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Meet Galina Thomas of Follow Your Heart Counseling in North Houston

Today we’d like to introduce you to Galina Thomas.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Galina. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I grew up in Russia and came here, to the US as an adult – to marry my husband. We both came from “not so perfect backgrounds” (to put it mildly) and at the beginning of our relationship we struggled to build good life for us and our two daughters. I had to do a lot of my own growing and learning to be able to create life and marriage I wanted. In the process, I’ve learned so much about people and relationships, what makes it work and what keeps love alive that at some point I’ve realized that I have a lot to give. I learned to be happy and felt that I want to help others to find their way back to each other and create loving and harmonious relationships.

So, I went back to school and became marriage and family therapist. This is my third or fourth career and hopefully the last one.

I have my own private practice and work mostly with couples (though I see individuals as well). I really love what I do and it’s an incredible honor and pleasure to see couples rekindling their love for each other and getting closer, learning to be a better couple.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
My road was not as smooth as I would like it to be. To start with, I had to keep my day job when I went back to school and at some point, I actually had two jobs and school. And it was very tiring. Also, I finished my internship hours (3000 hours) in California where we lived at the time and then we moved here, to Houston and I lost almost half of my hours. So, I had to do another 1500 hours of internship.

As a result, the whole process of getting educated and licensed took me almost 12 years, more than the majority of other folks. However, I don’t regret anything, it taught me that I have more resilience and determination than I’ve ever thought possible.

Follow Your Heart Counseling – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I have my own private practice and I am the “one man (or rather woman 🙂 ) shop”. I work a lot with couples – conflicts, lack of intimacy, lack of communication, separation. In addition to it, I also have a lot of experience working with substance abuse issues, codependency, history of trauma, anxiety, and depression.

What is different about my approach is that coming from a technical background (my first education was in engineering and then I was a programmer for 15 years) I bring somewhat a unique perspective on human nature. I see a lot of similarity between programming, human brain, and mind (both computer and the brain can be reprogrammed!). Plus, I absolutely love to learn the latest and the newest approaches to therapy and I am constantly incorporating new research and ideas in my work. I guess it’s this “scientist” in me which never died.

Also, I’ve studied intensively one of the modern therapeutic modalities, Systemic Family Constellations (originated in Germany) which gave me a very broad, systemic view of relationships and bonds in a family. This approach creates an exceptionally deep understanding of “trans-generational” nature of our struggles, gives a new perspective on where problems come from and how to heal them. It’s a very powerful method. I am one of 2-3 Family Constellations facilitators in Houston and the only one who conducts monthly workshops.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
When after 11 years of school, endless internship hours, numerous training, moving to another state and city, I finally got licensed and opened my own office. I can’t describe the feeling!

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