Priyanka Pathak, MSW
Individual, Couples, and Family Therapist
Hey there. I’m Priyanka. I’m here for you whenever you’re ready. I help people deal with difficult relationship dynamics, gain a sense of rootedness in their identities, and/or navigate personal challenges. I offer strengths-based, trauma-informed psychotherapy that integrates my clients’ marginalized identities – such as race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and/or religion.
Language: English, Hindi, and Urdu
Sliding Scale: Available
Insurance: Cigna in-network & can provide superbill for PPO plans
Accepting New Clients: Yes
- Anxiety & Stress Management
- Asian & South Asian American Experience
- BIPOC & Asian American Experience
- Navigating Cultural, Gender & Religious Expectations
- Trauma & PTSD
Time to Give Therapy a Shot
These days, it seems like everyone and everything around us is moving on and moving fast toward the next big thing. It’s great when we feel in sync with the seemingly collective momentum forward, but there are times when we feel disconnected – just going through the motions – because something feels very wrong. Internal obstacles emerge and interfere in our lives in ways we just cannot ignore. Some of us lug around emotions from old, heavy memories that seem to overshadow our day-to-day activities. Some of us may be tethered to stubborn worries, doubts, and fears that meddle in our intimate relationships and/or our professional lives. There are also those of us who just don’t know why we feel so uncomfortable, even when things seem to be going fine. Perhaps you have reached a point when your go-to strategies haven’t been enough, so that’s why you’re ready to give therapy a shot. Welcome. I’m really glad you’re here.
Working with Me
Therapy sessions with me are all about taking time to identify and meet your needs. I can listen and share the burden with you. If there is a particular problem you need to solve, we could approach it together. I aim to provide you with warmth, emotional safety, acceptance, and a sense of empowerment. I want to understand where you’re coming from, what you’re dealing with, and how you envision your growth. I am able to work with you on a variety of challenges – from dealing with mental health symptoms to addressing difficult relationship dynamics. I help clients with letting go of what is holding them back, changing their habitual ways of thinking and/or behaving, and accepting the unchangeable.
I would be most helpful to individuals who are ready to make moves – whether this means developing a healthier relationship with themselves or addressing difficulties in their relationships. My ideal clients value taking responsibility for their own actions, gaining insight about themselves, and being open to incorporating new skills into their lives. I help couples and families resolve troubling dynamics with cultural sensitivity and compassion. My individual clients gain understanding about relational patterns that may keep them stuck, manage distressing emotions and thoughts, learn communication and problem solving skills, and set healthy boundaries. Ultimately, empowering my clients to relate better to themselves, their loved ones, and their community is my purpose.
Therapy for People Who Identify as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC)
Our journeys and interactions with mainstream society and its systems can take a toll on our mental health. Our experiences can vary greatly depending on our intersectional identities. My hope is that by doing my own work to learn and to relate to clients, our therapy sessions more quickly get to where you want to go. While listening to your story, I may draw on my own insights about diverse BIPOC experiences from the perspective of a life-long learner and community member. For instance, my academic studies and work with Tribal programs and American Indian-serving organizations in rural and urban American Indian communities was foundational to my understanding of historical trauma, which contextualizes the experiences of Indigenous peoples. Additionally, I may draw on my personal experiences that I may have in common with you. To give a few examples: I know what it’s like to struggle with the seemingly impossible, gendered expectations of family, religious community, and mainstream society. I am intimately familiar with feeling othered, misunderstood, and misrepresented based on misconceptions about my identity or presumed identity. I recognize the pain felt by families chiseled apart by immigration.
Therapy to Address Difficulties with Cultural and/or Religious Expectations
I help clients, particularly those who identify as Asian or South Asian build a more rooted sense of identity. While the continued survival of our ancient traditions and success stories across the global diaspora speak volumes about our strengths, some of us still feel high levels of distress and dissatisfaction within ourselves and/or our close relationships. Unattainable expectations can make it hard to fully accept ourselves or our loved ones, pursue our dreams, or feel like we belong. Many of us grow up struggling with conflicting expectations from mainstream institutions, our elders, our religious communities, and our ethnic traditions. Certain cultural and/or religious expectations, especially related to gender, gender identity, and sexuality can cause us to feel ashamed, shut down, or hide our true magnificent selves. Therefore, I can support you in making peace with cultural and/or religious expectations to help resolve your inner and interpersonal conflicts to be able to harmoniously integrate your values into your life and embrace your authentic self.
Therapy for Anxiety & Depression
At first, your anxiety and/or depression started out so small that you could tolerate the mild interference. Then, at some point, this invisible, mental affliction seemed to take hold and became a key feature in your life. The unique way this disturbance shows up in you makes you feel uncertain about your ability to fulfill your responsibilities and be present in your relationships. It may appear when you’re around certain activating situations or may just linger on and on. I provide therapy to address the roots of your depression and/or anxiety, while helping you find healthy coping mechanisms that work for you. You will also gain skills to manage with emotional triggers so that you can more confidently move through the world and live the life that you want.
Therapy for Emotional Trauma
Traumatic events from the past can bring up raw, big emotions and physical sensations in such a way that your concentration, mood, and sense of safety feel hijacked. A natural response after experiencing traumatic events is to avoid reminders of those events, leaving you feeling continually wounded. You may feel overly anxious, angry, sad, and/or detached from your relationships. Trauma-focused therapy can help pack away those memories in a way that recalling them or experiencing reminders no longer carries so much power. I approach processing emotional trauma gently by drawing from Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and offer Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) as appropriate. Trauma-focused care starts with strengthening your sense of safety here and now, identifying your effective coping strategies for stress, and finally processing the hurtful events when you’re ready. The goal is to help you put the memories away in a way that restores your power.
Therapy for Teens
Having a safe place and a confidant to work through issues can be incredibly freeing, especially when you are feeling emotionally overwhelmed. As a young person, you’re figuring out who you are and building your future, while balancing responsibilities and relationships at school, home, and in your community. Let’s face it, there’s a lot going on in your life and in your mind! It’s no surprise that you and your peers often struggle with anxiety and depression, and many of you are impacted by traumatic events. Often, the feelings and emotions you experience can be very difficult to handle and even hard to explain. I’m ready to work with you. As someone with years of experience working with youth, I know that your age group can be under a great amount of stress and may not have a lot of control over the causes. In therapy, I’ll help you with processing your past experiences, solving present problems together, and learning self-regulation and communication skills to have a healthier future. Your mental health is impacted by your relationships with yourself, your family, and your peers. Therefore, I will work with you so you can better deal with conflicts, have difficult conversations with confidence, and advocate for yourself.
Background, Education, and Training
I have been working primarily with adults – individuals, couples, and families since joining YCC in the fall of 2022. Before YCC, I was a clinician in the community mental health setting providing individual and family therapy, as well as case management services, to adolescents and young adults of diverse backgrounds who were experiencing moderate to severe mental and behavioral health challenges. My prior years of working in the Public Health field form my foundational awareness about environmental and social determinants of health. Complementary insights I gained while working on my Master’s in Social Work affirmed my approach of seeing clients within their social, environmental, and historical experience, rather than assuming that their mental health problems are rooted solely in clients’ minds.
The most important factor in good therapy is the connection between the client and the therapist.
I invite you to schedule a session with me today!
Registered California Board of Behavioral Sciences Number: ACSW 105636
Supervised by Nadia Islam, PhD, LCSW 24725