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Masha Kartashev, LGMFT

Therapist

My Passion Is Working With Individuals, Couples, Children, And Families

My background has given me a unique perspective on life. I was born and raised in Russia and then emigrated to Israel to study and work as a child psychologist. From there, I moved to the U.S. and earned my second Master’s degree in couples and family therapy before entering private practice.

Not only have my life experiences made me incredibly adaptable, but the respect and humility I have for our changing world have influenced the therapist I am today. I welcome individuals, couples, as well as families and children into my practice. In particular, I love working with older clients who oftentimes are overlooked in therapeutic work.

Working With Individuals

Even when clients seek one-on-one therapy, focusing on one’s significant relationships can be extremely beneficial, including the therapeutic relationship we develop with each other. We will seek to better understand how the client’s inner life developed and how these influences may now negatively impact thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. I refrain from offering simplistic solutions and instead encourage my clients to speak the unspoken and explore the complexities and paradoxes of their lives.

Working With Children And Families

I utilize play therapy to connect with children—it is as a vehicle for them to reveal what they’re feeling in a non-intimidating way. Play itself can be very healing because it gives experiential space for children to explore their inner world and express whatever difficulties they may be experiencing.

Part of children’s therapy is providing parenting guidance to parents. I have experience helping couples manage their differences around parenting and get on the same page. Depending on preference, I offer therapy to parents separately or with the whole family.

Group therapy allows us to explore how the family system functions and identify where strengths and difficulties exist. Whether it’s helping families who are all adults find ways to process their past and build stronger relationships in the present or families with adolescents who need support navigating the transition to adulthood, I can help.

Working With Couples

Although we live in a society that places enormous expectations on romantic partnerships, many couples feel alone in the presence of one another. Sadly, they feel disconnected and resentful. I help clients find their way beyond the labels of “Doer” and “Done To”. Together we identify ways for them to collaborate successfully while maintaining a healthy balance between connection and independence. I apply an attachment-focused approach particularly using Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) when working with couples.

My Approach To Therapy

I believe in the power of authentic, vulnerable engagement and recognize the energy and bravery the therapeutic interaction between client and therapist requires. That is why I start by meeting clients where they are. Together we will create a comfortable and secure space to explore how the past informs the present, discovering the connections of how it may inform current difficulties. Lasting change begins when clients can first identify the underlying reasons for their difficulties, define what their goals for therapy are, and then seek ways to accomplish these goals.

My exposure to different cultures allows me to see that there is no right or wrong way to live life. When it comes to therapy, I take a non-judgmental stance and have respect for my client’s choices. First and foremost, my emphasis is to cultivate a strong therapeutic relationship with clients that is built on trust. Ensuring that they feel comfortable with the process is how they can gradually progress toward deep emotional work in therapy. By remaining open and flexible in my approach, it allows us to explore their desires for therapy without any restrictions. My appreciation for differing social and cultural contexts has made me more open-minded ad non- judgmental which is reflected in my work with clients.

By applying my own experience with relationships and knowledge of the human psyche to therapy, I feel confident I can help clients. Remaining vulnerable alongside my clients requires and admitting that I might not know something requires courage and ensures I stay connected to their needs. This vulnerability continues to help me be more aware of myself and more empathetic toward others. I aim to make a meaningful connection that fosters warmth, compassion, and empathy.

A Little More About Me

Outside of my practice, I enjoy making art, painting, sewing, and figure sculpture. I also enjoy drag art as a way to explore gender and sexuality. I travel a lot and have learned how to do it in a way that feels good to me. I enjoy spending time with my wonderful friends and family, cooking, eating, joking, and having meaningful conversations.

Clinical Trainings

Emotionally Focused Therapy Externship- The International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy

Emotionally Focused Therapy Core Skills- The International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy

Masha Kartashev (she/her) is a Licensed Graduate Marriage and Family Therapist (LGMFT) based in Ellicott City, Maryland. After initially receiving a master’s degree of arts in Child Clinical Psychology from the Academic College of Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Masha went on to receive an additional master’s degree of science in Couple and Family Therapy from the University of Maryland. She gained experience while working as a child psychologist for Israel Public Health Services in Tel Aviv, Israel. Masha is fluent in English, Hebrew, and Russian.