We had the good fortune of connecting with Anahita (Ana) Kashefi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ana, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
One of the most important factors behind my success as a psychotherapist has been showing up authentically. In the field of psychotherapy, I believe one of the biggest catalysts for change in therapy is the client-therapist relationship. The more you show up as yourself and the more authentic you are, you also allow the other person to show up as themselves and understand that it’s okay, and welcomed to be oneself. When I first started practicing, I felt that I needed to fit a mold of what a therapist should look like. I would hide parts of myself that weren’t part of the status quo, such as the fact that I’m also a musician and a creative. Once I actually embraced that as part of my identity, I found many creatives, musicians, artists, actors were drawn to work with me because of this fact. They connected with me and knew that I would understand the nuances and complexities of pursuing a creative career or have a deeper understanding of expressing that part of oneself. I found it so interesting that the thing I was “hiding” started becoming one of the greatest reasons for my success and specialties- helping creatives navigate issues unique to their field and creative identities.
I welcome and encourage people to show up as themselves, although it can feel risky at times.
We are constantly bombarded with media that tells us who to be, what to want, and how we “should” express ourselves. All of these influences slow chip away at our ability to be our authentic selves.
By being someone you are not, you are telling yourself that who you really are isn’t okay. So hiding or suppressing who you really are can end up leaving you feeling lonely, unworthy and disconnected from others.
I want to validate how hard this can be, and when we get to a place where we can do this, there is a freedom and beauty to this unfiltered, authentic version of ourselves. You start feeling worthy and know that you are loved, valued and acknowledged for exactly who you are.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’d love to tell you more about my journey of becoming a therapist! It’s been a long road and I’m so grateful that I found this path, I truly believe that becoming a healer was my destiny. I think the seed was planted when I was a very young child that was bullied for being so different in a small, homogenous town. By being othered, I learned compassion at a very early age.
Today my practice is based in Los Angeles, but because I’m licensed in California, Utah and Colorado, I’m able to see clients virtually across all 3 states. In my practice I specialize in relationship issues, couples and sex therapy, working with creatives, and psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. One of my great passions is working with ketamine-assisted psychotherapy to provide individuals the space to do some deep healing and transformative work. For this kind of work, I see people in person, whether that’s at the office, at a residence, or in a retreat setting and help client’s guide and process their experiences for long-term and lasting change.
I also understand the plight of immigrant experience and have a deep connection and bond to those navigating the complexity of immigrant identity.
It was not easy getting here, but I had a lot of determination and consistency. There were times that were really difficult, I felt burnt out in ways that were affecting my body. I learned to really listen to my body- that the body is always in communication with you. I learned to know what my limits and my limits are different than other people’s limits.
I learned that rest and relaxation is important and productive in regaining energy. I learned that you also have to have fun!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
There are so many wonderful spots, I’d be happy to share a few of my favorite!
For daytime activities- I love hiking Griffith, and my favorite part about it is stopping afterwards at Trails cafe and enjoying a coffee at the picnic benches. Sometimes I just like going to the Trails cafe benches and doing some writing or reading.
Of course making a stop at the beach is a must, I love going a little south of Santa Monica or up to Malibu near Zuma.
For restaurants, I love Bacari in Silverlake for the food and ambiance. I also love Felix, Gjelina and the Tasting Kitchen in Venice and Redbird in Downtown.
LA also has some great museums- the view at the Getty is a must and I love the Broad museum!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have been lucky to have such great mentors along the way, but first I’d like to make a shoutout to my mom, who has been such a supportive and encouraging source throughout the very early stages of my career until the present. As a child of immigrants, it was instilled in me at an early age not to take anything for granted and to always be learning, that knowledge is power. I was always told not to limit myself in what I believe I can do. I carry this with me today, and it’s made me a very determined person.
I have had some amazing mentors as well, Dr. Wendy Cherry- a force of nature and incredible psychotherapist who is so unaplogetically herself, which in turn made me feel safe being myself, and Dr. Ron Gad- who I’ve been working with for many years and from very early on believed in my abilities and encouraged me to step into my power.
I also have had the privilege of learning from Dr. Phil Wolfson, one of the leaders in the field of psychedelic medicine who has changed my life!
1st image -Kimia Fatehi 2nd and 3rd image- Jen Rosenstein