Our History and Mission
Tema Therapy is a multi-lingual Center created to serve the various needs of people and families who consider being multi-cultural or multi-lingual as a part of their identity. The founder of this facility, Dr. Irina Volynsky, had multiple experiences of being asked to evaluate children and adults whose native language was not English, who were misdiagnosed, and were not receiving appropriate help.
Upon further consideration, the barrier presented was not only about the language but also about the different cultural context in which norm and pathology were understood differently. For example, a child who emigrated from a rural area of one of the Middle East countries does not necessarily manifest a learning disability when he is struggling to read at the age of eight.
His cultural expectations are such that this is the age when he would have just started learning the very basics of reading, had he stayed in his native country. Those expectations apply to him in many subtle ways and, therefore, his struggles in the US school should be understood (and worked with) very differently as opposed to those of a third generation New Yorker, who has been exposed to various enrichment classes with the focus on literacy starting at 18 months of age.
From an understanding that such cultural discrepancies often create wrong diagnoses, and, even worse, wrong treatment paths, the idea of a center that would put the notion and the knowledge of multiculturalism as its founding stone was created.
So here we are at TEMA Therapy Center, an ever-growing team of people who know how it feels to be on the crossroads of different cultures and different languages; a team of people who have extensive training in cultural sensitivities and no less extensive first- hand experiences in dealing with different cultures as professionals, as individuals, and as parents.
Our mission is to provide quality mental health services for you and your children.
Even though we will most likely communicate with your children in English, as it is often their language of preference, our services will be informed by the knowledge of your native language, your culture, and your background.
If it sounds like all psychologists should be aiming for this…well, that’s what we thought, too.