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Natalia Barna, LMSW

she/her

You are always enough and NEVER too much.

There is no one like you. We need you here in this world because you have something unique to offer that no one else does. You deserve to feel valued, seen, and heard.

At a young age, I was always told I was “too sensitive,” or “too emotional” because I felt things so intensely and deeply. My own emotions and reactions were a mystery to me, and I felt there must have been something “wrong” with me. Over the years, through my education, relationships with mentors and peers, and a passion for making others feel seen and heard, I began to understand the complexity of emotions and the role they play in our lives. I acquired the awareness and language to understand emotions, human behavior, and thought patterns that impact the quality of our lives, and I was fascinated by how deepening our understanding of ourselves can propel us toward greater freedom and fulfillment. Through these experiences, I knew being a therapist would be my life’s work. 

I’ve been doing this for 15+ years, and I’ve only grown to love it more and more. I now view my sensitivity, deep capacity for empathy, and non-judgmental stance, as superpowers. I love nothing more than supporting and witnessing others find their voice and develop more self-compassion and acceptance for their authentic selves. 

I strive to create a safe, non-judgmental space where people can begin to offer themselves the same grace, and view their emotions, reactions, thoughts, or impulses, as messengers that inform their needs, not as “problems” that need to be eliminated.  I also love to incorporate humor, fun, and lightness, to our work. Therapy doesn’t mean we’re always in a deep, dark space processing the most challenging aspects of your life. We can celebrate your positive stories, too. 

I am first and foremost, relationship focused. The most powerful and effective agent of change is a trusting relationship. I strongly believe that no matter how many credentials someone has, nothing will work if trust isn’t established. I want you to feel like you can give me feedback, tell me how it feels to be with me, if perhaps you didn’t feel understood, when something is working or not working for you. We are partners in venturing inside, and YOU are the expert on you even though it may not feel that way yet.

EDUCATION

  • BA, University of Michigan
  • MSW, University of Michigan

WORKS WITH

  • Young Adults
  • Adults
  • Older Adults

TYPES OF THERAPY

  • Person Centered Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Strengths-based therapy
  • Certified in Infant Mental Health
  • Attachment Theory Psychology
  • Trauma-Informed Psychotherapy
"Nat is the perfect combination of sweet, smart, and sensitive. She feels things so deeply and makes it okay for you to also feel big emotions in whatever way you express them. It feels very accepting and validating whenever you speak with her. Very easy to talk to and definitely someone who you can open up to without worrying."
"Natalia is an excellent trauma expert and also specializes in attachment relationships, especially when it comes to mother-child relationships. She has advanced training in this area and is remarkably skilled at helping mothers work through their own trauma to form healthier bonds with their children."
“Extremely warm as a person, any time that you talk to Nat, you can tell that she is truly listening to you and absorbing your whole authentic self. You can be completely yourself with her. She seriously values people for who they are and helps to empower others through the relationship with her in therapy. Highly recommend."

Sessions with me are very individualized while also having some structure. In the beginning, I like to take some grounding breaths to help us be present, rather than thinking about what you have to do, or where you have to be. I like to allow for some quiet moments to see where your thoughts naturally go, so we can observe them together. Sometimes our minds go blank, so I’ll have some prompts for you. 

Healing is very individualized, one-size does not fit all, and there are many paths to healing. I believe the core components are commitment, open-mindedness, and vulnerability. We have to give things enough of a chance to know whether or not they work for us and talk about and face things that scare us.

There will be space to release feelings, develop coping strategies, problem-solve, recognize and shift patterns of thinking, and celebrate progress on the goals you set for yourself. Progress is progress, no matter how small it seems, and steps backwards are part of the journey. “Little” wins are big because they add up over time.

Nothing has to be “wrong” per se, to come to therapy. It can often be seen as prevention or maintenance. We go to a medical doctor for wellness check-ups, to see if things are working well, and what we may need to give more attention to, right?  Your mental health needs and deserves the same consideration and consistent care. 

We can’t separate the mind and body. Our mental health impacts our physical health and vice versa. For example, if we struggle with anxiety, our cortisol levels are likely high much of the time. This can lead to problems with our physical health and negatively impact our quality of life. 

Remember, it’s okay to not be okay, but you can and deserve to feel better. 

FAVORITE SELF-CARE

CrossFit and physical movement are crucial for me. I need to get out of my head and back into my body, especially after hours of sitting and screen time. I also enjoy time alone, time with friends, traveling, reading, journaling, bad and good TV. All these things refuel me so that I can bring my best self to you.

FUN FACTS

  • I took a break between undergrad and grad and moved to New York City for 3 years. It was always a dream of mine to live there. I ended up being a nanny for very wealthy families. In a way, it was its own form of therapeutic work. Many who look like they have it all on the outside, carry their own private pain and struggles like anyone else. Money certainly can make things easier, but nothing external can fix or change the internal.

  • I am a proud Ukrainian woman! I spoke the language as a child but have lost much over time. I’m trying to relearn, but it’s not easy :/

  • I had a dove growing up named Lovey

  • I think dogs are better than we are 😉

LIFE MOTTO

I love this quote by Oscar Wilde, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
And the mantra, “You are never too much and always enough.”

I often have to remind myself that feelings aren’t facts, but they need to be acknowledged and validated.

Our trauma and how it has impacted us does not have to define us. Words hold so much power, and the way we talk to ourselves determines our happiness and peace over anything external. We must work from the inside out to shift the tone and have that voice be our biggest cheerleader.