My Background – Larisa Garski
While some children are drawn to colors or sounds, I was drawn to emotions and the variety of ways human beings express them. As I grew, people began to seek me out. Initially, I thought they were looking for advice. But in time I came to understand that rather than seeking advice, most were searching for a compassionate person to walk with them during times of struggle.
I became a therapist because I am passionate about using my emotional attunement to help people learn how to connect and heal within a safe therapeutic space. During times of transition, it’s normal to experience heightened levels of stress, emotional depletion, and an inability to connect with people and activities that were once restorative. Therapy can provide the safe and supportive space that you need to clarify your goals, reflect on your past, and move towards a new future.
I specialize in the following areas: Geek-focused narrative therapy, anxiety/depression treatment, relationship therapy, couples therapy, co-parenting counseling, and family therapy. These specialty areas grew as a direct result of my interest in relational groups and families. Whether I am providing treatment to a teenager struggling to balance screen time with home/school/social commitments, counseling a divorced couple on ways to effectively co-parent their young children, or guiding a young woman as she grapples with a chronic medical diagnosis, relationships and their ability to hurt or heal are a focal point of our work together. Therapy provides a supportive space to learn and practice the tools and skills that will help you both connect with and find your supportive community outside of the therapy office.
I am fully committed to my clients. I genuinely care and am deeply respectful of the healing work that we do together in therapy. I like to incorporate mindful breath work, play based coping strategies, and narrative symbolism into our work. Story has the power to shape our understanding of ourselves, our community, and our place in the world. Stories or fandoms can provide powerful tools that help us to realize the change we want to see in our lives.
As a recent transplant to the Chicago area, I understand both the chaos and joy that transitions can bring. In my own life, I strive to balance my introverted joys – gaming, reading, walks with my trusted canine sidekick, Meronym – with my extroverted interests – brunch with friends, yoga, group movie nights. Whether personally or professionally, I believe that new people and experiences are what enable us to grow and thrive as people.
Chicago therapist Larisa A. Garski is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of Illinois. She holds a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and a certificate in Marriage & Family Therapy from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She completed her undergraduate degree in French and English literature at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Larisa provided both technical and research expertise as an assistant to Justine Mastin’s presentation at the 2016 Minnesota Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Fall Conference. She is a chapter author of an upcoming book in the Popular Culture Psychology Series. At Empowered, Larisa provides a variety of services to couples, families, and individuals including Geek-focused narrative therapy, relationship counseling, couples counseling, anxiety treatment, and depression therapy.