while students played a passive role are finally over, fortunately.

Selected Publications

  • Tomás-Roselló, J.; Rawson, R.A.; Zarza, M.J.; Bellows, A., Busse, A.; Saenz, E.; Freese, T.; Shawkey M.; Carise, D.; Ali, R.; Ling, W. (2010). UNODC International Network of Drug Dependence Treatment and Rehabilitation Resource Centres: Treatnet. Substance Abuse, 31, 4, 1-13. ISSN 0889-7077.
  • Zarza, M.J. & Sobrino, M.B. (2007) Acculturation Stress: Latino immigrants residing in the Unites States vs. Spain: A Literature Review. Annals of Psychology, 23, 1.
  • Zarza, M.J., Ponsoda, V. & Carrillo, R. (2008). Predictors of Violence and Lethality among Latinas: Implications for Assessment and Treatment. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma, 18, 1, 1-16.
  • Carrillo, R. & Zarza, M.J. (2008). An intervention model for Intimate Partner Violence and Substance Abuse for Latinos. Family Violence and Men of Color: Healing the Wounded Male Spirit. (2nd Ed.) Springer Publishing Company. NY: New York. ISBN 978-0-8261-1178-4.

Professional Awards

  • 2003: Womanspace, Inc. Professional Award for excellence in five years of service to Latino women and children, victims of domestic violence.
  • 2005: Women & Gender Junior Investigator Award for the College on Problems of Drug Dependence conference.
  • 2012: Government of Murcia: Special award for the promotion of Evidence Based Practices through the Matrix Model in the region of Murcia.

Career Highlights

  • Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (2001). Doctoral dissertation was on treatment and prevention of domestic abuse and the study of family violence risk factors such as substance abuse, co-occurring disorders and trauma.
  • Pre-doctoral experience was completed in the US at Rutgers and Womanspace, a non-profit organization dedicated to support victims of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and sexual abuse.
  • Extensive knowledge as a practitioner, trainer and evaluator on projects related to women’s health issues, domestic violence, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS/STDs, and mental health.
  • Worked at the University of California, Los Angeles as part of the team that started the UNODC Treatment project which goal was to provide training and capacity building services on substance abuse treatment to an extensive number of resource centers worldwide.
  • Dr. Zarza is an external consultant for international institutions such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and local governments in Spain.