617-710-1482 // Olga Fotin, MA, LPCC, LMHC, NCC, CCMHC

I integrate elements from different schools of psychotherapy based on my clients’ needs. Each perspective offers valuable ideas and techniques to add to the therapeutic process.

Existential Perspective

I explore with my clients the root causes of emptiness and unhappiness in their lives. We examine what is possible to change and what is not. We weigh the pros and cons of leaving things as they are versus changing them. Together, we search for missing parts – for what can bring joy and meaning to their lives.

Psychodynamic Perspective

To help me to understand my clients’ experiences, I incorporate ideas from psychodynamic perspectives that place a strong emphasis on self-reflection and examination of relationship patterns in a person’s life. I explore with my clients how their earlier life experiences shape their current perceptions and contribute to the present challenges. Together, we look for recurrent patterns and work on developing a deeper understanding of the driving forces that motivate them to make choices in their lives.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

During psychotherapy sessions, I explore with my clients the interaction between their beliefs, thoughts, feelings and behaviors. We examine and evaluate their habitual perceptions and responses to different situations. Together, we work on changing unhelpful patterns and developing more adaptive modes of thinking and behaving.

Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)

I provide exposure-based treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) as well as for other issues, such as social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, etc.  The treatment involves gradual and repeated exposure to thoughts, images, situations or objects that trigger fear and anxiety while resisting unhelpful coping strategies such as rituals and avoidance.

Mindfulness and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Sometimes people try to push negative thoughts and experiences out of their awareness. However, they may find that their attempts are often unsuccessful. Dostoevsky made an observation in one of his books that trying not to think of something may have the opposite effect:

“Try to pose for yourself this task: not to think of a polar bear, and you will see that the cursed thing will come to mind every minute” from “Winter Notes on Summer Impression” by Dostoyevsky (1863).

This wise observation of human nature made in the mid-19th century was later confirmed by the research of Daniel Wegner, a psychologist from Harvard University, in 1980s. Mindfulness and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy can help people learn an alternative way of relating to their experiences.

Steven C. Hayes describes Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in the following way: “ACT is about being willing to have one’s thoughts, emotions, and sensations for the sake of pursuing what matters in your life – your values”.

Kabat-Zinn, one of the pioneers who introduced mindfulness as a therapeutic tool to Western medicine, defines mindfulness as “the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgementally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment”.

“You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf”

John Kabat-Zinn

“Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack in everything

That’s how the light gets in”

Leonard Cohen

“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck”

The Dalai Lama