I’ve always wanted to help people and make a difference in the world. I first saw a therapist when I was fourteen, and the experience was transformational. I realized that I wasn’t alone, my feelings were valid and there were things I could do to feel better. As I grew up, I wanted to help others feel seen, heard and empowered to transform their own lives. Now, working as a therapist is my way of making a positive impact on the world, one person at a time.
I specialize in pregnancy and new parent counseling for individuals and couples, whether they are dealing with stress, relationship issues, postpartum anxiety and/depression, unresolved trauma or any other challenges that come with the arrival of a new baby (or babies!). As a parent, I know firsthand the excitement and joy of welcoming a child into the family, and I love working with people during this time of hope and change. However, I also know what it’s like to discover that pregnancy, birth and/or parenting isn’t what you thought it would be. After planning to have a home birth, my transfer to the hospital was my first lesson in the unpredictability (and, sometimes, powerlessness) of parenting. I know what it’s like to feel overwhelmed, uncertain and desperate for some guidance and support. I aim to offer that compassionate, nonjudgmental help to others parents, regardless of their particular challenges, family structures, backgrounds or other factors.
I truly believe in the vital importance of our earliest attachments. From our very first years, we learn how to interact with the world and those around us. Throughout my work as a therapist, I have seen many clients who are suffering as adults because, as infants and then children, they did not have healthy connection with their parents. None of us are taught how to be perfect parents, and so many of us find ourselves accidentally repeating the harmful patterns learned through own parents. It is important to change unhelpful patterns of behavior by getting to the root source of pain and struggle. I strive to help parents heal from their own developmental trauma and teach them to connect with their children. This way, everyone can learn how to better understand and express their emotions. In turn, they are able to give their children the tools and skills needed to form healthy relationships, navigate life’s challenges and grow into happy, secure adults.
I am also drawn to therapy because I love learning new things. Throughout my education and training, I have continually embraced opportunities to learn new skills and keep up with new research. I am lucky that my job allows me to grow as a person and develop a deeper self-awareness while simultaneously learning new ways to effectively help others.
Outside of the therapy office, I love spending time with my little family. I am passionate about social justice and activism, and I strive to help my son build and create awareness and empathy as he’s growing up. I’m also an avid knitter, which I find to be very meditative. Knitting allows me to be both creative and logical, and while I am present in the moment and focused on each stitch, I’m also aware of my goals for the project overall. In some ways, I find that knitting is not so different from therapy.
My Counseling Services Approach
I am a warm, caring, engaged therapist dedicated to serving families of all shapes and sizes. If you are looking for blended family, adoptive-parent, single-parent or LGBT family counseling, I offer a supportive, accepting place for you to explore and address your concerns and particular challenges and goals without fear of judgment. If you are a hetero or queer couple struggling to feel connected and in-tune while adjusting to new parenthood, I can help you restore intimacy and deep communication to your relationship. If you are an individual parent looking for healing, relief and understanding, I can offer you tools to practice self-compassion and find joy and fulfillment in parenting.
In this fast-paced world, our lives are busy. And, for new parents especially, it can be difficult to feel witnessed, valued and find time for self-care. But, your wellbeing matters. In sessions, you can talk through all of the thoughts and emotions you are experiencing, no matter how dark or scary they might feel. Therapy is place for you to feel safe – for you to move at your own pace, learn how to be fully present in the moment and get in touch with your true self.
Most of the time, each of us is doing the best we can with the tools we have. We’ve all experienced a time when our emotions became overwhelming, and many of us struggle with shame and self-doubt that holds us back from expressing our true selves. As we work together, I can help you identify which tools may be no longer serving you, cultivate a deep emotional awareness and learn new, healthier ways to cope with distress, tolerate discomfort, process difficult feelings and create a secure attachment with your loved ones. By learning these skills as a new parent, you can model them for your children as well.
Pregnancy and parenthood often bring up old wounds from abuse, neglect, illness, assault, disordered eating or another frightening experience from the past. I am trained and certified in the Trauma Resilience Model (TRM) and EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), which are both powerful trauma therapy approaches that can help you clear away lingering pain and find lasting relief. If someone is your family is struggling with addiction, especially while managing the stress of new parenthood, I can draw on my training as a Matrix Drug and Alcohol Treatment Clinician to help the whole family. I am also a Level One Theraplay Practitioner and a Gottman Bringing Home Baby Educator. I am currently part of a maternal mental health and perinatal mood disorder study group. I continue to seek new certifications so I can offer the most effective therapy skills and strategies to parents and children alike, regardless of what they are struggling with.
Parenting is one of the hardest jobs there is, and if you’re worried (or even convinced!) that you’ll mess up, you’re not alone. But, it is possible to form a secure and healthy attachment with your child. You can develop increased resilience and feel empowered and confident as a parent. New parent counseling can help you and your family arrive at a positive, joyful place.
I invite you to call me at 323-539-7717 for a free, 15-minute phone consultation. You can ask any questions you have my counseling services in Los Angeles, CA. Your child is always welcome in my office, and in some circumstances, I am happy to provide home visits or concierge therapy in another location.
Andrea Mikonowicz is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She graduated cum laude from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Women Studies and Pacifica Graduate Institute with a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology. She is a certified EDU-PLAY Therapist, a Global Appraisal of Individual Needs Clinical Interpreter and Administrator, Domestic Violence Counselor, Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach Clinician and EMDR Clinician. She is also a Level-One Theraplay Practitioner and Marschak Interaction Method Administrator, a Certified Trauma Resiliency Model Practitioner and a Gottman Bringing Baby Home Educator. She continues to pursue certifications to further serve new parents and their children.