Today we’d like to introduce you to Silva Depanian.
Silva, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I think my story really began the moment I discovered Psychology. When I began attending UCLA, I was uncertain of my major, but psychology was definitely not on my radar. However, the subject captivated me when I took a general psychology course during my second year. I was fascinated by the concept of mental health and, more importantly, how to help those grappling with mental illness.
After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, I took a two-year hiatus and worked at a clinic that provided classes for anger management and batterer’s intervention. My experience there helped me realize that working with an individual is not always enough. I was inspired to heal the individual as well as their family system, so I earned a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Pepperdine.
I am now a Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist working in private practice with Anita Avedian, LMFT. I’m also a Certified Anger Management Counselor for Anger Management 818, facilitating both co-ed and women’s only groups. Additionally, I am very passionate about chronic pain management and run a Chronic Pain Support Group.
Throughout my journey in the field of mental health, I have been fortunate enough to work with diverse populations both during my traineeship at a transitional housing facility for women and children and within private practice. I love seeing my clients and feel privileged in helping as they work through their struggles. This field brings me an incredible sense of purpose and joy in giving back to my community.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I’d like to say that I knew exactly where I would end up from a young age, that my road was steady and predictable, but that would be completely untrue! If my life had gone differently, I would have ended up a ballerina at a dance company, or majored in English Literature and become an Editor. However, though both dancing and writing were fulfilling pursuits, severe injury and loss of inspiration respectively resulted in my course being repeatedly redirected.
I do still have fun editing stories and blogs, but it’s no longer my passion. I’ve found that working as a therapist now fuels my soul! I absolutely love helping clients rediscover their own sense of fulfillment and joy. Even with psychotherapy being taboo in my Armenian community, I am motivated to keep advocating for the benefits of mental health. Providing individuals with a sense of safety, hope and unity gives me happiness, and I truly feel aligned with my purpose.
Of course, pursuing this path takes a great deal of energy, which is where my most recent challenge has shown itself. Over the course of my journey, I’ve developed chronic pain throughout my body that’s progressed into a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. In addition to and as a result of the chronic pain, I’ve also developed chronic fatigue. This means that while there are many things I would love to accomplish, I have very little energy to accomplish them.
In light of this and having dealt with both issues for over ten years now, I have become quite passionate about advocating for chronic pain management and providing a sense of community for those who experience chronic pain and illness. No, my road has not been steady or predictable. Instead, it has been a riot of colors and taught me how to persevere, refocus, and find purpose in chaos.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Avedian Counseling Center and Sessions With Silva – what should we know?
I currently work at Avedian Counseling Center with Anita Avedian, LMFT. By working with her, I have been able to create my own brand and private practice under the name Sessions With Silva. Through my brand, I have established myself in my community as a mental health provider for individuals experiencing chronic pain, anger issues, and difficulty with codependent relationships.
With my growing passion for chronic pain management, I recently spoke at the Glendale Health Festival about chronic pain, its effects, and tips to maintain a good quality of life. In efforts to provide a sense of solidarity in the isolating world of chronic pain, I have also created a Chronic Pain Support Group for anyone looking for coping skills and an understanding community.
In addition to my focus on pain management, I am known for providing services for young adults, men and women wanting to learn new skills in managing their expression of anger and aggression, as well as setting boundaries within their co-dependent relationships. In particular, I facilitate a women’s-only anger management group for women who feel safer and more comfortable expressing their situation in a female-only environment.
Along with my work as a clinician, I am a board member of GAMHPA (Glendale Area Mental Health Professionals Association), volunteer for the San Fernando Valley CAMFT (California Association for Marriage and Family Therapists), and am also a board member of Toastmasters for Mental Health Professionals. I see myself as a member of various communities and I am proud of the impact I’m able to make in them by giving back the support that they have given me.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I don’t think I can point to one main quality that has influenced my success on its own.
Instead, I believe that my practice has been built on a mixture of persistence, flexibility, and authenticity. These characteristics have helped me pursue my passion and stay true to my goals regardless of the obstacles that have crossed my path.
They have given me the space to give back to my community, find joy in helping others grow, and feel pride in every moment of my career. These attributes are a big part of who I am as a person, and greatly help my practice continue to thrive.
- Psychotherapy – $150/session (50-minutes)
- Anger Management Groups – $30 /group
- Chronic Pain Support Group – $30/group
- Consultation – Free
- Address: 655 N. Central Ave., 17th Floor, Glendale, CA 91203
6311 Romaine St., Suite 7329, Los Angeles, CA 90038
1250 East Walnut St., Unit 110, Pasadena, CA 91106
- Website: https://sessionswithsilva.com
- Phone: 818-396-6376
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sessions.with.silva/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SilvaDepanian/
Anna McNaught, Myan Soffia Photography