The fact that you’re on my page proves that you’re a courageous and resilient person. Whether you’re still contemplating therapy, or you’ve already taken the decision and are trying to find the right therapist, this step is the first towards becoming a better you and taking control of your life.
Therapy is a major decision and requires commitment and consistency which, due to our busy lives, we struggle to maintain. Therapy requires the individual, couple or family to engage in a process that would elicit change. We all agree that change might be stressful and uncomfortable at times; who wants to get out of their comfort zone and try something new? I personally understand that taking the decision to come see a therapist is not easy and engaging in personal and vulnerable talks can be very challenging. I assure you that I’m a very empathetic therapist and I’ll try my best to create a safe space where you feel heard and validated.
Life is full of challenges. It is very normal to face obstacles every day that increase our stress level and cause us to get depleted. You might be experiencing stressful moments at work, conflictual relationship with your partner, difficulties maintaining relationships or parenting your kids, issues with self-esteem or emotional regulation, feelings of loneliness and unworthiness, or difficulties dealing with transitions. It’s hard to deal with all this in isolation. The good news is that there’s help and I’m here to support you in feeling better and attaining your goals in life – I work in collaboration with you. We discuss your goals and set a plan to achieve them. We always evaluate the progress and change our goals accordingly. I focus a lot on strengths and always encourage you to gain ownership of the change.
As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I believe everyone has a unique history rooted in their family of origin. Each individual draws upon experiences, roles, expectations and behaviors from their family of origin to guide them through life and their own relationships. Individuals constantly recreate unresolved issues in their family of origin which leads them to get stuck in negative and unhealthy patterns of interactions. I will help you learn more about those patterns and will guide you through a journey to discover more about yourself and your family which will help you gain insight and understand how you developed your relationship style, your parenting style, your ways of dealing with emotions, and your ways of perceiving yourself and others.
I am a big fan of emotional awareness. I take it slow and make sure you are comfortable going there. Talking about emotions could be a big taboo. Dealing with primary emotions such as fear, loneliness, shame, guilt etc. could be hard and challenging for many, which is why people tend to rely on secondary emotions such as anger to mask vulnerable feelings. If you’re a couple, I will help you learn a lot about each other and learn how to express those repressed emotions which will decrease defensiveness and increase openness and acceptance. I will facilitate moments where you as a partner feel heard. I will help you communicate better with your significant other which will decrease conflicts and encourage better understanding and healthier problem solving.
A brief background about myself
Kristelle Mallah is a Lebanese name that most people fail to pronounce right. I am used to it so I won’t get offended if you did not say it right. I am an immigrant who left her country and decided to take a risk and start her life in a new place. I am bilingual; fluent in Arabic and English.
Initially, I came to the United States to major in Marriage and Family therapy. In Lebanon I graduated with a degree in psychology. I started my career as a special educator and worked with special needs kids. Later I transitioned to counseling kids with behavioral issues. Throughout my career, I discovered that working with kids alone will not help attain the desired goal, which is how I gained interest in systemic therapy. I picked Drexel as it has a great program and the professors there were trained by pioneers in the field. The journey was not easy, transitioning was challenging, I felt homesick most of the time and had little support at the beginning. However, what made things easier was the fact that at Drexel the focus was becoming a culturally sensitive Therapist. I can honestly say that eased my anxiety of being different. I really felt accepted and loved for my differences. Throughout my journey, I met my husband and decided to settle here for good.
During my internships and jobs, I always worked with different populations and dealt with various presenting problems including trauma, depression, anxiety, communication issues, parenting issues, behavioral issues. I provided therapy for children, families, and couples in homes, schools and community. I use structural family therapy when working with families to help them acquire better ways of interacting with one another and help parents practice healthier parenting styles. When working with couples I use structural and emotion focused therapy to help them learn better ways of relating and communicating with one another I also use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help clients modify dysfunctional emotions, behaviors and thoughts.
I am not only a systemic and culturally sensitive therapist who helps people learn and practice healthy ways to interact with one another, but I am a wife and a mother of a fantastic daughter who uses her experiences to empathize and relate to families and couples’ struggles.
Therapy will not only help you thrive and attain your goals, but it will help me learn and grow on both personal and professional levels.