Associate Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Therapy That Combines Traditional And Somatic Approaches To Promote Healing
“Get busy watering your own grass so as not to notice whether it’s greener elsewhere.” – Karon Waddell
I have always been passionate and curious about uncovering what makes people who they are. We all have a story—a family of origin and ancestral lineage which shapes us. And while our stories are filled with many positive qualities, we may also encounter negatives that keep us stuck and unable to reach our full potential.
As a therapist with a background in traditional and somatic approaches to achieving emotional wellness, I want to help people attain their full potential. We achieve this in therapy by dropping emotional baggage, limiting beliefs, and personal and generational traumas that often hold us back. By connecting with the authentic self that lies beneath all that weighs us down along our life journey, we can find our true essence and, through that discovery, learn how to thrive.
Working With Moms And Families Is My Passion
While becoming a parent is often a long-awaited and magical experience, it can also be a vulnerable time for many of us. When we become parents, we often re-experience childhood trauma which causes unresolved emotional pain to unexpectedly surface. These triggers may disrupt what would otherwise be a smooth transition into our parental role. Without understanding why, we may become increasingly anxious or depressed as new parents and need additional support.
My specialties are perinatal mental health, birth trauma, and family counseling, which includes the transition into parenting and its ensuing challenges that often lead to anxiety, depression, and burnout. In addition, I have spent many years working with children who have ADHD and are on the autism spectrum and have helped families navigate this experience more adeptly.
I aim to provide my clients with a holistic blend of therapy for maximum benefit. I combine more traditional family systems and psychodynamic therapy approaches with newer somatic approaches, including Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)—also known as Tapping—a somatic technique for trauma processing. This combined approach can be particularly effective in addressing birth trauma, Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs), and the intrusive thoughts associated with anxiety.
Traditional therapy takes a “top-down” approach to address trauma, where clients are asked to think about their trauma intellectually while ignoring the body in the healing process. However, in reality, trauma gets trapped within the body—unless we integrate how the body has been impacted, trying to rationalize our way out of trauma only addresses part of the issue. Somatic approaches that incorporate the physical release of trauma trapped in the body can be a very powerful tool for healing trauma.
How My Own Life Experiences Inform My Practice
As a therapist who bases my practice on transparency, I like to be open with my clients and share that I have first-hand experience with childhood trauma and PMADs. And as a mother to a neurodivergent child, I have also encountered parental challenges and burnout. Having walked in the same shoes as my clients provides me with empathy and understanding of their experience. I remember how scary therapy felt at the beginning—I can assure you it gets easier and that healing can and will happen with a commitment to the process.
My practice is unique in that I combine the scientific with the spiritual, the traditional with the non-traditional. Although I am always open to learning new ways of experiencing the world through my client’s eyes, I don’t shy away from asking tough questions. I never want someone to gloss over important breakthroughs that will aid in their progress. If, for example, a client is in denial about what’s happening to them, I will ask more pointed questions to find out what’s going on and encourage self-reflection. Having said that, I am also warm, nurturing, and non-judgmental. I know how to hold space for others and truly listen to them.
No person is an island. We all come from a family and experience life through the context of different social structures. Each person who touches our lives affects us. Therefore, when I look at the person in front of me, I always consider the social and familial systems they come from to ensure that we are addressing their issues comprehensively and not in isolation. I will honor your story and help you reach your full potential.
A Little More About Me
In addition to English, I also speak Russian fluently, a huge benefit for any Russian-speaking people seeking therapy in their native tongue. Outside of therapy, my energy is devoted to my family—my husband, two boys and our dog. Connecting with nature and enjoying daily walks with my dog brings me joy. I also love gardening, riding horses, Bachata and Argentine Tango dancing.
Maria Yakimchuk is an Associate Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist based in Bannockburn, Illinois. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of California at Davis, Maria went on to receive a Master’s Degree of Arts in Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage Family Therapy (MFT) from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. She gained experience while working at Stepping Stones Center for Autism and Starvista Counseling Center in San Mateo, California. Maria is a Certified EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) Practitioner and has been in private practice since 2023.
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