Hello! My name is Dana Sockolov, and I am an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist. The power of therapy has played such a vital role in my own life and my hope is that you will have this experience too.
At Estes Therapy, I enjoy working with all aspects of relationships – from strongly committed couples to folks in open relationships. When couples are in conflict with their significant other(s), it can feel very scary, but when the connection and communication are flowing, they can breathe a lot easier. But, I also love individual therapy! I am here to help you gain the tools to get through feelings of anxiety, depression, loss, life transitions, and overwhelm.
Although we may not have the same story, I know what it’s like to experience darkness. For many years, I was in the grips of an addiction to drugs and alcohol, and an eating disorder. On the outside, my life looked great, but I was slowly dying inside. I watched two of my family members find a life of recovery and I am grateful every day that I knew where to get help when I was ready. Therapy has been a pillar in my life and I love that I get to be part of that journey for someone else. It is an honor.
A bit of background about me: I received my master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Alliant International University. During this time, I worked with couples, individuals, and high-risk teens, and I ran a weekly domestic violence group for men. Before becoming a therapist, I was an Addictions Counselor, and I worked with women who were referred by Child Welfare Services and probation.
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) Externship®
Essentials of CBT, Beck Institute
Domestic Violence Counselor Training
Certificate of Achievement in Alcohol and Other Drug Studies
Fundamentals of LGBTQIA+ Affirmative Therapy
Polyamorous Clients in Therapy
When did you decide to go into Marriage and Family Therapy?
I was exposed to the benefits of therapy early on in my life, as my family navigated through addiction and mental health struggles. I became fascinated with human behavior and wanted to understand everything that influenced people-their biology, psychology, social influences, and spiritual preferences.
In 2013, I had just moved to San Diego and I applied to graduate school for marriage and family therapy. During my interview with one of the universities, they suggested I become an addictions counselor first since my passion was in substance-abuse treatment at the time. I loved working in addiction, but I felt incredibly limited in my scope of practice. When the pandemic hit, it felt like the perfect opportunity to go back to school and pursue my master’s in marriage and family therapy.
Do you have advice for someone who is considering counseling?
People tend to love seeing their therapist. There is something powerful that happens when you share with another human being, more specifically, someone who doesn’t already know you and is a trained professional. Therapy is a process, which offers so many benefits, such as help with relationships and communication, social and emotional connection, self-discovery, and frankly, many other benefits that will be specific to you. I can guarantee you that with the right therapist, it will never be as scary as you imagined!
What would you say to someone who is nervous about setting up their first counseling session with you?
I know what it’s like to be nervous to see a therapist for the first time. I’ve been there! Before I found my therapist whom I’ve been with for seven years now, I saw two other therapists first, that were not a good fit. It happens! My approach is very down to earth and I will show up ready and excited to be with you. It is absolutely a safe space for you to be your true, authentic self.
How do you pass your time when you are not working with clients?
I am a full-time mom! My husband and I brought our son into this world in April 2022. My days look a lot different now and consist of playing with toys, spending time at the park, taking walks, running errands, and meeting up with other mom friends. Community is one of the most important elements in my life! I love sharing a meal with friends and laughing hysterically during game night. For many years, I have had a consistent yoga and meditation practice. I also love Pilates, snowboarding, rock climbing, and traveling!
If you were not a therapist, what would you be doing?
Without a doubt, I would still be in the mental health field, whether it’s as a program director or starting my own treatment facility for addiction/mental health. I can’t imagine my life outside of this field!