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Meet Anna Aslanian of My Therapy Corner in West Los Angeles / Santa Monica

Today we’d like to introduce you to Anna Aslanian.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Anna. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I’ve always been fascinated by the field of psychology. By the time I was fifteen, I already knew what I wanted to do. I left the comfort of my home in Armenia (I am Armenian and Greek) and moved to the U.S. When I turned sixteen, I began my university studies majoring in psychology. Additionally, I started volunteering at a crisis helpline, offering support to callers and connecting them to helpful resources.

Upon graduating in 2006, I started working with children diagnosed with Autism and other pervasive developmental disorders. I also provided training for the parents since so much of the children’s progress depends on their parents and what they do at home. I worked with children both at home and in school settings.

The field of psychology is constantly growing, and seemingly new discoveries are made every day. As my appetite for new knowledge grew, I decided to get my master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy with a professional emphasis in Eating Disorders. In 2009, while I continued working with children and their parents, I also began working at the university counseling center with college-age students. At that time, I realized I had a passion for working with couples and trauma. Regardless of what my clients were going through, they all had some traumatic experiences in the past that seemed to be the catalyst for their emotional disturbances and struggles. I also realized that it felt natural for me to work with couples to improve their relationships.

In 2011, I switched gears and began working at a community mental health center where most clients had severe psychiatric disorders. My clients struggled with diagnoses such as Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective disorder, Bipolar disorder, Borderline personality disorder, and PTSD. Around that time, I also started my private practice, focusing on couples and adults.

In 2015, I started working at an intensive outpatient program for substance abuse. I ran therapy groups and saw individuals struggling with substance and process addictions, as well as various mental health diagnoses. I then obtained additional trainings in research-based modalities and got licensed in multiple states. Additionally, I started working at a center where my primary clients were adults struggling with sex addiction and partners who were dealing with relational trauma.

Today I continue to focus my work on couples and adults. Additionally, I contract with centers providing individual, couples and group therapy to clients struggling with trauma, OCD, and sex addiction/betrayal trauma.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Life never seems to be a smooth road for anyone. Even people who you might think “have it so good” have struggles and have gone through a lot. This is one of the reasons I feel so privileged and honored to be a psychotherapist. People trust me with their deepest emotions and secrets they don’t even share with their closest family members. Throughout the years, I’ve worked with so many individuals from various cultural backgrounds and all walks of life. From homeless people to celebrities, from young individuals questioning their place in this world to accomplished professionals. And what I found is that people have their struggles, their past traumas, their wounds that they don’t share but carry as a heavy burden most of their lives.

As far as my own struggles, of course I’ve had them. Both personally and professionally. I chose to chase my dreams when I was fifteen, moving away from my family and support system. On this journey, I faced many heartbreaks, betrayals, traumatic experiences, losses and grief. I’ve felt alone and hopeless at times. I made mistakes. But I believe there are lessons in every struggle that can help us grow and become better human beings. We don’t see it when we are in it. Believe it or not, I am now so thankful for every difficult day, every hopeless moment, every hurtful person. All of that has led me to who I am today—an empowered, strong 34-year-old woman. My wish is to help others feel the same way.

Please tell us about My Therapy Corner.
I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the states of California, Florida and New York. I’ve been in this field since 2006. I am certified in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. EMDR is a research-based psychotherapy modality that focuses on healing a variety of symptoms and diagnoses that result from disturbing life experiences (referred to as big and small traumas). The research behind this method is astonishing, it works beautifully. And that’s what clients want. Psychotherapy takes effort and time, but it should not be endless. Clients want to see results and feel better. EMDR gives them that. As an EMDR consultant in training, I also provide consultation to professionals who are in the process of getting certified in EMDR.

Additionally, I am a Gottman Method couples therapist, another research-based therapy method specifically for couples. My sessions are very focused, I offer feedback and guidance to couples. I am not there just as a “witness” to their ongoing conflict and problems. Couples come to see me for pre-marital counseling, healing from betrayal and infidelity, developing better communication skills, etc. I am trained and have extensive experience working with couples where one or both partners are in recovery from addictions. Additionally, I am a Gottman Method educator for couples who are expecting or recently became parents. Transition to parenthood is such an exciting time for couples but it can also be a huge strain even on the strongest relationships. 69% of new parents experience conflict and disappointment. I conduct research-based workshops assisting couples in becoming the best parenting team.

My office is in the West Los Angeles/Santa Monica area. My Therapy Corner focuses on individual and couples therapy, as well as online and teletherapy for clients who are appropriate for this therapeutic avenue. Online sessions can be helpful to those who have circumstances that affect their ability to attend in person.

There are a variety of session types available for both individuals and couples. Some clients prefer to have “intensive marathon” sessions. This is ideal for clients who want to work with me but don’t live in my area to have weekly sessions. I’ve had clients fly in for a couple of days, a weekend, or even a week to have such intensive, lengthier sessions. These sessions are specifically tailored with the client’s unique needs and goals in mind.

I am aware of the complex impact of trauma (any perceived trauma) on an individual and a relationship, and my approach integrates this knowledge into every aspect of treatment. While I give clients coping skills using a variety of therapeutic modalities, the goal is always to get to the core of the problem. People don’t want band-aids, they want to heal and be who they were always meant to be. So my trauma-informed approach in therapy attends to the underlying trauma from any cause. This can apply to anyone. It’s not just for people with severe traumas such as surviving wars, sexual abuse, assaults, and natural disasters. It applies to others with attachment wounds, emotional distress, depression and anxiety, creative blocks, feeling stuck in their life, or any kind of hurt.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
My grandfather, who was a very wise and inspirational human, used to say: “live your life in such a way so that if you’re asked at the end if you would do anything differently, you can say with confidence that you wouldn’t change a single thing.” As a child, I thought this meant I needed to make sure I made no mistakes. I have since realized that it was never about avoiding mistakes. That’s impossible. It’s about accepting them and learning from them. Mistakes are there to guide us to help us grow. I’ve learned from my mistakes and will continue to do so. So now I can proudly say that I wouldn’t change anything.

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