“I strive to provide an accepting and nonjudgmental atmosphere where I work side-by-side with my clients to help them get to know themselves better, explore obstacles and ways to overcome them, and build on their strengths.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
Since my teenage years, I’ve been interested in understanding the reasons and motivations driving people’s behaviors. This interest led me to study psychology in my home country of Russia and later in the US. Through my work as a therapist and crisis screener, I frequently made observations about the relationship between the trauma my clients experienced as children and adults and the severity of the mental health issues with which they presented. I became deeply interested in learning about trauma and its impact on mental and physical health, relationships, and other areas of people's lives. As my interest in trauma treatment grew, I began working on learning the skills that enable me to help people heal from trauma and lead happier lives.
What should someone know about working with you?
When struggling with depression, anxiety, or other issues, it can be difficult to know how to begin making changes for the better and it isn’t easy to do this on your own. I strive to provide an accepting and nonjudgmental atmosphere where I work side-by-side with my clients to help them get to know themselves better, explore obstacles and ways to overcome them, and build on their strengths. I provide gentle yet honest feedback. I frequently assign reading for clients to gain a deeper understanding of their issues. I also assign homework between our meetings to help practice and strengthen skills we talk about in session.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I am fascinated with the ongoing developments in understanding how trauma affects brain development and how we can help the brain to heal. Newer disciplines and fields of study, such as neurobiology, interpersonal neurobiology, energy psychology, and mindfulness, shed light on some of the most intricate and mysterious ways our brains work to protect us from traumatic experiences and help us heal from them. I am also excited to see increased mental health awareness and inclusion of mental health education in schools and a beginning shift in stigma and shame surrounding mental illness in general (and suicide, in particular).
What would you say to someone who has mixed feelings about starting therapy?
The perspective of sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings with a complete stranger can be frightening and overwhelming. Seeking therapy may be viewed as a sign of weakness but think about the immense courage needed to take an honest look at yourself or your life and say, “This is not working for me and I want to change.” It may take a lot of courage to start. It may also take a while to find a therapist who is a good fit. Therapy can be difficult and even painful at times. There may be many ups and downs along the way. However, step-by-step, the results of your work can be truly rewarding!
“I am fascinated with the ongoing developments in understanding how trauma affects brain development and how we can help the brain to heal.”