“All of my sessions are relaxed and down-to-earth.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
My path to becoming a therapist actually started many generations ago; I come from a family of caregivers. In Russia, my family owned an inn where we often housed wayfarers unable to pay for meals or rooms. My father was the go-to person for the community, willing to help with any family problems. That’s why it feels like taking care of people is in my DNA! Much of my clinical experiences involves work with the elderly, handicapped, and their families. I enjoy helping people address life’s many transitions.
What should someone know about working with you?
All of my sessions are relaxed and down-to-earth. During intake, I gather necessary information using a gentle approach. Ongoing sessions revolve around the needs of the client, flexible and fluctuating depending on the challenges of the day. Sometimes, I give homework that’s informal; other times, it involves more structure. I encourage journaling, which serves as a tool during the therapy process. I am here to listen and guide, reading between the lines to help each client reach their goals.
What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to try therapy?
Resistance is understandable; it’s a form of self-protection. Let’s redirect in a way that helps us understand the reluctance. Taking the first steps of making the phone call and setting up an appointment is hard and courageous and I give credit to anyone who does it. I offer a personable atmosphere, intended to make clients as comfortable as possible. I want them to get to know me so we develop a trusting relationship. I am here to advise and, more importantly, listen.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
The mental health landscape is changing for the better. Telehealth, in particular, has begun to fill a void. As the need for mental health services increases, telehealth provides access to those who might not have had it otherwise. Not only that, but the mental health stigma is slowly fading away. People have started speaking out on social media, increasing visibility, and reducing the reluctance to seek help. Clients are also becoming more involved with their own care. The healthcare system must accommodate all of these changes for optimal healing.
What have you learned from your clients?
I have learned many invaluable lessons from my clients. The most important one is that no matter where you start from, change is possible. We all mess things up but we can always fix ourselves and our relationships. Much of my career experience has centered around older populations. One of my most unforgettable clients was also my most elderly: She was 105, cognitively intact, ambulatory with a walker, blind due to cataracts, and grieving the loss of both her sons. I spent part of our sessions reading her mail to her until - at 105 - she decided to have cataract surgery. That year, she read her birthday cards to me. As simple as it sounds, this just reinforces that it’s never too late to make a positive difference.
“I am here to listen and guide, reading between the lines to help each client reach their goals.”