Cristina Plaza Ruiz

Job Titles


I am a Marriage and Family Therapist and adjunct assistant professor at Bethel University and Bethel Seminary. I am passionate about seeing families thrive and live healthy lives. I focus my clinical practice serving the immigrant and refugee community in the Twin Cities supporting immigrant families in the adjustment process to a new culture and a new environment, processing immigration trauma and loss, and the accompanying life challenges that come with it. My interest in leadership in higher education is centered around training culturally responsive mental health providers, partly fueled by my experience teaching languages for social justice. I currently teach in the Department of World Languages and Cultures, and in the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at Bethel Seminary in St Paul, and I also work as a psychotherapist at The Center for International Health working with Refugees and Immigrants. I have a passion for the education and mentoring of future therapists who work with immigrants and refugees. I am an educator at heart with a desire to offer equitable care and for serving underserved populations.

Started at Bethel



  • UNED, Spain - B.S. in Pedagogy and Philosophy of Education , 1993
  • Hamline University - M.A.Ed., 1997
  • Bethel Seminary - Postgraduate Certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy, 2015


Beulah Benton Tatum Award (Hamline University, 1997)


Overcoming Racism, Metro State University (St. Paul, MN, 2014)

Best Practices in Pallitaitve Care for Immigrants and Refugees: A Family Systems and Cultural Humility Perspective, MN Network of Hopsice and Palliative Care Annual Conference, (Minnepolis, 2017)

End of Life Conversations with Immigrant and Refugees: A Family Systems and Cultural Humility Perspective, 15th World Congress of The European Association of Palliative Care (Madrid, Spain, May 2017)

Building Rapport in Refugee Medical Screening. Univeristy of Minnesota Training/IOM (Kampala, Uganda, May 2018)

Three Domains Of rapport. Faciliating Rapport During Refugee Screening. University of Minnesota Training / IOM (Bangkok, Thailand, August 2018)

Certificates and Licenses

The Global Mental Health: Trauma and Recovery Certificate Program. Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma (HPRT)

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MN)

Professional Organizations, Committees, and Boards

American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy

Minnesota Association of Marriage and Family Therapy

Areas of expertise

Latino immigration, immigrant families in transition, mental health of immigrants and refugees, global mental health, family therapy, Spanish for Health professionals, cross-cultural issues.