As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, I provide individual, family, and couples therapy in both Russian and English languages, using the most currently known and scientifically based treatment approaches.
I typically start treatment with an Intake diagnostic interview to determine the precise nature of my clients’ psychological problem and collaborate with them on the specific steps towards successful treatment outcome. In particular, I focus on (1) their current thinking and patterns of perceptions that contributing to presenting issue (e.g., feeling of loneliness, low self-esteem or anxiety); (2) the clients’ current problematic behavior (i.e., the issue of social isolation, inability to find a job); and (3) precipitating environmental/external factors (i.e., being away and lacking social support from family and friends, financial difficulty, having relationship issues). As I obtain more data at each session and refine my conceptualization of my clients’ issues, I will revise my areas of focus and at strategic points will to share them with my client to ensure that I am on the right track in terms of how they feel and think. Thus, both the client and I would have a shared understanding of what they are working toward.
We will then work together on setting up some long-terms goals in therapy that may include the following: (1) to identify and evaluate the validity of the clients’ key cognitions (automatic thoughts and core belief) that underlie their distressed affect; (2) to formulate more realistic and adaptive ways to respond to the client’s thinking (e.g., “just because I think something, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true”); (3) to focus on how to improve the quality and quantity of the clients’ social interactions and make changes in terms of their occupational/professional functioning (e.g., by exploring career opportunities in the area of residency and specific steps, such as devising or revising an effective resume, to obtain a desirable job position); and (4) help them learn how to be “own therapist” by taking home therapy notes and any important ideas to use and benefit from after treatment ends.
As a counselor, I always strive to demonstrate all the ‘essential ingredients’ of effective counseling, such as empathy, warmth, caring, positive regard, and competence. I do so by making empathic statements, accurately summarizing the client’s thoughts and feelings, and asking for feedback at the end of each session to ensure the client feels understood and positive about the therapy. I also strive to instill a sense of hope and optimistic expectations for change and improvement in the client’s individual, social, and professional functioning. I also make every effort to establish a good therapeutic alliance by encouraging my clients to perceive therapy as ‘teamwork’. My hope is that with my guidance, support, and assistance, my clients will build knowledge and confidence necessary to develop sense of empowerment, self-efficacy, and positive thinking. As research shows, the relationship between the client and the treatment provider is of utmost importance, as is a sense of hope that things will get better.
I also consider my clients’ unique demographic characteristics, such age, gender, cultural background, SES, as well as key developmental events that may have predisposed the client to feelings lonely, isolated, and stuck, and adapt my counseling style accordingly. Furthermore, adjust my counseling style to account for other equally important factors, including but not limited to the client’s self-identified goals, his/her ability to form a strong therapeutic alliance, motivation to change, previous experience with therapy, and their preference for a specific treatment approach (e.g., solution focused, cognitive or behavioral).
In terms of theoretical approaches, I rely on eclectic approach by drawing on multiple theories and techniques to tailor to a specific treatment goal that my client might set forth. Specifically, in the initial phase of therapy, I would use cognitive approach in effort to increase my client’s awareness of (1) self by identifying and changing her maladaptive thoughts, perceptions, and beliefs; and (2) environment or some external factors that may negatively influence the client’s affect and subsequent behavior. I also use a behavioral approach, specifically, a behavioral activation technique of weekly homework assignments that would be devised with the client’s active engagement and collaboration. The aim of these assignments would be to identify and assign specific and quantifiable (i.e., how often, for how long) steps to help the client improve the quality and quality of their social functioning and networking. I also often use humanistic approach, specifically, a person-centered therapy, to emphasize the client’s positive nature and capability for self-actualization and with that, empower the client to become all that they can be!
If you or your loved one is looking for professional guidance and support to build knowledge and confidence necessary for facing and conquering a difficult situation, do not hesitate to Contact Me to schedule an appointment for initial evaluation. Together we can discuss what you or your loved one needs and determine how I might be of help. If you are not ready to make an appointment, click HERE to request a FREE confidential 10-minute consultation via phone or a HIPAA-approved website.