Accelerated Counseling An Innovative Approach to Emotional Healing
ody, mind, and spirit—are these separate entities or interconnected aspects of one whole self? Stress and emotional pain can lead to physical symptoms and, at the same time, physical distress can cause psychological imbalances. New techniques in the field of psychotherapy seek to treat the mind, body and spirit together to achieve the best possible results. Svetla Popova, a licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC), seeks to integrate these methods in her practice, Accelerated Counseling, in Portland. Since 2001, Popova has worked in private practice with clients of different ages—children, teenagers and adults. Popova was born and raised in Bulgaria by her mother, an elementary school teacher, and her father, a mathematician. “They took me hiking in the mountains, introduced me to nature, music and science,” she recalls. “They have been the greatest influence on me.” In 1988 she immigrated to Portland, Maine, and began working at the juvenile correctional facility, now called
Svetla Popova Long Creek Youth Development Center. Popova enjoyed her career there as a training school counselor until 1995, when she was injured on the job. “I realized I was getting older and couldn’t continue working in that environment,” she recalls. “But I enjoyed working with the kids. So I applied for USM and was accepted there.” In 1999 she graduated with a master’s degree in clinical counseling. In 2001 she
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completed her level I and II Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) training and opened a part-time private practice. During that time she also worked at Crossroads, a residential program for women afflicted with substance-abuse problems, and later at SMART Child and Family Services in Windham. But in 2006, she was laid off from SMART. “The agency needed to shrink, and I was one of the shrunk ones,” she explains. “That happened to be a very good thing … because I was able to go into private practice full-time, which is what I always wanted to do.” In her counseling practice, Popova incorporates EMDR, Reiki, and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to achieve quick and profound results. EMDR is a non-invasive psychotherapy technique that helps people reprocess emotionally traumatic experiences by connecting people’s thoughts, feelings and body sensations while applying bilateral stimulation in the brain. “Left, right, left, right eye movements, tapping or other stimuli,” Popova describes. “And people come out with a different understanding of things that happened to them. … People remember without being bowled over by the emotion of the event.” She draws on the hypothetical example of a person in an abusive relationship who can’t break away: “If they are petrified, that petrification gets melted away and they can become active in taking care of themselves, so they can take care of the problem or get away from it. And this happens very quickly.” Reiki is a gentle, touch-based energy therapy used to support healing of mind, body and spirit. Popova started Reiki training in 2006 and was deeply moved by the experience. “I had the epiphany
In this issue of Natural Awakenings, we bring the spirit of the holidays to life! Let us find joy in ourselves. Let us awaken!