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Meet Tamar Sevajian of The Huis Center in Pasadena

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tamar Sevajian.

Tamar Sevajian is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Pasadena, California. She specializes in issues of Relationships, Separation/Reconciliation, Divorce, Remarriage, Grief & Loss, Stress & Anger Management, Anxiety, Depression and Christian Counseling. Her story begins in Lebanon, a beautiful but war-torn country in the Middle East. Born to parents of Armenian heritage, she had attended Armenian private school where she learned three languages and cultures: Armenian, Lebanese-Arabic and English.

When she was a teenager, she lost her mother to the terrors of the civil war and later her father. Seeking safety, order and normalcy, she immigrated to the United States for freedom, a new beginning and opportunities for her many dreams. After facing new adversities such as acculturation, longing to feel accepted and acknowledged, process for naturalization and hard work, she finally put herself through college while continuing to work full time. Daughter of a shoe-designer father and a homemaker-seamstress mother, Tamar always had a keen eye for fashion. Eventually, she obtained her Bachelor of Science in Textiles and Apparel, as well as Master of Science in Fashion Design from Texas Woman’s University. Her determination and hard work topped her many skills and talents; leading her to launch her own fashion company in Texas. Designing bridge women’s sportswear collections for specialty boutiques, she quickly excelled. Major chain stores placed orders with her and buyers for prominent department stores took notice of her apparel line. However, her circumstances changed when divorce forced her into a dark season in her life. While grieving her present losses she realized she had been bitterly grieving about the loss of her mother. The survival marathon, fast life in a new country and taking care of her family had not left any room to reflect and grieve previous losses.

She came out of her depression when she realized the new purpose for her life. Her Christian faith that up to this point she thought was only a façade became real. As her new authentic self-emerged, she began paying attention to people’s inner self and empathized with their emotional and psychological struggles. As she began serving in her church as a lay counselor, teacher and mentor, she discovered about her gift of exhortation. She found a counseling program that integrated faith at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena and equipped herself with the necessary tools and additional training to help individuals, couples and families with their relationships. This time she committed to impacting people’s quality of life one person at a time to contribute to creating a healthy society. She received her second M.S. in Marriage & Family Therapy in 2014 from Fuller Theological Seminary Pasadena, CA. Currently, she’s a doctoral candidate in DMFT at NCU (Northcentral University).

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Not at all! Opening or building my own business has always required me to put in tremendous amount of hard work and commitment. There will be a lot of new learning and inevitable trials and errors despite the fact that you might think you know how to do things. However, it is your passion that sustains you at the end. I remember the best time to sketch my apparel line each season was at 3:00 am. My creative juices usually flew then; suddenly, I would wake up and feel inspired to design a whole collection for the next season. You don’t mind the odd or the extra hours you put into your work because you have passion for what you’re doing. It has been the same with my private practice family therapy business. Whether finding the right software for running it or coming up with strategies for marketing, you are always thinking and doing what’s needed to grow your business, sometimes 24/7.

Recently, due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, like most small businesses, The Huis Center also took a financial hit. Although this has interrupted the cash flow and the number of clients, it has not stopped us completely. However, we have now limited our services to only video sessions through SP confidential channel and software.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Since 2013, I have built extensive cross-cultural experience and skills in counseling, psychoeducation, teaching and training, as well as facilitating groups primarily within the church demographics. I have acquired additional certifications in Grief Recovery Method, Anger Management, Marriage Strong, Restoration Therapy, Family Wellness, EFT & Hope Focused Counseling. As a member of AAMFT (American Association for Marriage & Family Therapy, CAMFT (California Association for Marriage & Family Therapy), as well as AAMHA (Armenian American Mental Health Association) in Southern California, I stay connected to a network of professionals and updated resources in mental health.

An entrepreneur at heart, I was now preparing to launch my second business; this time in counseling. While spending ample time in church for the past 20 years, serving and interacting with congregants of various denominations, I realized that church was broken and dysfunctional. Members may have been good Christians, may pray a lot or even know their Bible; however, they lacked understanding about mental health. In addition, the expected perfectionism, self-righteousness and the stigma of mental health were huge in the church; sometimes bigger than in non-churchgoers. Hence, through my practice, I committed to reach out to this population.

In 2017, I founded (THC) The Huis Center – “huis” means “hope” in Armenian – as my private practice. Knowing well about the struggles and suffering of the Armenian-Americans, I dedicated a special area of my private practice to serve this population. Hence, I have welcomed more Armenian clients through the church as well as personal referrals. Throughout my second career in counseling, I have always emphasized about the coexistence of faith and science; how they were supplementary rather than alternative options for seeking solutions to life issues.

Moreover, the two main areas why clients come to Huis Center for have been grief and couples counseling through the Christian lens. My years of experience and professional training (Certification) in Grief Recovery Groups have helped me understand clients who have incurred various losses. As for my theoretical framework, although eclectic for most cases, I primarily use Restoration Therapy to work through Couples issues. I was trained under the founder of this model, Dr. Terry Hargrave, at Fuller Seminary and hold a specialized certification in Restoration Therapy.

Finally, my love for humanity, fairness and justice paired with my ability to share in their suffering have moved me to become a zealous advocate for mental health, as well as for social justice tirelessly promoting healing, transformation and healthy family relationships.

What were you like growing up?
I was ambitious. I had many dreams, as well as skills and talents that were not developed into their full potential. Growing up, I loved singing, dancing and basketball and volleyball. In the winter, I enjoyed skiing the beautiful mountains of Lebanon and swimming in the warm Mediterranean Sea during the summer. I was also passionate about designing and sewing my own clothes. Then civil war broke out; and everything was interrupted. Limited to playing cards and board games with family and neighbors in the shelter, my dreams were replaced with fear, worry and survival skills. I felt trapped inside like in a cage for a long time. Finally, as a young adult in America, I had the chance to pursue my love for arts sketching, drawing and painting, which helped my healing.

Pricing:

  • Individual Therapy: $110
  • Couples Counseling: $130
  • Family Counseling: $160
  • Groups: $320/person/8 sessions

Note: Due to COVID-19, we have made some sliding scale available.

Contact Info:

 

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