Alexandra Polyzoides McGee
Associate Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Sex Therapist who lives in a neurodiverse marriage, has five adult children, eight grandchildren, 2 MAs and a BA from UC Berkeley.
Education and Training
Alexandra (she, her, they, them) is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist who graduated with a Master's in Counseling Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco, CA. She has a background in dramatic arts, English Language and Literature, a previous MA in the Humanities and CELTA certification that enabled her to work with high schoolers and adult English language learners in Europe and the Middle East. Alexandra also is studying to become a clinical psychologist, which is a doctorate, back at CIIS where she received her MA.
Training in non-violent communication, Internal Family Systems therapy, humanistic sex therapy, neurodiversity education and mindfulness training for brain development and couples therapy are all supplemented by Alexandra’s experience applying these modalities of psychological growth to herself and her marriage.
Alexandra’s primary focus in counseling is with all kinds of couples, with a special affinity to those who identify as queer, neurodiverse or immigrants, and families who want parenting support.
International Experiences and PTSD
Born in Athens Greece, Alexandra immigrated to America with her parents when she was 4 years old. She has also lived in Austria, Spain and Greece for 3 to 12 months at a time growing up and in the Middle East for 16 years as an adult, where she raised her five children.
This life experience gives Alexandra great empathy for couples who have moved internationally and are struggling with culture shock or PTSD. Therapy is a great place to safely work through these issues. IFS therapy includes meditative practices that are effective to heal the emotional, mental and physical symptoms of PTSD.
Learning from My Own Marriage
2022 marks 34 years of marriage with five adult children and eight grandchildren. While the marriage has gone through an evolution of values, immigration experiences, processing of trauma and therapeutic awareness of neurodiverse differences and traits in both partners, Alexandra and her husband have learned to grow from being reactive, emotionally charged individuals with a difficult marriage to responsive, self-regulated but loving individuals who are looking forward to growing old together.
There is an ADHD diagnosis and traits of autism that explain much of the misunderstanding that occurred early in the marriage before kids and in areas of the marriage that needed to be re-examined after becoming empty-nesters. Alexandra enjoys helping couples discover how to have a new marriage with this same person, while the old way of being married needs to be left behind.
It has been said that we should have to pass a test to be allowed to have children. And Alexandra often felt that raising her kids was actually the beginning of finally growing up. The responsibility, love and energy spent on children calls forth from parents what feels like a superhuman strength.
While raising five kids, who are now adults with 8 grandchildren, Alexandra got to see her own strengths and weaknesses. She learned what were the parts inside that continued to develop into a thoughtful adult human and which parts were still stuck in an emotional past and have needed therapy to become unstuck. She and her partner, the father of her children, have learned to accept and become the adults in the room.
There is a way of holding space for our children, while they are children, that will allow them to be adults with fewer emotional parts of them stuck in the past. Recognizing these developmental stages of children and meeting them where they are helps them become full adults emotionally at the same time as they grow up physically.
As a Certified Sex Therapist, Alexandra can help you look beyond physical practices and exercises. Sex therapy has a lot to do with understanding the unrecognized values, adult fantasies (often unidentified as such), and emotional attachment styles created in childhood. Couples therapy with Alexandra can include some sessions that explore what the relationship’s sexual life means to each partner and how it can be improved through honest, safe communication about desires, intentions and behaviors, and then worked on together in the couple through “homeplay” exercises.
What does the Therapy look like?
Alexandra has been trained in couples therapy - IFIO (Intimacy from the Inside Out) - and is a certified sex therapist as well. Her individual therapy training has been in Internal Family Systems. These trainings have highlighted to her the importance of the frame of therapy, where couples are held with deep respect by a fully present therapist. Therapy is a place for couples to allow the different parts of themselves to come forward and be witnessed and accepted by the therapist, their partner and their own authentic Self.
Without any pathologizing, therapy allows different behaviors to be examined, to help determine obstacles to be overcome, as well as strengths that can facilitate personal growth and healthy bonding in relationships. Therapy is a place to recognize that behaviors come from reactions to trauma, difference in brain function or good intentioned defensive parts and that understanding these roots of behavior go a long way to helping the client grow and mature, as well as receive compassion from partners and family members who join the therapy.
I Serve these Counseling Needs:
Couples Communication and Relationship
Practically Perfect Parenting
Immigration / Cultural Transitions
Chosen Family Dynamics
Fluent in Spanish and English, Conversational in Turkish, Familiar understanding of French, Smattering of Russian, Greek and Catalan.
Registered Associate, AMFT # 126908
Supervised by Dr. Harry Motro, LMFT #53452
Employed by New Path Couples Therapy Inc.