Ken is a mental health counselor, meditation coach, fitness trainer, decorated Iraq War veteran, former professional Muay Thai kickboxer, recovery diver, survivalist, martial arts researcher, University of New Orleans Doctoral Candidate, and Therapy Evolved Podcast co-host with over 30 countries' travel experience across 4 continents (from the jungles of Ecuador to the steppes of Ukraine). Whether practicing East Coast Swing and Latin dance, SCUBA diving with sharks, leaping from airplanes, or struggling to hold onto the reins of a galloping horse, Ken is a lover of adventure and collector of experiences.
"Counseling to me is the greatest adventure. When clients discover how to align their passion and purpose, obstacles get turned into stepping stones for even greater opportunities."
Ken's Approach to therapy
A full-spectrum, biopsychosocial approach is necessary. I hold to the principle of effectiveness through simplicity. In our work, we use science first, then strategy, and then philosophy for what needs remain unfulfilled.
Clients should find working with me especially beneficial if they have tried any number of methods (therapy, psychiatric medications, other coping skills) already without success. I pride myself on finding mutual solutions with those who believe their situation to be hopeless.
The beauty and limitation of talk therapy's investigative process is its openness to interpretation. To simplify the process as much as such a thing can be done, let's look at the obvious biology to see if we can't affect emotional change through physical action before we have to get complicated and interpretive: How you eat[when, what, for how long, how much], sleep, exercise, breathe, the temperature and duration of your showers, the pattern of your commute, the set up of your work environment, are all little pieces of the puzzle we can move around to build a better picture together.
When physical processes alone do not quite address concerns fully, we move to strategies and tactics to help you optimize the moving parts of your lifestyle that are a bit more complicated than the work required to care for your human machine. This might look like implementing meditation to clear space for action-oriented thinking. It might look like reviewing communication strategies to manage relationships better. In the way thoughts and habits frame action and then emotion, there are so many tools at your disposal that can be cleaned up and woven together to improve lifestyle.
With that being said, all the personal systems and lifestyle behaviors in the world may not be sufficient to clear the troubles of the mind in and of themselves. This is where classical counseling comes into play. Drawing patterns and themes from a shared story, making meaning that is driven from the client's self-exploration, and creating a supportive, honest, and energizing environment can all work toward a person lining up their passion and purpose so they might drive toward a fulfilling life.
From humble origins in Eastern Europe, Desislava has risen to pursue a career in mental health counseling, where she currently is in the final stages of her PhD. Desi is a mental health counselor, world traveler, tennis enthusiast, ski bunny, former gymnast, aspiring fashionista, and reluctant equestrian.
“Counseling is a path to guide others toward the inner voice that already rests within. Through self-discovery, my clients cultivate awareness that drives them to awaken their dreams and live with a clear and profound purpose.”
Desi’s Approach to Therapy
The innovations of our modern world bring new forms of stress while intensifying those which already exist. Hours of the day are spent in grueling stop and go traffic, and to advance one’s education or career often requires uprooting from what is known and setting up in a completely new place. People are working more hours than ever before, while cost of living, overpopulation, and globalization heighten the stress of just trying to get by. With change comes the pain of adapting to the way the world is now, often so different from just a few short years ago.
Much of my clinical experience involves working with women's issues, such as divorce, empty nest syndrome, and self-esteem concerns. My specialty in doctoral research focuses on struggles with the stress of relocation and immigration for educational or career purposes.
Whether you have had to relocate to get an education or career, or if you are now reeling from the struggles of spending the earlier stages of life surviving such a pressure cooker of an environment, we have common ground for further exploration. Through application of cognitive, behavioral, and clinical existential methods, we can work together to identify priorities, and align your next goals with a vision of where you would like to see your life heading.
I view counseling as a process of improving well-being rather than merely mitigating problems to get by. In this process, I provide a supportive and focused atmosphere where the depth of issues can be explored without judgment or imposition of external demands and expectations. Being effective at driving change isn’t sufficient unless you the client can feel open to travel the journey at your own pace.