Pixie Polowy, MA
Adult, Couples & Family Therapist
Welcome! Taking this first step is never easy, but I bet you already feel more hopeful toward a more fulfilling future! I support busy couples, parents, and adults who feel stuck in the daily grind, mindlessly going through the motions and doing what they think they "should" as they face stressor after stressor. By becoming more curious about your underlying emotions, behavior patterns, and lingering pain, we will gain a deeper understanding of what keeps you from feeling fulfilled and begin to work towards experiencing a new-found connection with yourself and others.
Sliding Scale: Available
Insurance: Cigna, Aetna, PPO Superbill
Accepting New Clients: Yes
- Asian & South Asian American Experience
- Burnout & Perfectionism
- Family & Couples Therapy
- Relationships & Family Issues
- Young Adult Transitions
You’ve come to the right place:
I am sincerely committed to creating a safe, culturally responsive, judgment-free environment where you feel comfortable exploring and expressing your experience, needs, and aspirations. You are not alone! I will support you in fostering greater empathy, self-acceptance, healing, and growth.
I’m passionate about providing:
Therapy for Burnout and Work Stress Management
Are you feeling overwhelmed and find it difficult to concentrate at work? Having to always be on and available to your employer can lead to feeling constantly “on edge” or a sense of dread. Even when you’re off the clock, it is a tough feeling to shake, so you try grabbing a drink or three to relax.
I have experienced the pressure, adrenaline, and burnout! As someone who previously had a decade-long career working in corporate media, managing teams of marketing strategists for Fortune 500 companies, I can empathize. I also had two babies during this time in my life. Whether you are a working mother or not, I am here to help you navigate a way to find greater support so you can get through this chaotic time.
I will empower you with proven techniques to help you slow down and build resiliency so you are not in a constant crisis or hypervigilant state and can enjoy life outside of work.
Therapy for Depression and Other Mood Disorders
Transitions such as new beginnings, pivoting paths, starting over, endings, and losses can be stressful and often trigger past injuries or trauma. For those who are susceptible, they can lead to depression and other mood disorders. Although it presents differently for everyone, physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms, including sleep, appetite, and mood disturbances, are prevalent. You may have difficulty concentrating, low self-worth, and feelings of loneliness and hopelessness. Getting out of bed each morning can be challenging. You may even want to just stay in the fetal position all day. Because when you finally do get out of bed, you feel like a zombie and you are unable to connect with others or to what you are doing.
But know that you can feel calm, connected, confident, and content and “in your own skin” again. I take a holistic, strengths-based approach that is specific to your needs. I assess situational, relational, historical, and cultural influences that may be playing a role. I will equip you with the tools to manage symptoms so you can lift yourself out of the darkness, feel more motivated, and begin deeper therapeutic work.
Couples / Interracial Couples Therapy
Are you having communication problems or constant disagreements that do not get resolved with your partner? Has there been a recent break in trust which you hope to restore but do not know how? There is no perfect couple. We all want to feel seen, heard, and valued by our partners, warts and all. My partner and I have experienced several ups and downs in our 20-year relationship, and it has not always been easy to embrace our differences, especially considering we are an interracial couple. He has allowed me to understand the dominant culture’s perspective in the U.S. and how it differs from mine. So much about being a couple is about accepting each other’s different experiences and perspectives, whether we are from the same or different cultural backgrounds. Debating who is right vs. wrong or trying to change each other rarely works. I will guide you to listen and empathize with each other so you can either embrace differences or brainstorm ways to live with them. Conflicts over intimacy, finances, extended families, and children are inevitable and will continue to occur throughout a relationship. Gottman research shows that only 31% of perpetual relationship problems are solvable. How we fight, forgive, and rebuild is what makes or breaks a relationship.
Therapy for Parents – Breaking the Cycle
No matter how old your kids are, being a parent is an emotional rollercoaster, and once you think you’ve figured it out, they change. You may love being a parent, and you may miss who you were before kids – both can be true. Parenting is a struggle for us all: balancing work and kids, making time for ourselves and our partners, parenting differently from our parents, co-parenting with or without the invisible load women carry, disciplining without shame, handling sibling rivalry… There can be too much advice, coming from too many different directions. I can provide reliable research, but more importantly, I know the reality of navigating these complex relationships with two school-age children myself. I know how easy it is to “flip your lid” in the moment. I can relate to kicking yourself for repeatedly having to apologize for acting exactly how you promised yourself you never would. For some of us, it will bring up childhood pain when we least expect it—but desiring to do things differently than generations before and getting the support you need to do so will help break the cycle.
Therapy for Young Adults – Adulting is Hard
Young adulthood is a time of great potential. It is often marked by a desire to differentiate yourself from your family of origin. Eighty percent of life’s most defining moments take place before age 35. It is when you begin to establish your career and become financially responsible. It sets the groundwork for finding your tribe and who you want to build a life with. In young adulthood, you contemplate your values, beliefs, and role in your greater community. You may gain a greater sense of belonging within your cultural community or feel pressured to follow a particular timetable because of your family and community’s expectations. As a therapist, it is exciting to uncover the cultural beliefs, intersecting identities, and worldviews of my client and collaboratively navigate defining life goals regarding work, relationships, family, and community. I will work with you on finding your authentic voice and learning to communicate appropriate boundaries so you can follow your own path.
Who am I?
Like many of you, I wear many hats!
I am a South Asian-American of Indian descent and love to cook with a lot of spices! I am a New Yorker and pizza aficionado. I understand what it is to straddle two cultural identities. I watched my immigrant parents struggle with their mental health as they left their families, friends, and culture behind only to face isolation, discrimination, and relationship distress living in a predominantly white suburb. It is what sparked my passion for becoming a psychotherapist. I took the long route, though. As an obedient daughter, I went to graduate school in business immediately after graduating college. I was able to combine my passion for psychology with business and earned my MBA in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. It allowed me to live comfortably in the melting pot that is NYC. I climbed the corporate ladder, and after a decade-long career, I decided to return to my true calling, face my fears, and go back for another Master’s degree to change careers mid-life. I can confidently say it has been one of the toughest but best decisions of my life. I feel more present, connected, and excited to go to work than ever before!
More about me: I am married and have two kids and two fur babies. I currently live in Los Angeles, California. In my free time, I try to stop to smell the flowers and hug the trees. I also love basking in the sun with my feet in the sand listening to the sound of the waves. But what I enjoy most is cuddling: cuddling with loved ones and animals to a movie, a good book, or my social media feed.
What Therapy with Me Looks Like
Therapy is, first and foremost, a relationship. It is about finding the right cadence. As a clinician, I provide a calm, affirming, supportive experience focused on your safety and welfare. I start by actively listening to get an in depth understanding of your worldview: how it developed and how it shapes your life. We will collaborate on creating objectives and assess for strengths, resources, and barriers. I practice culturally appropriate, relevant, and sensitive interventions to assist you in developing coping and communication skills.
I believe recognizing our behavior patterns, interpreting our underlying emotions, and becoming aware of bodily sensations can hold the utmost power for change. It allows us to become more intentional with our decisions and in our interactions. And the therapeutic power of a secure, loving relationship has the ability to increase one’s overall mental health and wellbeing.
I integrate evidence-based approaches I’ve trained in such as Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), Narrative Therapy, Trauma-Informed Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Gottman Method Couples Therapy. Also, as a certified yoga instructor, I incorporate somatic and mindfulness exercises in sessions.
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) – assists in the exploration of underlying emotions, attachment needs, and fears that may be affecting how we act in our relationships.
Narrative Therapy – brings to awareness problem stories we believe define us and adds context to them so we are able to separate our identity from the problem.
Trauma-Informed Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – helps us process the impact that trauma has on our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors so we can employ more adaptive ways of coping.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) – helps us tolerate, manage, and become less reactive and more resilient in the face of distressful symptoms via mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness skills.
Gottman Method Couples Therapy – assists couples in improving communication and connection through increased empathy, accountability, friendship, affection, and shared meaning.
Don’t Forget, We Are All Made of Stardust
I am not the things my family did
I am not the voices in my head
I am not the pieces of the brokenness inside
I am light
-India Arie Simpson
You deserve to feel alive, connected, and joyful again!
Registered California Board of Behavioral Sciences Number: AMFT 141015
Supervised by Jessie Li, LMFT 102623