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Meet Elizabeth Kuchakhchian

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elizabeth Kuchakhchian.

Please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I believe my journey to becoming a psychotherapist must have begun when I was a little. I was observant, quiet, and analytical. I felt people needed to be heard. I was patient, would empathize with people, and pay attention to their language. I myself needed healing. My inner child was longing for that ear to listen and help me process my needs.

I always wanted to be in the helping field. I originally was on the path to working in the field of medicine. When I felt a part of me healing without medication, I knew that is also how I wanted to help others. I graduated from California State University, Northridge with an undergraduate degree in psychology. Then, I transferred to Pepperdine University where I received my graduate degree in clinical psychology, with an emphasis is marriage and family therapy.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Challenges definitely existed along the way. Being a first generation American, many internal and external pressures existed. My grandparents have immigrated from Yerevan, Armenia with my parents in order for them and their future generations to not have the same challenges and hardships which they experienced. Having an education and a successful career was always a must and also never questioned. This brought internal struggles, but was also a blessing in disguise. It helped motivate and push me to be where I am today.

Being a therapist involves a constant work on one’s self. I learned that we cannot define our success based on our careers, what school we go to, or the things we own. Our success is defined by how satisfied and content we are with ourselves internally. This helped me constantly make improvements on myself and learn more about who I am. This was also a challenge, because it is not easy having to touch upon the challenges or traumas from the past. The beauty is that it is a profession where you are always learning.

Sessions with Elizabeth – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I have worked with a variety of patients dealing with circumstances that are unique to their lives. I provide a safe space for all of my clients to share freely, and work diligently to help find them the answers they seek. Earlier in my career, I began by working with children and teens with autism, and then with those experiencing other issues. This included depression, anxiety, grief, and family dysfunctions. Then, I began working with adults struggling with addiction. I am a therapist at an intensive outpatient drug/alcohol addiction center.

Currently, I am also working in my private practice located in Sherman Oaks, CA. In my practice, I work with teens and adults with various issues, including anxiety, self-esteem, trauma, and somatic symptoms, my goal is to be present for my patients and help guide them towards understanding themselves at a deeper level and better cope with changes.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Being in therapy is like traveling. You are on an adventure of self-discovery, going through your own timeline. This takes hard work, sweat, tears, laughs, and many breaths of fresh air. When a patient goes to therapy, it is important for me as a therapist to see what goals they want to set for themselves. Being successful is knowing that there can always be a goal to be set for yourself. It is also coming to an understanding that although you can heal, there can always be bumps on the road. It is important to be aware of how you react to the negative situations. Essentially, the clients are the experts of their lives. Each individual defines what success is to them. My goal is to navigate them to the healthier place that they want to be in mentally and emotionally.

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