Mobirise

Maria-Io Akalestou

Psychologist, systemic psychotherapist

In-person sessions during the COVID-19 pandemic - please read before coming in for your appointment

I am a licenced psychologist (L.N. 6641/07, Hellenic Republic), specialised in systemic psychotherapy.

In my private practice, I work with adolescents, adults, couples and families in assessment, counselling and psychotherapy, and with children in assessment and family therapy.

I approach my work through an integrative, scientifically informed, evidence-based framework that aims at empowering persons to connect elements of their lives into a coherent narrative. My understanding of a psychological intervention is that of a joint effort to raise self- and other-awareness, foster emotional connection and a sense of interpersonal security, all leading up to developing psychological resilience.

As I am interested in both applied and research psychology, I am keen on disseminating knowledge on mental health issues through seminars and workshops. I am available to organise and conduct seminars and workshops in areas proximal to my scientific and clinical interests.

Counselling and psychotherapy sessions, workshops and seminars are offered in both Greek and English.

Mobirise

Services

  • Counselling and psychotherapy (Adolescents and adults)
  • Couples' and family therapy (All age groups)
  • Parenting counselling
  • Mental health-related workshops and seminars ('Interpersonal skills', 'Stress & Coping', 'Intervening in school bullying' etc.) 
  • Psychometric assessment (only offered in Greek)

A systemic approach in psychotherapy conceptualises the presenting problems of persons, couples and families by focusing on interactions, both among them and with relevant systems of reference. Systemic interventions aim at eliciting change not only in the person, but in the whole of the system of interaction.

Counselling and psychotherapy services are offered to individuals, couples and families of every constellation, makeup, gender, age, ethnic origin, religion, ability, sexual orientation and gender identity, in a respectful, accepting, safe and confidential environment, and in accordance to professional standards and current codes of ethics.

Psychometric assessment allows for profounder understandings of presenting problems and guides a needs-based approach on psychological intervention planning, implementation and evaluation.

Education

I completed my undergraduate studies at the Programme of Pscyhology of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, from which I graduated in 2006 ('Excellent'/First class honours degree equivalent). (The Programme has since been renamed as Department of Psychology, while maintaining the same syllabus for the graduate degree in Psychology.)

I then pursued postgraduate studies in the UK, that led to a Master's of Science in Child and Adolescent Mental Health from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, in 2008.

In 2008, I began my postgraduate training in systemic psychotherapy at the Tavistock and Portman Foundation Trust & University of East London, and received a Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Systemic Theory, in 2009. I completed my training at the EFTA-TIC member University Mental Health Research Institute, in Athens, Greece ('4-year Postgraduate Programme in Systemic Couples' and Family Therapy', UMHRI & 1st Psychiatric Clinic, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens - Eginitio Hospital), in 2013.

Since 2018, I am a doctoral candidate at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (Department of Psychiatric Health and Behavioral Sciences, Faculty of Nursing, School of Health Sciences).

During my years of professional and research activity, I have received continuing training and professional development in relevant fields (CPD 'Working with families with physical illness: A systemic approach', Tavistock and Portman Foundation Trust, 2010; Adolescent and Adult Personality Assessment through the Μinnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2, ΙSON Psychometrica, 2014; Assessment and Intervention Tools in Learning Difficulties, National Centre for Scientific Research 'Demokritos', 2015; Qualitative Research: Introduction and Applications, Nursing Studies Association & National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, 2016-2017; ΗΟΜΒΑΤ - Combating HOMophoBic And Transphobic bullying in schools, 2019; CPD 'An introduction to working effectively with gender non-conforming young people', Tavistock and Portman Foundation Trust, 2019 etc.).

Professional development

Clinical and Applied Work

2014 - 2017
Counsellor at the Counselling and Psychological Support Centre of the Hellenic Open University - Athens branch 

2012 - 2014
Honorary Clinical Associate (co-therapist) at the Couples' and Family Psychotherapy Practice. Centre for Psychotherapies, 1st Psychiatric Clinic, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens - Eginitio Hospital

2009 - This day
Psychologist in Private Practice, Greece
Full Member of the Association of Greek Psychologists (M.N. 1829)

2008 - This day
Member of the British Psychological Society (M.N. 236598)

2007 - 2008
Honorary Clinical Associate, Children's Psychological Medicine, St. Thomas' Hospital, Guy's and St. Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust (04/2008-07/2008) and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, Lambeth, South London and Maudsley Mental Health Trust, UK (10/2007-6/2008)

2007
Professional License to Practice in Psychology, Hellenic Democracy (R.N. 6641/07)

2006 - 2007
Postgraduate clinical locum, Child and Adolescent Department, Community Mental Health Centre of Peristeri, Attica Psychiatric Hospital Trust, Greece (1/2006-7/2007)

Research and Teaching

2018 - This day
Doctoral candidate, Department of Nursing, School of Health Sciences, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

2011 - 2014
Research Consultant (researcher, teacher trainer and supervisor) at the Ministry of Health and European Union co-funded research project, titled 'Primary school violence and bullying prevention and intervention programme: STOP Intra-school violence'. Association for the Psychosocial Health of Children and Adolescents, Athens, Greece (6/2011-2/2014)

2013 - This day
Member of the Education Coordinators' Registry, Actions 1 & 2, 'Educators' Sensitisation and Professional Development'. Centre for the Development of Educational Policy, General Federation of Workers' Associations, Greece.

2009 - 2010
Visiting Research Associate, Department of Health Services and Population Research, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London (7/2009-7/2010)

Administrative roles

2011 - 2014
Course administrator / Research Consultant to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation-funded training course/research project, titled 'Introduction to the Systemic Approach and to Whole-Family Interventions, in mental health services'. Hellenic Systemic Traning and Family Therapy Association, Athens, Greece (10/2011-09/2014)

2005 - 2014
Member of Organising Committees to numerous scientific conferences, master classes and day-meetings, both in Greece and in the UK

Publications


2020

Akalestou, M.I., Papaligoura, Z., Mpellali, Th., Papadatou, D. (2020, October). Children of LGBT+ parents at school: Evidence from research and good practices for educators. Oral presentation at the 4th Panhellenic Conference of Sociology of Education, University of Ioannina, Greece.

2018
Akalestou, M.I., Papaligoura, Z., Mpellali, Th., Papadatou, D. (2018, November). School entry of children with LGBT parents: Existing research and good practices. Oral presentation at the 7th Panhellenic Conference of Counselling Psychology, University of Thessaly, Greece.

2017
Akalestou, M.I., Givropoulou, D., Spyropoulou, Th., Petrogiannis, K. (2017, May). Utilizing community genograms to cope with stress in first generation migrant students of the Hellenic Open University. Poster presentation at the 16th Panhellenic Conference of Psychological Research, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.

Spyropoulou, Th., Givropoulou, D., Akalestou, M.I., Petrogiannis, K. (2017, May). The collision of traditional roles in a family with a parent with moderate disability. A case study from the student counselling service of the HOU. Poster presentation at the 16th Panhellenic Conference of Psychological Research, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.

Pomini, V., Akalestou, M. I., Tomaras, V., & Charalabaki, K. (2017). Formazione sistemica per operatori della salute mentale: un’esperienza in Grecia per affrontare la crisi. Ricerche Di Psicologia, (1), 125–142. doi:10.3280/RIP2017-001006

2016
Spyropoulou, Th., Akalestou, M.I., Petrogiannis, K. (2016, November). The contribution of social justice to counselling female students with disabilities. Oral presentation at the 6th Panhellenic Conference of Counselling Psychology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece.

Spyropoulou, Th., Akalestou, M.I., Petrogiannis, K. (2016, November). Counselling with regard to issues related to sexual diversity. Oral presentation at the 6th Panhellenic Conference of Counselling Psychology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece.

Akalestou, M.I., Spyropoulou, Th., Petrogiannis, K. (2016, November). Social Justice and the psychological symptoms of lack thereof. Oral presentation at the 6th Panhellenic Conference of Counselling Psychology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece.

Pomini, V., Akalestou, M. I., Tomaras, V., & Charalabaki, K. (2016). Systemic Training for “Frontier” Mental Health Professionals: An Experience from Greece, in The Face of The Financial Crisis. Human Systems, 27(1), 21–37.

2015
Asimopoulos, Ch., Hadjipemou, Th., and Akalestou, M. (2015). Bullying at school and mental health: Causative factors and consequences, prevention and intervention. In K. Kounti-Chronopoulou, M. Tzedaki and M. Pasa (Eds), The contribution of Social Work in Psychiatric Therapies (p.p. 362-383). Athens: Parisianos

2014
Petrogiannis, K., Akalestou, M.I., Spyropoulou, Th. (2014, November). Seeking psychological help: Findings from a needs assessment study of students of the Hellenic Open University. Oral presentation at the 5th Panhellenic Conference of Counselling Psychology, University of Patras, Greece.



Petrogiannis, K., Spyropoulou, Th., Akalestou, M.I. (2014, November). Stress and specific phobias among students of the Hellenic Open University - Findings from a student population needs assessment study. Oral presentation at the 5th Panhellenic Conference of Counselling Psychology, University of Patras, Greece.

2013
Asimopoulos, Ch., Chatzipemou, Th., Fyssas, C., Beratis, I., Laggari, V., Vasilakaki, E., Giannakopoulou, D., Papadopoulou, K., Akalestou, M.I., Papagiannopoulou, V., Syggelaki, E.M., Stefanakou, A., Tsiantis, A.K. (2013). STOP! intraschool violence. Bullying and intraschool violence prevention activities manual (2nd ed.). Athens: Association for the Psychosocial Health of Children and Adolescents

Syggelaki, E.M., Beratis, I., Akalestou, M.I., Stefanakou, A., Laggari, V., Fyssas, C., Papagiannopoulou, V., Chatzipemou, Th., Asimopoulos, Ch., Sideridis, G., Kolaitis, G., Tsiantis, A.K. (2013, May) Examining the relationship between school bullying/victimization and post-traumatic stress symptoms. Oral presentation at the 8th Child Psychiatry Conference, Athens, Greece.

Sideridis, G.D., Beratis, I.N., Tsiantis, A.K., Syngelaki, E., Asimopoulos, Ch., Laggari, V., Akalestou, M.I., Papagiannopoulou, V., Fissas, K., Stefanakou, A., Chatzipemou, Th., Diareme, St., and Tsiantis, J. (2013, February). The revised pro-victim scale: evidence of construct, convergent and discriminant validity. Paper presented at the 5th World Conference on Educational Sciences, Rome.

Syngelaki, E., Sideridis, G.D., Tsiantis, A.K., Beratis, I.N., Akalestou, M.I., Stefanakou, A., Laggari, V., Fissas, K., Papagiannopoulou, V., Chatzipemou, Th., Asimopoulos, Ch., Kolaitis, G., and Tsiantis, J. (2013, February). Multidimensionality of the Child Post-traumatic Stress Reaction Index: A myth. Paper presented at the 5th World Conference on Educational Sciences, Rome.

2012
Tsiantis, A.K., Syngelaki, E.M., Beratis, I., Akalestou, M.I., Stefanakou, A., Laggari, V., Fyssas, C., Papagiannopoulou, V., Chatzipemou, Th., Asimopoulos, Ch., Tsiantis, I., Sideridis, G. (2012, October). The relationship between bullying/victimization, school refusal and post-traumatic stress symptoms: A comparative study. Poster presentation at the 2nd Panhellenic Conference of Cognitive-Behavioural Approaches, National School of Public Health, Athens, Greece.

2009
Akalestou, M.I. (2009, July). Life Events, Empathy and Family Strengths in Cypriot Adolescents. Paper presented at the 2009 PsyPAG Conference, Cardiff.

Akalestou, M.I. (2009, April). Life Events, Empathy and Family Strengths in Cypriot Adolescents. Paper presented at the “East European versus West European Mentalities: Can We Hope to Understand One Another?” Conference, Vienna. 

2007
Akalestou, M.I., Kalantzi-Azizi, An. (2007, April). Religiosity and Cognitive Representation in Chronic Renal and Heart Disease. Poster presentation at the 11th Panhellenic Conference of Psychological Research, University of Crete, Greece.

2006
Akalestou, M.I., Leontiadou, Al., Dikaiakou, An. (2006, November). Fathers' parenting in the face of a grave psychiatric diagnosis in the child. Oral presentation at the 2nd Panhellenic Conference of Counselling Psychology, Charokopeio University, Athens, Greece.

The practice

Mobirise
Mobirise
Mobirise
Mobirise
Mobirise
Mobirise

FAQ

A first appointment works somewhere between a meet-and-greet and an initial assessment: We can talk about what brings you here. I will be asking as many questions as I need, to make sure I am the right person for you. If my therapeutic approach is evidenced for the kind of issues or complaints you bring to counselling or therapy and you also feel that I can be of help to you, I will recommend either further evaluation, or counselling or psychotherapy (individual, couples' or family). If I recommend counselling or psychotherapy we will agree on the basis of our future work together, i.e. the frequence of our sessions, an estimate of counselling or therapy duration and my fee. If further evaluation is recommended, I will explain my rationale and all relevant details (timescale, expected benefits, cost). Otherwise, I will refer you to a colleague or service that I consider to be more appropriate.

Individual counselling and psychotherapy sessions have a duration of 50', whereas couples' therapy and family therapy sessions last 80'. 

We will agree on the cost of your sessions on our first meeting. The practice is private, which means I do not take public sector insurance. If you have out-of-network therapy benefits from your private insurance, please consult with your agent beforehand and please inform me as well.

Some low cost session slots are available to self-funded undergraduate students and persons under financial strain, usually early in the afternoon. 

If you are late to a session, I regret not being able to give you extra time, as the delay would pass on to the sessions booked next on my schedule. 

If you cancel a session less than 24 hours before, or don't show up for your session, you will be charged a 50% cancellation fee. This cost is meant to partially compensate for the time reserved for our session. If you cancel or don't show up due to an emergency (personal health issues or equally urgent matters) no cancellation fees will be charged. If I have to cancel a session on my part, I will make sure to let you know as early as possible, and re-book your appointment as soon as I can.

If you are an adult interested in booking an appointment, you will need to contact me in person. You can contact me in person if you are an adolescent, too, but you need to have your parent's or guardian's permission to see me, and they need to accompany you on your first appointment.

I work with minors under the age of 13 either in assessment/psychometric evaluation, or in family therapy. This means that I do not offer individual counselling or psychotherapy sessions to anyone under the age of 13. However, I do counsel parents of toddlers and children with an aim of assisting them to better understand and help their children, even if the family does not qualify for, or does not wish to enter family therapy.

For persons under 18 whose parents are divorced and parental responsibility is shared, I need to have written and signed permission from both parents in order to see their child.

All counselling, psychotherapy and assessment information is strictly confidential, and the legal framework that protects your own, or your child's personal data is in full effect.

In extremely rare circumstances, I am legally binded to selectively break confidentiality, if I jugde it to be of utmost importance to protect your life and/or physical integrity, or the one of another person. In this case, I reserve the right to contact your next of kin, and/or the authorities.

I can only offer psychometric assessment to persons whose native language is Greek.

Such assessments usually follow a referral made from a psychiatrist, or child psychiatrist. Still, as psychologists, we retain the right to make use of the psychometric tools that are available to us without a referral from a medical doctor, as this helps us clarify presenting problems, plan and evaluate psychological interventions.

The length of a psychometric assessment varies according to the referral, and hence to the psychometric battery in use.

The cost of an assessment, which is usually agreed upon at the end of an initial exploratory meeting, is significant. This reflects the length of the examination, as well as the thorough analysis and processing of the findings, and composition of relevant reports, on behalf of the psychologist.

It's important to be on time for your appointment, on the day of the assessment, as we can't curtail the examination process. A good night's sleep and a balanced diet also play a part, to at extent, on your, or your child's, assessment results.

The findings of a psychometric assessment are made available in priority to the psychiatrist or child psychiatrist who has referred you, or your child, to examination (in the case when a referral has been made). Whether you have been referred by a medical doctor or not, we still can discuss some of the findings together, but we will need to take into account the restrictions placed by the professional conduct code of psychologists, around the dissemination of psychometric evaluation results to non-professionals, and also issues around confidentiality.

When a child or an adolescent is referred for psychometric evaluation, I expect to be contacted by the minor's parent or guardian to book the appointment. Same as in counselling and psychotherapy, when a persons under 18 whose parents are divorced and custody is shared is referred for assessment, I need to have written and signed permission from both parents, in order to be able to assess their child.

All counselling, psychotherapy and assessment information is strictly confidential, and the legal framework that protects your own, or your child's personal data is in full effect.

In extremely rare circumstances, I am legally binded to selectively break confidentiality, if I jugde it to be of utmost importance to protect your life and/or physical integrity, or the one of another person. In this case, I reserve the right to contact your next of kin, and/or the authorities.

Those two terms are often used interchangeably in English. When it comes to counselling and psychotherapy as practiced in Greece, counselling mostly refers to short- to mid-term psychological interventions (i.e. ones that require fewer sessions than psychotherapy), that tend to be focused on specific issues. The mental health professional might position themselves in a more instructional/guiding manner in counselling, at least to some extent. Mental health practitioners who work in counselling come from a variety of professional backgrounds and usually (but not necessarily) have relevant qualifications and/or experience, but no particular professional limitations apply.

Psychotherapy is thought of as a mid- to long-term psychological intervention, during which the therapist's positioning tends to be non-instructive, non-guiding. This is thought to promote the person's own prioritization and understanding of the issues they bring to therapy, and aims at fostering agency, in order for the person to make their own decisions and craft change in their lives. Psychotherapists are mental health practitioners who have successfully completed a postgraduate psychotherapeutic training scheme with a minimum duration of 4 years part-time/2 years full-time.

You will have to climb down a few steps when accessing the office building from the 3, Kosma Aitolou entrance. There are quite a few steps more, when accessed from 4, Fragkokklisias street. There is an elevator operating from ground floor level. Ample space is available in the office rooms and toilet, but unfortunately no equipment (handlebars etc.) is available for persons with mobility limitations and/or wheelchair users, at this time.

To reduce the spread of COVID-19, we have prioritized the use of teleconferencing to conduct sessions, in accordance with the instructions issued by the Association of Greek Psychologists. As a result, the office primarily serves via teleconference, at this time. In-person sessions are limited to persons who cannot secure privacy for online sessions, do not have access to a reliable internet connection, or are not familiar enough with electronic means of communication.

Keeping personal protection measures (sanitizing hands on entry, using a protective face mask, keeping safe distance) is obligatory, during your journey to and from the office (i.e. in public means of transport, elevators and common areas) as well as for the duration of your stay on office premises (i.e. during your session, or the session of your child, if it is necessary to escort them).

Use of waiting areas in the office has been suspended, until further notice, with the sole exception of persons accompanying minors to their session. It is therefore important to show up punctually at the time of your appointment (not earlier); please bear in mind that sessions cannot be extended beyond the agreed-upon time slot, to ensure proper ventilation between sessions.

Office space fulfills government requirements for the use of closed surroundings, for your visit. Hand sanitizer, a water cooler and paper cups, soap, paper towels, and protective masks are available on the premises. Constant care is being taken to regularly ventilate the rooms, sanitize surfaces, and maintan air conditioning hygiene.

Important notice: If at any time you experience symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath, or have come in contact with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case, please let us know, do not come in for your appointment, and contact EODY (1135) or your healthcare provider for further guidance.

Contact me

Address
4, Fragkokklisias st., building B, Marousi 151 25
(Also accessible from 3, Kosma Aitolou st.)

Telephone
(+30) 6981 051730
(+30) 210 6198377
Contact hours: Monday to Friday, 10am - 8pm.

E-mail
m.i.akalestou[@]gmail.com

You always need to book a session (via telephone or e-mail) beforehand; we regret not being able to offer a sit-and-wait practice. Appointments can be arranged throughout the day, Monday through Friday, depending on availability.

Access via public transport
Bus lines from downtown Athens: 550, Α7, Α8 (Ioannidou stop)
Bus lines from Northern Suburbs: 550, Α7, Α8, Χ14 (Ioannidou stop)
Local line: 411 (Fragkokklisias stop, 300 metres)
Suburban railway: Kifisias station (300 metres)
Metro, Green Line: Neratziotissa station (1200 metres)

Private car parks
Cityzen Parking & Services (2, Fragkokklisias st.)
Maroussi Plaza (3A, Fragkokklisias st. & Granikou st.)
Sklavenitis overground car park (3, Chimarras st.)

© Maria-Io Akalestou, 2019-2020 - Last updated: 9 October 2020