Welcome to Well Acquainted … a weekly series dedicated to the amazing clinicians at Well Clinic
This week, we’re featuring a Q&A session with Alex Momtchiloff, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and co-founder of Well Clinic.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the south of England, with an American mother and a Bulgarian father.
What is your favorite quote?
“Life is no “brief candle” to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”
George Bernard Shaw, from Man and Superman
What is your favorite part about your work?
I think I am unusual in that I love working with couples who are on the verge of separation and giving it one last chance. It is so moving for me to be able to show people, when there is so much at stake, that love is still possible, and to help them find their way there.
What is your favorite thing about San Francisco?
Its proximity to wild nature in all directions. And in all senses.
What is your favorite place?
Well, I came to San Francisco nearly thirty years ago, and I haven’t left, so that gives you some idea. The American West has enough adventures for several lifetimes.
In your free time, what are you most likely doing?
Yoga, singing, sharing food with friends, looking at art, or venturing into nature.
What are five albums you’d want with you if you were stuck on a deserted island??
- Yo La Tengo – I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One
- Rolling Stones – Exile on Main Street
- Decemberists – The Hazards of Love
- Beethoven – Ninth Symphony
- Gillian Welch – Time (The Revelator)
- Iron & Wine – Our Endless Numbered Days
- Talking Heads – Remain in Light
That’s five, right?
What was your career before becoming a mental health practitioner?
I worked most of my adult life in nonprofit development in the Bay Area – environment, legal services, women’s health, social justice…
Do you have any talents that few people know about? If so, what are they?
I sing in a choir of men who cover the songs of Leonard Cohen.
What is your favorite sports team?
Yes, I am a Giants and Warriors fan. But most of my favorite sports are not team sports: tennis, gymnastics, track & field.
What is you favorite book?
It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I am working my way through a remarkable book called Far From The Tree, by Andrew Solomon. It’s about parents of children who are extraordinary in some way, and how they cope. “Life-affirming” barely covers it.
What is your favorite movie?
I love Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia. It’s about how we may have to learn our lessons over and over again, but there’s always hope for redemption.
What motivates you?
The desire to know truth; the longing for deeper connection with myself and others; the wish to reduce suffering for all beings.
Tell us about someone who inspires you … past or present?
My clients inspire me every day, through their determination to improve their lives and those of their loved ones, to discover parts of themselves that they had no idea existed … sometimes just to make it through another day.
Name one guilty pleasure, past or present.
What’s one fun thing you wish you could do more of?
What made you want to become a mental health practitioner?
I have always had a place in my heart for those who struggle and feel they don’t fit in, and I wanted to learn how to be useful to them. Also, I love to sit and talk with people. Now I get to do it all day long as my job!
What makes Well Clinic different?
We redefine therapy. We demystify it and make it accessible for people who might otherwise not seek mental health services.
By collaborating with each other we provide for our clients an experience of being supported on multiple levels. And, we do it with energy, enthusiasm, and purpose.
Learn more about Alex’s professional background as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at Well Clinic.