Dr. Cruz’s clinical work has spanned populations such as adults with serious and persistent mental illnesses and children and adolescents with trauma and substance abuse issues. Her doctoral degree is in Educational Psychology with a specialization in Measurement and Methodology. She has worked as a research methodologist and research consultant, taught doctoral students since 1995, and has taught graduate courses in dance therapy, research methods, and statistics to students from many disciplines in the US, Europe, and South America.
Her courses reflect her interests in creative arts therapies research that uses the broad range of available methods and particularly, incorporating research thinking and resources into creative arts therapies clinical practices. Her teaching philosophy and practice are grounded in a professional collaboration model that reflects skills honed by teaching statistics to doctoral students from many disciplines at the University of Arizona. She uses a model based on the fact that students learn least from an instructor's oral recitation of information and most from engaging the subject matter themselves.
Dr. Cruz believes that policy and leadership go hand-in-hand for creative arts therapies and are important for the continued development and viability of these professions. She has devoted years of service to both the University and to the Creative Arts Therapies community at large. She serves as Co-Chair for the Lesley University Institutional Review Board, and was featured in the Lesley University 2012 Annual Report.
She is a Past President of the American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA), serving four years as Vice President and four years as President of the organization. In these capacities she regularly visited Washington, DC to speak with lawmakers about creative arts therapies with respect to access for clients and licensing. As ADTA President, she introduced the Multicultural and Diversity Committee to the ADTA Board of Directors. This was the first new standing committee created in the organization in over 25 years. Dr. Cruz also brought the Dance/Movement Therapy Certification Board, a separate credentialing body for dance therapy, and new credentials (R-DMT and BC-DMT) into existence during her Presidency, creating new professional opportunities and oversight for professional dance therapists.
She is a former editor of American Journal of Dance Therapy, and served as Editor-in-Chief of The Arts in Psychotherapy from 2002 to 2015.
Dr. Cruz is past Chairperson of the National Coalition for Creative Arts Therapies Associations.