Q&A with Yoni, Psychologist
Interview by Maddison Fisher, UNSW psychology undergraduate completing an internship at Inlight Psychology.
Co-written by Dr Liza Chervonsky, Principal Clinical Psychologist and Director of Inlight Psychology.
Yoni is a very warm, engaging, and compassionate psychologist working at Inlight Psychology, Bondi Junction. His approach has a good balance of strategy work with deeper exploration of core issues, and he uses a mixture of ACT, DBT, and CBT.
Yoni is a trauma-informed therapist and works with a variety of presentations, including anxiety, mood, anger, trauma, relationships, eating disorders, personality disorders, drugs and alcohol, and more.
Yoni works well with people of different ages, backgrounds, genders, and sexual orientations.
Q: What do you love most about being a psychologist?
A: I love being able to have a deeper understanding of people’s thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and internal experiences. I believe it is a privilege to be able to enter people’s inner worlds and hear about things that they might have never shared with anyone else before. Sometimes there is a lot of shame sitting underneath the surface and I do my best to help my clients feel safe in opening up to me.
Q: What do you think might surprise someone about working as a psychologist?
A: I think the breadth of client issues would surprise some people. Generally, there is a strong perception that therapy is only for those who have something in them that is “broken” or needing “fixing”, when in actuality it is much more multifaceted. More often than not, I also discuss hopes, dreams, values, and overall wellbeing. It is about creating a balance between working on the psychological difficulties and generating overall increased wellbeing.
Q: You clearly get along very well with your clients. What do you think helps you in that?
A: I think one of the most important things in creating a positive therapeutic relationship is showing that I am a human with equal footing to my client. I try to be as authentic as possible, and this in turn helps the clients feel like they can be authentic and genuine with me as well. When appropriate, I sometimes share a few small details about some similar experiences I may have gone through, so I can normalise the thoughts and emotions surrounding this experience. I believe this helps in creating a greater sense of safety and comfort within my clients.
Q: If you could dispel one myth about mental health, what would it be?
A: People often feel that they are to blame for their mental health difficulties and that the development of a mental health condition is some sort of personal defect. They often come into therapy already feeling a sense of shame about their personal challenges, which in turn creates more of a sense of urgency that they need to “fix” themselves as soon as possible. It’s a lot of internal pressure and blame. However, there are so many factors that can contribute to one’s circumstance, some of which may be in their control but a lot of which aren’t. Some examples of situations that are unhelpful to blame oneself for include: upbringing and the way one was parented, traumatic experiences, the social environment one grew up in, one’s human strengths and limitations, temperament, and underlying physical or health conditions. When you take all this into account, there is a lot less to blame in oneself. My favourite framework is that nothing is your fault, but it is now 100% your responsibility. This is simply taking away shame from the past but giving control to the present and the future.
Q: What would you like your clients to know about you before they meet you?
A: One important approach that I take in therapy is reducing the “struggle” or resistance that many feel towards their difficult internal experiences. Most of the time, our initial emotional responses are beyond our control. For example, if a car races past you just as you are about to step onto the road, you might find yourself shocked and filled with adrenaline. This is a natural reaction that is completely outside of your control. It is your secondary response (i.e. how you react to yourself and your emotion, once it has been triggered) that you have much more control over. If you become angry and berate yourself for having felt the anxiety in the first place, you are resisting or struggling with your internal experience. If you accept and allow that shock to appear and pass naturally, you are far less likely to feel long-term suffering from that emotion.
My approach involves taking away the struggle and resistance, and instead refocusing attention on carrying out behaviour that is in line with your values. We have limited control over our initial reactions, but we have much more control over the behaviour we carry out.
Q: What are your experiences as a male psychologist? Do you see more males or females?
A: My clientele is split quite evenly with gender. From my experience, when it comes to effectiveness of the therapy, gender seems to play less of a role and is less influential than the general personality dynamics and therapeutic relationship between myself and my clients. I think the bigger gender issue is that men often feel more stigma in going to therapy and in expressing their feelings. Although these unhelpful masculinity ideals are slowly fading, it is still a very real fear and concern to many men.
INLIGHT PSYCHOLOGY | BONDI JUNCTION
Yoni works at Inlight Psychology, which is situated in the heart of Bondi Junction. We have a lovely team of experienced and compassionate psychologists, all with tertiary qualifications in Clinical Psychology. The team sees a variety of concerns, including anxiety, mood, interpersonal and relationship difficulties, men's and women's issues, trauma, personality disorders, anger issues, emotion regulation difficulties, perinatal issues, sexuality and gender concerns, and many more!
If you would like to learn more about the team at Inlight Psychology, click here.
If you would like to book an appointment, please don’t hesitate to contact Inlight Psychology on (02) 8320 0566 or firstname.lastname@example.org.