Psychotherapy Blog


Anastasia Piatakhina Gire

Anastasia Piatakhina Gire was born and raised in Saint Petersbourg (Russia), and, before moving to Paris, lived and studied in Italy, Great Britain and Spain. Her experience of evolving abroad, together with her multicultural marriage and trilingual family, makes her particularly sensitive to the sort of issues experienced by people living in a different country than that of their origin, or those who are part of a mixed couple. Life away from home and family brings along quite specific psychological challenges. An expat herself, she is passionate about fellow travelers. As a writer, she has been writing scenarios since 2006 for television and cinema, and has always felt fascinated by people’s stories.

Why Clients Choose Online Therapy

Posted by Anastasia Piatakhina Gire on 2/9/17 - 2:26 PM
When I think about why clients choose online therapy, the first intuitive answer that comes to mind is about convenience: the comfort of being in your own office or home, no travel necessary, the time saved, and the possibility to have sessions during a work trip or a holiday. For many of my clients online therapy was the only practical option. For example, I have worked with refugees or expats unable to find a therapist speaking their language within reachable distance....

Dreamwork in Stereo

Posted by Anastasia Piatakhina Gire on 9/15/16 - 4:16 PM
Have you ever struggled to share your dream with somebody in the morning? What seemed most vivid and realistic just a moment ago, when verbalized, turns into senseless gibberish, doesn’t it? What about adding another difficulty to recounting a dream, namely telling it in a foreign language? Which of their languages to use is a dilemma faced by many of my multilingual clients in therapy. It may also open doors that neither they nor I would have dreamt of. Francesca was Italian, living...

The Multiple Languages of Therapy

Posted by Anastasia Piatakhina Gire on 4/26/16 - 4:20 PM
We only had one therapy session with Inna. It ended with the bubbly feeling for me of a “perfect fit” that I get when I intuit that good work can be done with a prospective client. We had the same cultural background and four fluent languages in common. It was the first time I saw such a fit in my therapy room, in fact. Maybe too perfect a fit, as I was to find out later. Inna shared her experience of displacement,...

Look at me!

Posted by Anastasia Piatakhina Gire on 2/16/16 - 1:22 PM
Many people struggle to fully meet their therapist’s eyes the beginning. Particularly those who are shy or introverted. The warmth, care, interest or love that we may perceive in a therapist’s compassionate gaze may seem “too much” or even unbearable for many who missed or never received it from their original caretakers. Rachel was my first therapy client totally unable to tolerate the eye contact during a session. The first time we met, this lack of eye contact made me sense her...

House Call Revival

Posted by Anastasia Piatakhina Gire on 2/4/16 - 1:16 PM
Welcome to my house. We had been meeting for a month already, but this was the first time Nick connected from his flat for our weekly online psychotherapy session. Because of our time difference—I am based in Europe, and Nick lives in the US, we were usually connecting during his early morning hours. I was by now fairly familiar with his work surroundings: a small office cubicle, neon lights, grey doors shut tight. This time everything was different, and Nick looked younger and...

A Little Girl in a Dark Corner

Posted by Anastasia Piatakhina Gire on 11/17/15 - 12:18 PM
Some mornings Nora would wake up, and the little girl would be there. She would always be curled up in the darkest corner of the room, concealed behind the curtains. Her un-natural white skin, her bare feet, and a part of her burgundy-red dress would be clearly visible in the early morning light. She looked wicked, and the very fact of her presence in the room seemed uncanny. But at the same time, Nora felt a compelling desire, almost a necessity,...

Hide-and-Seek in Online Therapy

Posted by Anastasia Piatakhina Gire on 9/22/15 - 2:42 PM
I thought we had our session today… My client Jane was right, I had just missed the therapy session we had booked. It had not happened to me before, and I felt guilty. Online therapists know how the virtual and body-less nature of the encounter makes it easier to fail each other, be it for the client, or for the therapist. The precious relational tissue seems even more fragile. I always attend to mending these ruptures as well as I can, but...


Posted by Anastasia Piatakhina Gire on 6/23/15 - 2:56 PM
There are places I’ll remember all my life. —I was born in a small Russian town, a very cold and dirty place. This was one of the first things Anna shared about herself in a long introductory email reaching out to me for online psychotherapy. In this description of her native town, I could sense her sad childhood: a lack of emotional warmth and possibly some neglect. The way people describe their early surroundings usually tells something significant about their life story. We developed early...

Je T'aime...Me Neither

Posted by Anastasia Piatakhina Gire on 5/5/15 - 7:27 PM
This couple therapy session was the last chance before Anna and Guy’s upcoming wedding in Paris. They had reached out to me for a premarital counselling session via Skype, knowing that I was working with mixed couples. Their situation, as Anna exposed it to me in her short email, needed to be addressed with some urgency: they were due to get married in the town hall of Guy’s native Paris within two weeks, and Anna still had serious doubts about her...

Losing the Couch: Finding the "Sacred Place" in Online Therapy

Posted by Anastasia Piatakhina Gire on 4/28/15 - 7:29 PM
I clearly remember my very first visit to my British psychotherapist. She used to receive her patients in her conservatory. Her dogs sometimes got impatient and produced considerable clatter, which I could clearly hear from inside the house. The front door would be unlocked. Clients just had to push the gate to get through an unkempt garden into the peculiar therapy room. She would be already comfortably sitting there in the same old chair, and a flowery cup of tea...
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