mary mykhaylova
psychotherapy for authenticity
The people who come to me are curious to get to know themselves in a deeper away. I work with those who want to reflect on intersecting aspects of their identities, intergenerational family dynamics, relationship patterns, and complex trauma histories. My style encompasses elements of attachment theory, psychodynamic theory, mindfulness, Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), and Internal Family Systems (IFS). I strive to create a safer space by attending to how systems of power (with respect to race, gender, sexuality, class, ability, among others) shape identities and relationships and how this may emerge between us.
Areas of focus
Embracing your true self
Somewhere along the way, you may have learned to keep your emotional world zipped up. This was necessary and even beneficial in the past, keeping intolerable memories, thoughts, and feelings at bay, and helping you endure and achieve a whole lot. You may call yourself a perfectionist. But this comes at a bitter cost, leaving you exhausted and depleted. You show a false version of yourself to the world, even to those you care about the most. You are ready to live more authentically, but are not sure where to begin.
Setting healthier boundaries
Expressing your needs can feel complicated. On some level, it seems that to be lovable or good enough, you should not have any needs at all. You can make your needs smaller and smaller to accommodate and please others, but this is not sustainable in the long run. You may find yourself lashing out, or turn inward and want to disappear entirely. With me, you can work on putting yourself first, setting boundaries, and saying no.
Healing your relationships
Whether I see you individually or with your partner(s), I use an attachment-based lens when it comes to thinking about you and your relationship dynamics. Together, we slow things down in order to gain a deeper understanding of occurs in your relationship cycle, and what vulnerable feelings are in the mix. With this knowledge and my support, you can explore communicating in new, authentic, and effective ways.
Interrupting unhelpful patterns
You get caught in dynamics—with family, friends, and partners, and at work—which feel uncomfortable and frustrating, yet familiar. You engage in the same patterns for reasons that elude you. Or you have some awareness of what is playing out, but remain stuck in cycles of repetition. Together, we can work toward both short-term and long-term change.
Building self-confidence
You tend to rely on external validation and outside ideas when it comes to what you should do, think, and feel. You struggle with trusting your own thoughts and making your own decisions. This lack of confidence can leave you feeling stuck and unable to make the changes that you need, want, and deserve.
Living as an immigrant in the US
Your immigration story may begin with you, your parents, or grandparents. You may know that your immigration involved multiple traumas and losses that you want to address. Immigration is a life-altering event with numerous subsequent impacts on intergenerational family dynamics, sense of self, ideas of home and belonging, and much more. Together, we can reflect on your unique narrative in a sociopolitical context.
Queer identity development
Even in the Bay Area, finding your place in a heteronormative and cisnormative world as a queer person can be challenging. You long for community, meaningful relationships, and representation, and feel that something is missing. Processing thoughts, feelings, and experiences related to your sexuality and/or gender identity is an important part of figuring out who you are and who you want to become.
Intersections of queer and immigrant experience
In my view, queer identities are shaped in response (and opposition) to experiences of affirmation and rejection in the family and social context. As a queer person and immigrant (or child of immigrants), you may feel like an outsider on multiple fronts, and wish for a space to make sense of your experiences.
My approach
You may be wondering about my background as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and how it informs my abilities to help you as your psychotherapist.
I graduated with my MSW from Smith College School for Social Work in 2016, and completed a postgraduate fellowship at Access Institute for Psychological Services during 2017-2019. I was trained from a psychodynamic perspective, which instills a curiosity about unconcsious process and how our past experiences impact our current patterns.
I obtained the bulk of my work experience alongside mental health professionals from a number of disciplines including social work, psychology, and marriage and family therapy. While there is a considerable amount of overlap among these various paths to becoming a therapist, what sets apart social work is an intrinsic focus on the individual in their environment: a way of thinking not only about someone’s internal world, but also about the external, including the social, cultural, and systemic influences and that shape identity and experience.
Mariya "Mary" Mykhaylova © 2021
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