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Meet Sena Yücesan: Origins Recent Exchange Practitioner from Istanbul

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The Levenson Foundation (TLF) is a privately funded philanthropic organization with a mission to measurably and positively impact the most suffering, traumatized and/or disadvantaged populations in our world. TLF is committed to helping close treatment divides in medical, clinical and spiritual best practices while also challenging cultural, ethnic, political, international and religious gaps that inhibit the advancement of the addiction treatment sciences both domestically and abroad. The Global Addiction Professional Exchange (GAP-X) program is essentially an addiction professional’s exchange program. It is funded by TLF and designed to foster the bilateral exchange of practitioners — including physicians, therapists, nurses and administrators –between participating high-quality U.S. based providers and TLF supported addiction treatment programs around the world. GAP-X allows staff to “swap spots” for a month and travel, live and work alongside their counterparts.


senaSena Yücesan, MA – Clinical Psychologist

Sena is an honors level student who earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Halic University in 2009 and her master’s degree in clinical psychology from Okan University in 2015. She is presently completing her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Istanbul University. Employed fulltime as a clinical psychologist at Avcılar Belediye Başkanlığı Counseling Center (C4 Recovery Solutions), Sena has worked as a psychologist in various professional settings since 2011. In addition to having articles published, she has received advanced training in psychodynamic, dialectical and cognitive behavioral techniques, has an extensive volunteer background, and has given a number of educational presentations and seminars. Sena arrived in the U.S. last week and after attending a conference in Florida, she will be working with Origins’ professionals in Texas.


How did you get involved with The Levenson Foundation’s GAP-X program?

Our counseling center in Istanbul cooperates with C4 Recovery Solutions.


What inspired you to work with men and women struggling with addiction?

Not too many Turkish psychologists choose to work with people who have substance use disorders because research claims success in this field is around just 8 percent. That isn’t the most encouraging percentage, so many psychologists feel like they can’t be successful in this field. To me, keeping a client clean for a day is a success — a victory! I feel very happy when I see my clients healthy. Everyone can become an addict, you just never know. That’s my motivation.


What have you learned through your experience working in the addiction field?

What I have learned is addiction that is not only a chronic disease; it is also a family disease. Addiction affects the whole family and the environment around them. In this field, you have to be open-minded and have a lot of passion to learn more to help your clients get better.


What are some differences you’ve seen in how our two countries treat addiction?

Origins has been in the field for a long time, but my country has just started to work harder to better help people struggling because of addiction. So, we have a long way to go and can learn many things from Origins because they have been through this process. Our program in Turkey is similar because we are learning from you.


What are you most looking forward to learning while here in the U.S.?

I’m looking forward to learning more about psychoneuroplasticity (PNP) and bioacoustics devices. The “Psychoneuroplasticity Protocols for Addictions” book by Dr. Frank Lawlis and Laura Martinez has inspired me a lot!


What do you plan to take from this experience when you return home?

First of all, it’s a big opportunity to be a part of Origins. When I’m back home, I know I’ll be able to help my clients better and upgrade my coworkers’ knowledge with the new information that I learn here in the U.S.


What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Do you have any pets or engage in special hobbies?  

I love spending time with my cat, Zopi, and I love being around animals. They are so kind, and their kindness makes me feel like a better person.


Is there anything else you might like to share?

I appreciate this opportunity. Being here is a big privilege. Thank you for everything…


 To learn more about The Levenson Foundation and GAP-X please visit: