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Meet Vicki Botnick, Marriage and Family Therapist in Tarzana

Today we’d like to introduce you to Vicki Botnick.

Vicki, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was the kid at recess who, instead of joining the dodgeball game, sat against the wall while another kid told me what they were sad about that day. I was the teen who spent hours on the phone listening to my friend’s boyfriend woes. And I was the young adult who preferred analyzing coworkers’ family dynamics to going to parties. So it made sense to become a therapist and finally make a profession out of my drive to understand and care for others.

After five years as a counselor for the Los Angeles Suicide Prevention Center Hotline, I went back to grad school for a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy in 2009. I tried a little of everything to figure out where I could do the most good—facilitating support groups, teaching a class on infant development, and running workshops to combat caregiver burnout, work fatigue and sleep issues. In the past years, I’ve focused my private practice mainly on anxiety care and working with individuals and couples on improving relationships and self-esteem. Anxiety is pervasive these days, and if I can help people see where there fears come from and a few ways to soothe them, I’ve had a good day.

I love watching people figure out who they are, how their past shaped them, and what changes they can make to be happier and more fulfilled. My work uses careful observation to know my clients well; analysis to put together the pieces of their “puzzle” (all the factors that make up who they are), and create deeper understanding of themselves; and compassion to help them forgive themselves and the people and events that may have hurt them.

Being a therapist is an amazing privilege. Sometimes my clients and I have fun, sometimes we suffer together, sometimes we’re collaborating on a fascinating intellectual dilemma and figuring out the way forward into the light. Whatever happens in a session, I’m awed by the trust people put in me and humbled to always try to find better ways to help.

Has it been a smooth road?
Success is equal parts labor and luck. For me, I’m doing what I was meant to do, and I’ve had lots of great mentors and opportunities along the way to smooth my path. It’s been a great experience to learn from masters and then attempt to take that education and become some sort of an expert myself. My professional road has been a fairly straight line from school to internship to a thriving private practice, and I’m forever grateful for that good fortune.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I specialize in anxiety and depression relief, working with individuals on finding their happiest, most productive life, and helping couples heal their relationships. I didn’t necessarily pick those areas myself, but instead looked at what issues were coming into my office, and what people seem to need the most help with these days.

The most important thing I have to offer my clients is a creative, well-educated, flexible approach to their issues. We don’t stick with just the approach that’s most trendy, or the one that helped the last client. Each person needs a unique, tailored method of tackling their concerns. So I bring in tools including cognitive, somatic, mindful and psychodynamic approaches, to create a plan that works best for them. And then we add patience, because change can be slow, and emotions have to be accepted even when they hurt.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Clearly, the traffic is one of the hardest things to manage in LA, and road rage and driving anxiety are big concerns for my clients. I think it adds a huge amount a stress to our daily lives. But it’s worth it to get to all the treasures LA has to offer. Whatever you’re searching for, you can find here, which makes it the perfect place to reinvent yourself or find the best tool to make your life more livable.

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