Ella Chrelashvili MA, (Associate Therapist)
Ella Chrelashvili (she/her/hers) is an associate therapist at The Center for Growth, providing individual, couples, and group therapy to adults and adolescents in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the Society Hill Therapy Office. In addition, she does virtual therapy in Pennsylvania.
Ella is a first generation Russian-American, born in Kyiv, Ukraine and immigrating to the USA as a child. Growing up as an immigrant, she learned to balance her dual cultural identity and find harmony between two different mentalities. She understands the importance of culture, history, and family in their contribution to individualized values. She also knows the pain of being away from one’s home country while it is experiencing periods of unrest and war. Ella has perfect fluency in both Russian and English, with an equal understanding of the complex cultures and histories. Since immigrating, Ella found her home in Philadelphia, maintaining active involvement in the Ukrainian and Russian-speaking communities in the East Coast.
After completing her bachelor’s degree in Clinical Psychology at The College of New Jersey in 2012, Ella immediately started working in the behavioral health field in various capacities. Her experience includes clinical evaluation, case management, and supervisory positions in inpatient, intensive outpatient, and public health organizations. She has worked with a multitude of mental and behavioral health issues, such as mood disorders, anxiety, personality disorders, trauma, and psychosis, with her most extensive experience in eating disorders and addictions. She worked with populations of all ages, from various socio-economic and cultural backgrounds.
Working most recently in the non-profit behavioral and criminal justice setting in the city of Philadelphia, Ella developed a strong passion and unwavering commitment towards helping individuals who have been socially and politically marginalized. She is not afraid to directly confront systemic injustices in an effort to promote lasting change. She has worked extensively with individuals with substance addiction in inner city areas, recognizing the complex interconnection between addiction, crime, poverty, and racism. Substance addiction is not an individual moral problem, but rather a community disease that continues to spread when deprived of support, compassion, and basic needs. The greater historical and geopolitical context is also essential for understanding the origin and manifestation of the problem and how it trickled down to the neighborhoods of Philadelphia. Ella is an on-going advocate for this community.
Ella recently completed and obtained her Master’s degree in Professional Clinical Counseling from La Salle University, after a year and half of field place experience in an inpatient and halfway house treatment center for substance addiction. Completing her formal education does not mean that Ella has stopped learning. She is continuing to actively expand her knowledge basis, with particular focus on the LGBTQA+ population, alternative lifestyles, and kink communities. Additionally, she is always learning about different cultural histories and staying current with world events, understanding how macrosystems impact individuals.
Ella is trained and experienced in utilizing evidence-based therapy modalities, primarily Acceptance Commitment Therapy, but also Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. Additionally, she utilizes techniques from Existential, Gestalt, and Psychodynamic theories. She continues to learn about and enhance her skills in other therapy techniques, maintaining an on-going humility and openness to improve. She is an active member of the American Counseling Association (ACA) and the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS).
With all of the struggles and challenges that exist in the outside world, we should not be struggling within ourselves, but rather finding ways to come into peace with our bodies, minds, and hearts. This means stopping the fight against ourselves, letting go of the judgment, guilt, and criticism that prevents us from being present and engaged in a life worth living. Whatever your internal or external sources of suffering, you do not have to face them alone.
Ella fosters a warm and safe space, where clients are able to relax and explore their inner world without fear. Once they feel comfortable to do so, Ella gently challenges clients to go deeper and consider new perspectives, all the while guiding them towards their therapeutic goals. She understands that everyone has different expectations of therapy, so she will meet you where you are at. She approaches each client as an individual with a unique story and can tailor her approach to the needs of her client. She is always sensitive to the responses of her clients, and if a certain technique or method is not working, she never hesitates to switch gears and try something new. She has an empathetic and sensitive nature, while not being afraid to use humor when appropriate. Laughing and allowing yourself to have some healthy fun is what balances out the difficulties of life that we must often confront.
Ella maintains a daily meditation practice, building her skills in body and breath awareness, metta, and visualization. She truly believes in the liberating power of the practice, so she incorporates her formal mindfulness trainings and personal experience from her meditation journey into therapy to help her clients improve self-awareness, cultivate insight, and maintain connection with the present moment. Ella is working towards becoming certified as a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction instructor.
Russian-Speaking Therapy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Sometimes a process as personal as therapy feels more authentic when it is in the native language. As a Russian-speaking therapist from Ukraine, Ella understands the unique issues faced by immigrants from the former-Soviet countries and can provide therapy services in Russian. Whether you have just recently arrived or if the USA has been your long-term new home, Ella will work with you in the language that is most comfortable for you. She can explore immigration-specific issues, such as homesickness, assimilation, dual cultural identities, community integration, and navigating document challenges. She can also provide specialized therapy, grief counseling, and support for individuals affected by war in Ukraine.
Eating Disorder Therapy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Social norms, beauty standards, striving for perfectionism, feeling out of control can, along with a whole host of other variables can lead to the development of an eating disorder, where one’s relationship with food and with their bodies becomes turbulent and unbearable. Eating disorders cause serious damage to physical and mental health, as well as significant disruptions to the quality life, making it difficult to enjoy the things that you love and value. But there is hope, and long-term recovery from eating disorders is possible. You do not have to continue suffering. If you are struggling with an eating disorder, body dysmorphia, or dysregulated eating patterns, whether formally diagnosed or not, Ella can work with you on a treatment approach that fits with your goals. Additionally, Ella will work on treatment maintenance with clients who are in recovery from anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, ARFID, and/or other eating disorders, as well as provide continuity of care for clients who have just completed higher levels of treatment at residential and IOP/PHP facilities.
Compulsion Counseling in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
As human beings, we have a natural tendency to seek out pleasurable experiences, while avoiding painful ones. Depending on personal and environmental context, turning to substances may seem to accomplish that drive, if only for a short-while. But for some people, an occasional use of substances can quickly spiral out of control and turn into a compulsion or dependence.. Before they know it, their entire life gets taken over by the substance(s) dependent on, in what feels like a never-ending nightmare. At the turn of the century, our nation began experiencing an opiate crisis, which took countless lives and destroyed families. The problem with substances could no longer be ignored. Whether the dependence / compulsions are a recent development, or you are in recovery, Ella will help you take back control over yourself and repair your life utilizing evidenced-based and empirically supported methods.
Relationship Counseling in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Relationships come in all different forms, with each one being unique with its own special story. They are as complex as they are beautiful, and sometimes within that complexity, challenges may arise that become difficult to manage on your own. Whatever the stage of your relationship, Ella will help you navigate some of those challenges so that your relationship can help you flourish and grow as individuals and as a system. Ella can work with issues such as infidelity, sexual struggles, communication, conflict management, life adjustments, co-parenting after a divorce or separation, etc. Monogamous, open, and polyamorous relationships of all orientations and gender identities are welcome.
Aside from counseling and psychology, Ella has a strong interest in history, anthropology, sociology, linguistics, world religions, philosophy, literature, and political science. She is always studying and developing in these areas through reading, attending lectures and workshops, and additional course work. This allows her to be a well-rounded and eclectic counselor with a contextual worldview. In addition, Ella has been actively involved in music, theater, and dancing since early childhood. She has extensive training in a variety of dance styles, with her primary focus being Afro-Latin partner dances. She believes in the immense therapeutic benefits of artistic expression, regardless of skill level, and can use music and movement techniques to help clients come in contact with their creative sides and release tensions.
- Pennsylvania: Working under the supervision of Dr. Foust