Tania is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist interested in working with couples, individuals and families who struggle with depression, anxiety, dual-diagnosis, substance use, and want to understand how to live their day-to-day life accepting their mental health and coping with daily stressors. Tania has extensive experience working with adults 18 and older, with acute mental health issues and is also very passionate about working with immigrant and refugee populations who are learning to adapt to the cultural differences, lifestyles, language, and overall wellbeing in a new environment. In the interview below, learn why Tania decided to become a clinician, the values that she brings to the FGTC team, and what challenges her on a personal level.
I love people. I love listening to people tell their stories, their experience...and now as a therapist, I can listen, and help them where they feel stuck, and it is rewarding to be that person in someone's life.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Tania, and I am the youngest of 3, my family and I relocated to San Diego, in 1991, as religious refugees from Iran. It was the best decision they ever made for us. I have lived in San Diego since then, and don't plan on leaving. I received my BA in English from SDSU- and was a journalist for different newspapers in San Diego County. My love for writing hasn't stopped. I have my own personal blog, and I write articles for the blog for FGTC related to therapy. I received my MA in Marriage and Family Therapy in Irvine, and my PsyD in couple's and family therapy from Alliant in San Diego. I love what I do, and would never see myself doing anything else.
What inspired you to work as a therapist?
I love people. I love listening to people tell their stories, their experiences, and as a Journalist I used do the aformentioned and write about it. Now, as a therapist, I can listen, and help them where they feel stuck, and it is rewarding to be that person in someone's life. My friends in high school always told me I would be a good therapist, but back then I dreamed of being a travel writer. Now, I am able to combine my two passions with writing and therapy, and write articles about psychology.
Explain your personal value words and why they are important to you.
Think. Act. Motivate. I started my own personal blog in 2011 when I started my master's program in psychology. I wanted a place where I was able to verbalize my thoughts and what I was learning about in school, and be able to express myself through my passion in writing. I decided that these 3 words truly embraced who I am and have always been. I always think that your thoughts allow you to act in certain ways, and express your behaviors. I always try to motivate others to do the best for themselves, and learn from their past mistakes through their experiences. "Think, Act, Motivate" has become my identity as a motivator, a therapist, a blogger, and an individual in today's society.
What is unique about your work with clients?
I utilize my personal value words to help others. I am person-centered, and allow experiences of their past help them with their current struggles. Solution-Focused Therapy, and a mix of Attachment and Person-Centered lenses allow me to be present in the room with my clients, and challenge their current perspective, and see a different perspective they never have thought about before. It's about asking the right questions to challenge their thought process, and I believe my experience as a Journalist helped me ask the right questions as a Therapist.
What’s the most challenging and rewarding part of your work?
Most challenging is feeling stuck at times when clients come to you for answers and solutions to their problems. However, it's a challenge that allows me to grow as a person, and as a therapist each day. I love a good a challenge. The most rewarding thing is seeing clients progress in treatment, identify their strengths, and having their epiphanies week after week and seeing their own growth int he work they are putting into it. It's an amazing thing to see and hear.
After a long work week, how do you de-stress or unwind?
There are a few things I enjoy: I love taking a walk in my community, going to farmer's markets, and hanging out with friends. I like to binge-watch almost anything on Hulu/Netflix, and most important, once a week visit my family. Every other weekend, you will find me dancing somewhere. I like to dance to any type of music, and it is the best stress-reliever for me, after a long work week of sitting in an office.
Tell us a funny story about yourself!
- In 2006 I tried out for So You Think You Can Dance in Los Angeles- and made it all rounds except the one to be on TV.
- I am the youngest first cousin of 57 people. I have a really big family.
- For the past 5 years- Every Year on January 1 I start a "Greatest Memories" Jar and throughout the year I write down everything fun, positive, or good that happened throughout the year. On January 1 of the next year, I read all the great memories that I enjoyed. It is a great way for me to remember the positive things, because we always tend to only remember the bad things that happen to us from years before. It has been an amazing experience!