Despina Mitchell, M.S., LMFT
Despina Mitchell M.S, LMFT graduated from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in 2006. She has been treating patients for 20 years in the Rochester community. Throughout her years working with individuals, couples, and families, she has had the opportunity to practice in multiple clinic and community based settings before starting her private practice in 2013. Despina is currently enrolled in the Integrative Sex Therapy Institute where she is actively working on her dual certification to be come a Certified Sex and Couples Therapist as well as a AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists) Certified Sex Therapist.
Through her many years of working as a relationship therapist, Despina has found that the most common reason people come to therapy is for communication issues. Communication appears to be the "safe word" to get couples into treatment. Luckily communication is her niche. Though it plays an important factor in healthy relationships, she views it as a stepping stone to uncovering the deeper struggles that likely exist. Struggles that most are uncomfortable talking about. Barriers that inevitably effect physical, emotional and sexually intimacy. Intimacy requires vulnerability. When couples are struggling with connecting, vulnerability is usually the first thing that goes out the window. Engaging in any type of emotional or physical intimacy is undoubtedly going to be effected by this disconnect. Despina is hopeful that in working together with her patients, she will help them find relief from some of the discomfort and shame around talking about all of the intimate parts of their relationship in a safe and nonjudgmental environment.
The therapeutic process is a vulnerable and sometimes scary endeavor, which can feel complex at times. Through this endeavor it is important for patients to be “met where they are at” before moving forward. She views her patients as the experts in their lives and focuses treatment on helping them recognize what positive change looks like for them and identifying how she can work together with them to make that change. She believes that the most effective therapy involves work outside of her office. Her sessions focus on providing psychoeducation, engaging couples in exercises in the office and giving homework for them to do outside of session. At the end of the day, the goal is for you to be able to maintain the work we do in session on your own. Since every couple is different, together, we will determine what tools work best for you. In her practice Despina uses an integrative therapy approach applying theories and modalities proven to be affective in creating and maintaining healthy relationships (Gottman Method, Emotionally Focused Therapy, Imago Relationship Therapy, Relational Life Therapy and Internal Family Systems to name a few).
Though her specialty is working with couples in a marriage or committed relationship, she also enjoys working with individuals. Whether its dealing with depression, improving communication, conflict resolution, anxiety, mood disorders or sex related concerns, she will work together with you to meet your goals in a safe and comfortable environment free of judgment.
Despina is a Clinical Fellow of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). She is also a member of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT). She is certified in medical family therapy and currently serves as an advisory council member for Bryant & Stratton College OTA program as the interdisciplinary content expert in mental health. She is the Fundraising Chair of the Associate Board for Golisano Children's Hospital and also serves on the advisory board for Best Buddies International.
Juliana Posato M.S., LPMFT
Juliana Posato MS, LPMFT completed her Masters Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. There, she began treating patients at Strong Family Therapy Services, located in the University of Rochester Medical center. During that time, Juliana also trained at Highland Family Medicine. In both of these locations, she worked with individuals, couples, and families, with varying backgrounds, genders, sexual identities, races, religions, socioeconomic levels, and other cultural factors. Juliana is also actively working under the supervision of Despina Mitchell, MS LMFT, toward her License in Marriage and Family Therapy. Juliana has been employed by Eastside Marriage and Family Therapy since January 2022.
She welcomes clients from within and beyond the Rochester area offering both online and in person therapy sessions. Her approach to treatment derives from a systemic perspective, in which she evaluates individual factors, such as thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, as well as factors including families of origin, education, the workplace, societal influences, physical health, and more. Juliana emphasizes the importance of identifying strengths, which can help motivate individuals, couples, and families in reaching their therapeutic goals.
Juliana proves herself on providing an environment that is safe, comfortable, and non-judgmental to relieve hesitation, discomfort, and anxiety from the therapeutic process. Juliana’s areas of interest to clients ages 13 and beyond include the following: anxiety, depression, current and past trauma, family relationships, sex and sexual relationships, LGBTQIA+ issues, BIPOC issues, communication, issues in societal expectations and gender roles, infidelity, mood disorders, feminism, and stress management.
Ali Buchanan, MFT Intern
Ali is a Marriage and Family Therapy Intern at Eastside Marriage & Family Therapy working under the direct supervision of Despina Mitchell, LMFT. She is working towards her Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Syracuse University. Additionally, she has both Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Health Education from Ithaca College. She has over 10 years of experience as a Health and Sexuality educator in New York and abroad. Ali's therapeutic experience includes work with individuals and couples around issues such as infidelity, communication challenges, unresolved conflict, sexual concerns, mistrust, and general individual or relational turmoil.
As a therapist, Ali provides space for each person to share their story while exploring and developing their relationships and sense of self. She helps clients to identify and change patterns that leave them feeling stuck and overwhelmed, so they can find a renewed sense of connection, confidence, and wellbeing. She believes that you are the expert of your own lived experience and is honored to guide clients through a therapeutic process that best fits each individual, couple, and family.
Ali takes a warm and non-judgmental approach with her clients as they work collaboratively towards growth and addressing therapeutic goals. She provides gender affirming therapy and is welcoming of all people, including those in the LGBTQ+ community.