Yelena Kilgore, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) who is passionate about providing therapy to children, adolescents, and families. In addition to adoption-related topics, she specializes in the provision of evidenced-based treatment for a range of psychological difficulties including depression, anxiety, low self-esteem/cultural identity, relationship difficulties, and family stress. Ms. Kilgore blends Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) with an interpersonal process in therapy. She believes that the key to effective treatment begins with the quality of the relationship and connection between a therapist and client, as well as an inherent interest in understanding what drives our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Ms. Kilgore fuses her natural ability to empathize and offer unconditional positive regard with an interactive and warm therapeutic style to help guide her clients towards building self-awareness, and ultimately, in realizing their own worth and abilities.
Ms. Kilgore began her career as a clinical therapist at an inpatient psychiatric facility providing individual, group and family therapy. She has also worked in private practice. She earned her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Maryland and her undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia. Her clinical internships included community mental health and psychotherapy training at Catholic University Counseling Center. Yelena was born in Uzbekistan and is fluent in Russian.
Yelena is our “Therapist Spotlight” in our January 2020 e-newsletter. Below she shares her thoughts on the importance of therapeutic relationships:
Q: How do you develop the kind of relationship with your clients to help them better understand themselves and build self-esteem?
A: What makes a patient and their therapist click and what is it that makes therapy successful? Clinicians from all schools of thought continue to develop new, novel and improved ways to help those in need. These techniques vary in theory, assumptions and in their execution. The relationship, better known as the ‘therapeutic relationship’ or ‘working alliance’ between a therapist and client reflect the feelings and attitudes that they have for each other as well as how those sentiments are expressed.
The therapeutic relationship is extremely important for two reasons. First, the therapeutic relationship provides a space that enables a therapist to peek into the client’s outside world. Second, the strength of the relationship creates a safe place for the development of the client’s new beliefs and behaviors.
One of the key components contributing to success in therapy is the therapist’s engagement and connection with the client. Establishing trust and rapport is essential to developing a strong connection with the client. Building this connection is associated with attachment theory in that the alliance relieves anxiety resulting in the kind of relationship that empowers the client to make changes. Connection and relationship are complimentary; without one, the other is difficult to develop. It is the strength of the alliance that results in positive treatment outcome.
With this fundamental understanding of the relationship being the vehicle for change, I blend Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) with an interpersonal process in therapy. My focus is on the quality of the relationship and connection between myself and my client, as well as my inherent interest in understanding what drives my client’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. I fuse my natural ability to empathize and offer unconditional positive regard with an interactive and warm therapeutic style to help guide my clients towards building self-awareness, and ultimately, in realizing their own worth and abilities.