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Vasyl Ghanimian

Episode 084

From the Law to the Body and Mind

Vasyl Ghanimian, MS, LCSW, SEP (he/him) emigrated from the Philippines at three years old with his Filipino mother and Armenian father. His religious parents emphasized education as a pathway to financial independence. They pushed him to access opportunities available in the U.S. and succeed.

Vasyl completed an AA from Pasadena City College in 2006. He transferred to UCLA and completed a BA in Political Science in 2008. Vasyl received his Master of Social Work in 2012 from California State University, Los Angeles. Vasyl earned his MS in Criminal Justice in 2021 from USC.

In October 2019, Vasyl launched his independent mental health practice in Montebello. In March 2020, Vasyl joined the Los Angeles LGBT Center as a mental health clinician. Vasyl provides mental health services to people from many cultures and countries. Many of Vasyl’s current clients identify as LGBTQIA+ and are people of color.

Vasyl is a trauma-trained practitioner and passionate about healing. He received his SEP™ certification in 2016. His integrative approach to therapy incorporates somatic education and strategies to regulate the nervous system. His tailored style matches the needs of the client. The process for some focuses on solutions and skills, while others explore pleasure and restore purpose. Vasyl invests in helping others thrive in the balance of mind, body, and spirit.”

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Vasyl Ghanimian Takeaways

  • Vasyl immigrated to America at a young age
  • Vasyl was always pressured to perform academically 
  • Vasyl went to law school but found it was not for him
  • He then found his calling in helping heal people 
  • Vasyl got into Somatic practice and uses that as a tool to help people mentally and physically.

When someone is going through a hard time, it’s important to remember just to be supportive in the best you can. Despite not knowing exactly what the other needs, options are always good. The next guest on the show, Vasyl, helps others get through their experiences. Vasyl is a licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Somatic Experience Practitioner.

  • “How can I somehow contribute to the world, society, do something maybe bigger than me.”
  • “If you’re going to do this work with other people, you should have also done your own work. And certain expertise that exists in our profession, that you can only take a person as far as you’ve gone.”

Vasyl Ghanimian

What do those titles mean?

A Licensed Clinical Social Worker has received a master of social work and passed the Board of California’s licensing exam. Vasyl uses that and works as a psychotherapist in California.

The other part of the Somatic Experience Practitioner is complaining training, including training in the whole human experience. Merging body and mind and helping others find that.

How do people find somatic healing?

Vasyl says that it comes from doing other work to help heal themselves. It also comes from Drs and writers who look for different answers.

Even though there is a lot of info out there, he still works with people who are trying to discover that body-mind connection.

Vasyl compared it to that feeling of being happy and having a lightness in your chest. Those things are connected.

When one brings awareness to emotions, it allows a person to experience other thoughts. However, people confuse intense emotions with fixing them, but according to Vasyl, that is natural to do so, but it’s not that easy. People need to feel their feelings.

How do you work?

Vasyl mostly works individually one-on-one. That’s where he gets the most satisfaction. He does also work with groups and couple work.

What is the work?

People looking who need help or are struggling to find Vasyl and hope for help that way.

People who need that help usually find him online. They read a bit about him, and then they reach out.

What is somatic mean for a layman?

Somatic literally refers to the body. People don’t come in looking for Somatic therapy; they come in with a problem like depression or anxiety, and Somatic therapy is a type of intervention that helps to treat the symptoms of the mental health problem.

What was your childhood like that led you to this path?

Vasyl’s mother is Filipino, and his father is Armenian. Vasyl immigrated here at 3 and was always pressed into having academic success.

He thought that maybe he would one day to go law school when that was his focus.

Vasyl also grew up in a very Christian house, so he got a lot of morals and values from Christianity.

So even after Vasyl did attend law school for a short amount of time, he realized it just wasn’t for him.

So he applied for social work at CalTech for forensic social work, dealing with people who were involved in illegal activity.

He also found a lot of self-reflection to do in grad school. He learned what “boundaries” were in grad school and how to apply them.

If you can have a release, everything is right in the world?

In a sense, yes, according to Vasyl. However, one needs to remember the most important factor if that is right now. To live in the moment, let yourself be present, and find a way to work through emotions.

Have you looked at chi-gon and tai-chi in the sense of being present?

Vasyl has not done them, but he does think the concept is very good and sound.

That’s practices used in mental health can help build a sense of control in their own lives.

In Vasyl’s ideal world, he would like people to stop addressing their mental health in the negative, and people would do this work as a way to increase the depth of their own experiences.

Picture of Vasyl Ghanimian

Vasyl Ghanimian

The Desert Garden at the Huntington Gardens

The Tokyo Lobby from Vasyl’s childhood

The BLVD Market in Montebello