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Yana has been with FGTC for 3 years. She loves working with couples, postpartum women, and individuals. One of the most unique things about Yana is that she is bilingual in Russian and enjoys working with the Russian speaking community in San Diego. When you meet Yana, you will instantly be drawn to her smile, warmth, and friendliness. Learn more about Yana below!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I grew up in several countries in Eastern Europe, primarily Latvia and Russia. I immigrated to America as a refugee at the age of 16. I had to learn English from scratch and really focus on my education in order to get scholarships, attend college and make my dreams come true. I obtained my undergraduate degree at the University of Colorado Denver where I majored in Psychology, with minors in Communication and Religion. I moved to San Diego in 2010 and attended San Diego State University where I earned a Master’s in Counseling with emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy. I have been in a variety of different traineeships, practicums, internships leading up to licensure which I obtained in 2017. Aside from working as a therapist and a case manager, I was also a Program Coordinator of a large foster youth program at South Bay Community Services in Chula Vista. I learned a great deal about leadership and helping youth in that position. I got married in 2018 and live with my husband and son, who just turned 14 months old and recently learned how to walk pretty quickly! In my spare time I enjoy hiking, swimming, going to the beach, reading, getting together with friends, making art and attending church.

What inspired you to work as a therapist?

Growing up in low socioeconomic status and being a refugee immigrant are the experiences that prompted me to dig deeper and try to understand the human mind and why people behave the way they do. I really wanted to help others in similar situations and was drawn to understanding people. I have a passion for helping people foster healthy, intimate relationships by helping them acquire effective communication skills.

Explain your personal value words and why they are important to you.

Lots of value words resonate with me. I connect with the words caring, encouragement, and compassion because I believe that every person is worthy of love and support. I really appreciate structure and so I also connect with words commitment, loyalty, proactivity and productivity. I believe in being open and curious about people’s journeys and everything that makes them unique, therefore I connect with words resiliency, authenticity, vulnerability, and humility. I value relationships above material possessions so I also connect with simplicity and warmth.

What is unique about your work with clients?

In my work with both couples and individuals, I place emphasis on resilience, meaning, hope, and faith in healing. I believe that at the core of healthy living is a healthy sense of self. My background includes work with couples, individuals, and people affected by negative family attachments and addictions. I am keen on exploring early attachment and how it might relate to formed adult relationships. I also enjoy supporting women in their birth and postpartum journey. I provide support in learning how to manage conflict and create meaningful connections. I can help in creating coping skills and self-care as well as self-soothing strategies that will benefit my clients beyond their therapy sessions.

What’s the most challenging and rewarding part of your work?

The most challenging part of my work is when I encounter the clients who seem to have lost all hope for feeling better. It is challenging to see someone go through a very difficult time in their life and it is my wish that all the clients find paths towards better experiences in their lives. The most rewarding part of my work is seeing the seeds of therapy take root and bloom into trees. I really enjoy providing couples with tools to communicate better and to learn how to deal with conflict. I really enjoy when clients report positive results and their relationships improve. I also find it rewarding to empower people to believe in themselves and to develop a healthy sense of self.

After a long work week, how do you de-stress or unwind?

In my free time, I enjoy hiking, painting, traveling, reading, interior design and spending time with my Catholic faith community, family and friends including my husband and son. Recently, I started swimming twice a week and enjoy that very much as well.

Tell us a funny story about yourself!

When I was about ten years old I was swimming in a river with a friend and her parents. I had a bandage on my leg due to some injury. My mom told me to make sure I keep it on and cover the wound so it can heal properly. At some point, I realized that the bandage was gone, and all of a sudden I started screaming in Russian: “My leg got unglued! My leg got unglued!” My friend’s parents rushed to me and asked: “What do you mean your leg got unglued?” I stuck out a foot out of the water. Everyone paused. I then said: “The bandage is gone.” Everyone started laughing.

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