Meet Vienna Pharaon, a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist of MindfulMFT. She has counseled countless individuals and holds retreats & seminars all over the world. She shares her passion helping others and how to approach disputes with others.

Sam: Thank you for taking part in this interview. What led you to create MindfulMFT?
Vienna Pharaon: I wanted as many people as possible to have access to tools, conversations, and mindful practices that allow them to improve the quality of their relationship. MindfulMFT is many things, but first and foremost it is my private practice in NYC that is dedicated to individuals and couples who want to explore their relationships through the lens of their family systems. I started the @mindfulmft Instagram account to be an extension of that. In the beginning, my goal was to offer one new thought a day to just one person. It has expanded from there.

Sam: You've also counseled countless people throughout your career in sessions, retreats, and workshops. Is there one in particular that sticks out, or was the most rewarding?
Vienna Pharaon: Gosh, this is hard. I can’t tell you how much I love being in the room with people. It is where I feel so alive. That said, group work (which is what happens at the retreats) is truly the most altering and life changing work. The dynamic of groups expands and opens up so many layers for the people attending. You get to see a parent represented in someone else, a partner in someone else, a sibling in someone else, and so on. As you watch others do their work, it relates to your own life in such profound and unexpected ways. People come into retreats with an idea of what they’re going to work on and get out of it, and leave having a hard time explaining the magic of the transformation and experience. It is such an honor to watch and be a part of.

Sam: So, how do you approach disputes or issues with individuals and couples in your practice?
Vienna Pharaon: With curiosity. The things that cause ruptures in our relationships (whether with ourselves or others) hold an incredible amount of information if we’re willing to get curious and explore. I believe that people are the experts of their lives, and that when we work together we’re able to collaboratively explore the blocks, cycles, and patterns.

Sam: Finally, what is the best piece of advice you give to people who are hesitant about seeking therapy for relationship help or personal issues?
Vienna Pharaon: Try to understand your hesitancy and resistance. Get curious about it so that you can understand the story you’re attaching to what it means to seek and go to therapy. Most of the time, therapy is going to be quite different than what you expect it to be. Lean in when you’re ready, shop around for a great fit, and trust that the thing you are afraid of or avoiding might just be the same thing that sets you free and offers you relief.

Disclaimer: All Photos provided courtesy of Vienna Pharaon. Potential minor edits for transcript's length, flow, grammatical/formatting.
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