Alem Asefa, LGPC
Not accepting new clients.
Provides virtual therapy to Maryland residents only. Accepts Aetna, United Healthcare CareFirst/Anthem/BlueCross BlueShield and Cigna Insurance only
I work with teens (18+) and adults who have experienced or are currently living with various trauma; chronic illness; mood disorders; difficult relationships; life transitions; patterns of avoidance, isolation and emotional numbing; debilitating worry; identity; feeling like you do not belong; and substance use and addiction to name a few. I am skilled in recognizing symptoms and how they impact daily functioning (thoughts, decisions, behaviors, mood), attending to clients directly and with empathy, and guiding clients to identify, learn and implement preemptive steps toward managing, reducing or eliminating their symptoms and the impact the symptoms have on daily functioning, outlook on life, relationships (with themselves and others)and more. I am also deeply attuned to the ways in which historical injustices, socioeconomic and political structures affect the mental health of all minority groups and make considerations for how these factors affect people’s mental health.
Specifically, I use trauma informed and focused care, cognitive behavioral therapy, person centered therapy and solution focused therapy to support clients in understanding and/or addressing psychological symptoms related to past or ongoing experiences to build their future life. I also collaborate with clients to address inaccurate beliefs and unhealthy behavior patterns; identify and release emotions that have been blocked by trauma; challenge their perspective about why certain things occurred and the thoughts and beliefs they’ve developed since. I also work with individuals to learn and use skills to replace negative behavior patterns with desired behaviors or promote behavior change; and use present-moment awareness to increase self-compassion, and strengthen mood regulation.
Some of my clients' specific challenges include: conflict in relationships; unwanted memories and avoidance of people, smells, thoughts and other triggers related to trauma; people pleasing; loss and separation from country of origin, family members and familiar customs and traditions; and frequent urges to use substances to manage distress. People also come to me when they feel resentment, guilt, shame and anger related to unspoken and unresolved relationship difficulties; difficulty establishing trusting relationships; heightened reactions, anxiety, or depressed mood; lack of energy, interest and motivation and; sense of impending danger, panic or doom.
My therapeutic process includes (1) exploring my clients’ past and evaluating their current concerns. Exploration is necessary in helping both of us understand your thoughts, behaviors and feelings in relation to you presenting challenges and discomforts. As we gain an understanding of how you developed certain cognitive, emotional and behavioral patterns, we will begin to identify clinically and lifestyle appropriate clinical interventions that will encourage growth within your client. Over the course of our therapeutic relationship, I will empower you by using the appropriate counseling skills to find your own solutions.
I earned both my masters in Science in School Counseling and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Mental Health Counseling from The Johns Hopkins University. I am certified by the Maryland Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists to provide mental health counseling under clinical supervision.