Hello, my name is Gaia Akopian. I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I provide psychotherapy to California residents via Telehealth. I work with adolescents, teens, children, families, as well adults. In my practice, my main areas of focus are anxiety, depression, life stressors, parenting, communication / relational issues, loss and grief, addictions, low self-esteem, domestic violence, and existential crisis. I practice Client Centered also known as Person-Centered approach to therapy, to help my clients feel better and achieve their goals in the therapeutic process.
My therapeutic approach is eclectic, meaning it is based on the individual needs of the client. My main approach is Psychodynamic, Existential, Person-Centered, and Solution Focused when necessary. I also apply Motivational Interviewing and Positive Psychology into my practice, because I believe you have innate strength and abilities for change, personal growth, recovery, healing, as well as to unravel your potential given the right tools and guidance.
Through my extensive experience working in city colleges and the school district, I've discovered my passion for working with teenagers and adolescents. It creates a successful dynamic, helping young individuals to navigate the complexity of their experience and achieve therapeutic goals. My other focus is working with adults, or parents, have parenting challenges and stressors. I am a certified domestic violence advocate with DV work experience, I see clients affected by domestic violence abuse. I also specialize in loss and grief, addictions, and anxiety.
My communication style
My communication style is nonjudgmental, calm, and trustworthy. I create a safe space for my clients, making them feel at ease and less anxious. I practice the Art of Active Listening, trying to tune in with the client's feelings and emotions. I try to create an atmosphere, where clients feel safe and heard, where they know that the therapist is interested in their unique, very personal story.
My journey to therapy
I have always been fascinated with people's stories and unraveling the complex threads of the root causes of our anxieties in life. Human life reminds me of the canvas made of the puzzles of an individual's unique past and present, shaping the future. Sometimes we are fully stuck in the pieces of that puzzle. That perspective inevitably has brought me to the counseling career to have my personal input in making the world slightly better by providing counseling. I hold a Bachelor of Sciences in Linguistics and Psychology from MSU, Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from NU.
My goals for you
I approach goal setting by collaborating with my clients. I believe the client is an expert in his/hers life. I start with building trust and creating a plan to achieve short -term or long-term goals, then identify what's holding you back or motivates you for a change, guide you to face the challenges of therapy, normalize your experiences, break large overwhelming goals into smaller, more manageable goals, and track your progress.
My first session with you
The first session is usually about building rapport and an initial connection with the client. In our first session, we will talk about you and why you are seeking help, and how you feel in the present moment. I will navigate the process by asking questions to get to know you better and set individual goals for our therapeutic journey together.