top of page

Zainab Akef


Multicultural & Immigrant Experiences
Couples & Relationship Conflict


زينب عاكف

Zainab Akef therapist at Catalyst Counseling in Woodinville, WA


To me, counseling means going on a journey together. You decide what you want to work on, and we work together to meet your goals. Counseling requires courage and vulnerability. It’s developing a therapeutic space where you know you are safe enough to share, or be held accountable, or learn. It could mean sharing some of the deepest thoughts that you never thought you could share with someone, and knowing that you are safe here to do that. I am not a friend or a mom or a coworker — a therapist cares about your well-being and is there to help you facilitate how to deal with your problems and manage your emotional states, but a therapist is not going to be with you 24/7. Because I’m not from your family, and I might not be from your community, I can understand the situation from different aspects and without being emotionally involved. I am just here for you. I don’t expect you to care for me, or give to me in the same way you’d give to a friend.

Not all problems are easily fixable, and those are the best problems to bring to the therapy space. If you are dealing with a situation that you can’t change, like within your family or dealing with a wider social injustice, it’s my job to provide you with the tools to empower you to thrive through it. I will not normalize the injustice that is happening towards you or minimize how much it affects you and your psychological well being, but I will be there for you in the way that best serves you. If you are facing difficulties, I want to sit with you and first acknowledge that what you are experiencing is real. I want to sit with you and help you understand how it impacts you, but also work with you to decide who you want to be, even in the face of oppression or difficulties. There is so much we can change, and I am here to facilitate that process.

I’m very non-traditional in a traditional aspect. As a person of color, a woman, and a Muslim, people might look at me and form some preconceived notions of how I think and what I believe in. I have been judged so many times before, and I can see what that does to a person. That is why I make sure to provide you with a space that is accepting, non-judgemental, and truly helps you grow. I am welcoming and understanding, and I do not care about how you look or where you are from. My job is to get you closer to the person that you want to be, and not the person you are expected to be. As an Arab living in the United States, I have truly been immersed in both worlds. I know how hard it is to find a therapist who understands where you are coming from and your cultural background, but is also open and accepting of who you are.

If you are a person who is willing to put the work in, ready to be vulnerable in the process, and wants a therapeutic relationship that is collaborative, I am here for you. I am LGBTQ+ affirming, and have experience in dealing with depression, trauma, bipolar disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. I am trained in EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples). I also have experience with teenagers and young adults dealing with different life transitions and acculturative stress. I am bilingual in English and Arabic, and want to help you express yourself in the language you feel most comfortable in.

I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor Associate with the State of Washington (#MC61194134). I regularly seek consultation from colleagues as well as my licensed supervisor, Katherine Walter, MSW, LICSW, CSW-G (LICSW #LW 60136151).

I work with:

Teens 15+, Adults, & Seniors

Premera, Regence, BCBS, Aetna, Kaiser HMO & PPO, First Choice

Insurances I accept:

Services I offer:

Individual Therapy & Couples Therapy

English, Arabic

Languages I speak:

Introduction Video

bottom of page