Get to Know

Your Counselor

Barbara Vehabovic

MA, LMHC

Deciding to seek therapy can be a hard step to take because it means facing your problems rather than running away from them. When we experience uncomfortable emotions, our instinct a lot of the time is to avoid it and convince ourselves (as well as others) that we're okay. This may lead to short-term relief, however, we often don't realize that it also leads to long-term growth of the issue. This is one way we end up in vicious cycles of depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. My passion is to assist individuals with breaking this cycle by gaining new perspectives on their situations and life in general. Your current situation is NOT your permanent destination.

I believe that vulnerability is a source of strength and courage rather than weakness because it's the harder thing to do. It's easy to bottle things inside and push them away, whereas actually facing our fears, anxieties, traumas, and past experiences, takes some real courage. As Brene Brown says, “Imperfections are not inadequacies, they are reminders that we are all in this together.” We all have our own flaws and we don't always know how to handle things that don't go as planned. We don't always make the right decisions and we all make mistakes. However, even when it may feel like the universe is against you, you're not alone. As human beings, we all have the potential to grow, to build inner strength and resiliency, to overcome hardships, and to shine our own light. Sometimes we just need a little guidance and support and my aspiration is to help individuals feel understood, feel worthy, feel good enough and ultimately build personal empowerment in order to take back control of their lives.

My style of therapy is very action-oriented, collaborative, and uniquely individualized. This means that I will meet you where you're at and we will take this path together, however, you are ultimately in the driver's seat. "The first step in getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are (J.P. Morgan)." At the end of the day, nothing changes if nothing changes but you also can't change anything you aren't aware of. Therefore, through guided self-discovery, support, and encouragement, my hope is to assist individuals in increasing self-awareness and insights in order to enhance their quality of life and overall wellness. I take a holistic approach with my therapeutic practice involving a mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy framework that focuses on learning to live in the present by accepting life for the good and the bad in addition to learning to challenge our own irrational thoughts. Struggles in life are inevitable, however, we  see mainly what we look for, formulating our version of our own reality. Even though we do not have control over what happens to us, we do have control over our perspective on the given situation, therefore, we have control over our reaction to it as well.

I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with a minor in Cognitive Sciences at the University of Central Florida. I went on to earn my Master of Arts degree in Mental Health counseling at UCF as well. Throughout my educational experience, I have been engaged in several research projects, conferences, and workshops that allow me to provide the most up-to-date and empirical-based counseling services. I now have approximately 7 years of experience in the mental health field ranging from inpatient settings with acute crisis care to outpatient settings and in private practice. I have had experience in working with adults, adolescents, and couples. Over the years, these experiences have allowed me to discover my passion as a therapist and mental health advocate.

During my free time, I enjoy landscape photography, exploring and hiking nature trails, going to concerts, practicing yoga, and cuddling with my beloved dogs. I absolutely adore traveling the world and have a passion for adventure, curiosity, and culture.

Specialties

  • Trauma

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Grief & Loss

  • Relationship Issues

  • Codependency

  • Stress Management

  • Low Self-Esteem

  • Negative Self-Talk

  • Boundaries

  • Social Anxiety

  • Life Transitions

  • Life Coaching

  • Mood Disorders

  • Self-Care

  • Identity Exploration

Specialties

  • Anger Management

  • Anxiety

  • Career Counseling

  • Codependency

  • Coping Skills

  • Depression

  • Family Conflict

  • Grief

  • Life Coaching

  • Relationship Issues

  • School Issues

  • Self Esteem

  • Stress

  • Video Game Dependence

  • Wellness Planning

  • Business Consulting

Luis Ramirez

MA, RMHCI

In life, we are all seekers and wanderers.  We search for that which makes us feel whole, and we travel through life with hopeful ambivalence.  Sometimes, during our journey we can get lost, overwhelmed, or uncertain about our decisions.  Honestly, it can get daunting at times, however there is always hope.  James Campbell once wrote: “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” All too often we ascribe to the life that we believe others want to for us and forget to pursue that which makes us happy.  The truth is, you are the author and protagonist of your story.  You possess the power to make the changes you want to see in your life and open any doors that stand before you.

Counseling is not about being given the answers you need, but rather it is an opportunity to ask yourself the questions you never thought to ask and explore the possibilities of embracing new perspectives. Counseling is a choice that you make to embark on a journey of self-discovery and understanding. In order to grow and learn from experiences, you must understand the moments you have been through and where you want to go from there.

When we talk about a therapeutic framework, or style of counseling, I tend to embrace narrative therapy.  The goal of this counseling approach is to help identify you separately from the difficulties you face.  It encourages you to develop and rely on your skills to overcome problems that exist.  The approach places you as the protagonist of your life story, and allows you to see yourself someone who is facing adversity, rather than having adversity define you. You are never your problem; you are an individual facing said problem.

I have earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and my Master of Arts degree in Counselor Education at the University of Central Florida.  I have worked on various research projects which addressed team cohesiveness and power distance, attended trainings in marriage counseling, and participated in extensive workshops to understand personality types and their effects in various facets of our lives.  I have been working in the mental health field for approximately four years and ten years in the field of training operations.  I have worked with clients ranging from children to adults from various backgrounds.  This experience has helped me develop an extensive skillset and knowledge to understand and work with many different people.  

As a child I always joked that I wanted to be a superhero.  Those were lofty goals, but as time and wisdom set in, what I realized I wanted to do, was help people.  That is where my passion lies.  If I can help one person feel more confident, more understood, more worthwhile about the individual they are, I have achieved that which is meaningful to me.  I want to do whatever I can to offer some guidance on the journey you wish to embark on.

Every journey thought to be insurmountable, begins with one simple step forward.

 

 

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