#BEYOUROWN MEETS DR. LILIT AYRAPETYAN
Dr. Lilit Ayrapetyan is experienced in working with adolescents, adults, and couples to help facilitate healing and positive change. Her areas of expertise are in working with anxious and depressed teens and young adults, adults seeking direction in their life and personal growth, and couples struggling with infidelity, communication and intimacy issues.
Lilit’s passion is to help bright professional millennials, entrepreneurs, and aspiring leaders transform their lives. With an aim to help you uncover your hopes and strengths that you often don’t realise you possess, she uses a unique blend of psychotherapy, coaching, and assessment to help empower her clients as they navigate through their 20s and 30s and beyond.
Hey Lilit, can you introduce yourself to us?
My go-to intro is that I am a licensed clinical psychologist and an aspiring entrepreneur. My career is a huge part of who I am, but I am also a daughter, a sister, a friend and a soon to be wife! I was born in Armenia and moved here when I was 8 years old. I didn’t speak one word of English when I first started school. I worked hard and always knew I wanted to be in the helping field. As soon as I graduated high school, I knew I wanted to be a psychologist. I was always drawn to learning about people and their journey through life.
Here I am now, a Licensed Psychologist and a business owner. In 2018, my business partner and a best friend opened our group practice, CALA Psychological Services! And since then I have been on this amazing and exciting entrepreneurial journey! Aside from working a lot, I love spending time with my family, friends, and fiancé. I love traveling and have been all over the world. I truly believe traveling opens your eyes and heart to unforgettable experiences, cultures, and people. Traveling has helped me learn so much about human beings and their subjective experiences, which in turn has helped me with my work!
Can you take us through your journey to where you are now?
My journey has consisted of years of studying, lots of frustrations and tears, training after training and lots of sleepless nights. Right after high school I majored in Psychology and received my B.A. I always knew I wanted to continue my education and go further. Meeting my mentor during my undergrad just sealed the deal for me. He was an amazing professor and an inspirational human being. Being Armenian, I am very close to my family and never lived apart from them. I knew I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and experience things I had never before, so I decided to take the chance and move to Chicago for my Master’s program. I knew no one in Chicago and the first 6 months were definitely very lonely and challenging. But once I met a few friends that I am still friends with 10 years later, my Chicago experience became one of the best experiences of my life. I completed my Master’s program in 2 years and moved back to California. I knew I wanted to set my roots in California so I decided to pursue my doctorate in Psychology in California. While all my dear friends were working, settling into their relationships, getting married and having kids, I was back in school! My training consisted of working in hospitals, working with developmentally disabled children and working in community mental health centres. I finally graduated after 5 years, however, continued my training and required hours for licensure for another 2 years. After years of studying, I finally reached the pinnacle of my career at the time and received my licensure in Clinical Psychology!!
For the first time in my career, I felt like I was completely on my own now and I can choose to take my career in whatever direction I wanted. I began dabbling in private practice and soon learned the business part of running a private practice. Oh boy! That took me on a whirlwind a bit. Running a business was totally out of my comfort zone and my knowledge zone. But with the help of my fiancé, who has an MBA and is currently in marketing, I began to slowly understand what it takes to run a business, while I continued to see one-on-one clients in private practice. After about 2 years in private practice, my best friend and I, also a psychologist, decided to take a huge risk and combine our practices and open up a group practice. Our group practice, CALA Psychological Services, now has 3 associates and is continuing to grow. It has been such a blessing running and learning about the business world with my best friend and business partner. I continue to see a full caseload of weekly clients and in between my nonstop work, I am constantly balancing tasks for the business, finding time to be with my family and friends and trying to plan a marriage, not just a wedding with the love of my life. I love working with every single of my clients and I am grateful every single day for all the challenges and blessings. Steven Jobs put it perfectly, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking and don’t settle.”
What training or educational programs have you studied that currently support your career?
I’ve had training in many different areas of my career. I’ve worked with children with developmental disabilities, individuals with chronic and severe mental illnesses, the geriatric population, adults going through transitional and everyday life stressors. I’ve also supervised interns and continue to supervise psychiatry residents along with seeing clients in my private practice and running CALA Psychological Services with my best friends/business partner!
Can you tell us how you are helping adolescents, adults, and couples to help facilitate healing and positive change?
I believe we can change and heal but that requires us to truly trust in the process. I approach my clients very honestly, openly and without any judgment. I help guide their stories and their pain in a manner where they are the ones finding the answers and healing their wounds. I am forever blessed for my clients who are able to share their stories with me. I learn so much about strength and resiliency from them!
Where can you see yourself within the next 3-5 years?
I envision my group practice growing and branching out to help individuals in different parts of Los Angeles! I envision continuing to hire associates who are not only skilled in their work but whom I can learn from as well!
Can you highlight the 3 main factors that contribute to communication and intimacy issues for the millennials of today?
The millennial generation certainly has had its share of criticisms as much as its share of great strengths. A few factors that contribute to challenges with millennials when it comes to communication and intimacy are:
The implication of social media on their communication skills and social skills.
- I hear many of my millennial clients, who make up the majority of my caseload because I truly enjoy working with them, share their difficulties with initiating conversations in social settings for fear of rejection.
- Other clients discuss not knowing how to continue conversations and making deeper connections that turn into long term friendships.
- Or they worry about what other’s think of them.
These 3 factors often cause my clients to come in with a lot of anxiety and self-esteem issues that hinder their abilities to make meaningful connections and friendships.
Who does the team involve behind you?
My team consists of myself, my business partner and best friend, and our 3 associates!
What are the key tools that you use for your trade?
I can’t emphasise enough the importance of meeting and making connections with others in the field and often times with individuals outside of your field. You learn so much just by putting yourself out there and talking to others about their passions.
Can you tell us what areas you have struggled in professionally?
My biggest struggle thus far has been learning to be an entrepreneur. My training and knowledge have always been in helping my clients heal in settings where I was always working for others. I took a big chance and risk to jump ship and go into the business world. Mixing my clinical skills with the business world has been so amazing but oh so challenging at the same time. But I am forever a student so I’ve truly enjoyed learning the process even in the midst of my own doubts and anxiety attacks.
Have you ever had any other mentor? If so how has this benefitted you to grow?
I had a mentor during my undergraduate studies that opened my eyes and taught me so much about what else was out there in the world. He helped me dig deeper into myself and into the Eastern philosophies in Psychology. I am forever grateful to him. I still have all the notes from his classes and I reread one of my favourite books he recommended till this day, ‘If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him.’ The book is an amazing introspective journey into recognising your own Buddhahood!
What outlets do use to market your services?
Instagram, Facebook and networking events! I do have to say though that Instagram has to be my favourite outlet to market my services. It allows me to be creative! And this year I have made it a goal to be much more open with my followers about my journey and struggles. It’s definitely a fine line I have to teeter on but I want people to see me for me and not just a Psychologist.
Which methods are you using to build your own support network?
I network quite a lot! I attend many chambers of commerce meetings as well as continuing education workshops and seminars! This can get tricky at times as I have scheduled weekly one-on-sessions but I know the importance of getting to know professionals and other entrepreneurs. Therefore, I always carve out time to make sure I am constantly making connections.
What would you like to see changed for millennials in business?
While millennials have many great strengths, I would love to see them be more proactive and autonomous when it comes to taking chances in business, developing their strengths and creating the careers they envision for themselves!
What is the best piece of business advice you have received to date?
“Work with people who have the potential to do your job better than you” and “You’re only as good as the quality of the team you recruit.”
What is the number 1 critical lesson you have learned in your career so far?
Organisation, organisation, organisation!
How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?
I am an avid believer in work/life balance and I cannot stress that enough! Life isn’t only about work. Life is also about being with your loved ones.
A seminal point in your career so far?
This point thus far! But I am also so excited to see what’s next!
What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?
Knowing my clients are healing and changing their lives.
What challenges have you seen to have been presented during the growth of your business?
I think one of the challenges my partner and I faced was that we would not be able to sustain our own client caseloads and run our business. However, every day we are doing just that and enjoying every step!
Which other leading entrepreneurs and pioneering game changers do you also admire and why?
Oh, so many! I look up to a lot of entrepreneurs in every field and try to learn as much as I can from each of them!
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
I am currently reading, ‘The Untethered Soul’ again!
Top 3 go-to Podcast channels?
- ‘How I build this.’
- ‘TED Talks Daily.’
- ‘Hidden Brain.’
How do you define success?
As Maya Angelou put it, “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
#BEYOUROWN means knowing yourself, knowing your self-worth, knowing what you bring to the world every single day. It means being you unapologetically and authentically!
Finally, what are you working on throughout 2019?
I am working on continuing to grow CALA, continuing to help those in need, continuing to market and collaborate with other successful entrepreneurs, delving into online publications and getting married!