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Short version: Relationship Experts Vancouver & International (REV) is a practice helmed by Richard Tatomir, a counselor who describes his personality as a unique blend of a psychology nerd and a people person. The couples and singles who see Richard note that he provides them with the research-based tools they need to solve their relationship problems. Specifically, he is interested in making therapy less intimidating for those who might shy away from visiting a professional. With this goal in mind, Richard makes inroads in both his Canadian community and the world by offering sessions in non-traditional settings — such as Skype, out in nature, or in his clients’ homes.
Counselor Richard Tatomir, Founder of Relationship Experts Vancouver and International, aims to meet his clients where they are at. Not only is he willing to see them at whatever location makes them feel most comfortable, but he also distills complex research into step-by-step processes they can easily implement in their lives.
“I’m a scientist-researcher at heart, but I’m also a people person,” he said. “I take research about relationships and make it understandable to everyone.”
While Richard values psychological research, he said that much of it is too esoteric — and inaccessible — for people to grasp and use in their daily lives. He aims to change that mindset.
“Sometimes, the research is sitting away on a dusty shelf, or somewhere on the internet,” he said. “I try to make sense of that research and break it into practical, actionable skills. Clients have said that motivates them.”
Richard’s clients are diverse in their ages, backgrounds, and needs, but have one factor in common: They want to change the patterns that are holding them back in relationships.
“I work with couples, singles, or anybody having relationship issues,” he said. “A lot of my clients are between 25 and 40. That includes millennials, Generation X, and everyone in between. Many of them are successful in business, and I enjoy working with entrepreneurs, self-starters, and motivated folks.”
Client motivation is key to Richard’s success. And he doesn’t take on clients who aren’t willing to implement the strategies he suggests.
“I choose my clients carefully,” he said. “Sometimes I will hold the first session for free, or on the phone, to see if we’re a good fit. Because, when our sessions begin, I hit the ground running on the principles of making relationships work, facing fears and traumas, and we work from there.”
After finishing graduate school in 2013, Richard continued to study the methods he thought would be most effective for his clients. His strategies are unique, but all of them are research-based.
“The focus of my company is to do something different with relationships. I use evidence-based methods, such as the Gottman Method and Emotionally Focused Therapy, and I am trained in both of those methods,” he said.
While he has already had success with clients, Richard said he still wants to learn more about how to better serve them. He considers himself a lifelong learner.
He also puts education at the forefront of his practice, even if that means having to adjust the time he spends at work while he’s learning.
“I will be starting my Ph.D. in the fall, so my practice will have to work with that,” Richard said.
One of Richard’s other lifelong interests is teaching. He said he uses that passion to engage his community on relationship topics about which they may not have otherwise known.
“I consider myself a counselor-educator,” he said. “I do workshops at least once a month at a sex and relationship store in Vancouver.”
These workshops have helped reach those who wouldn’t normally seek out therapy in a traditional, one-on-one setting. Richard said the educational approach reaches more people than traditional counseling would.
“I’ve worked with people across North America and the UK, and I’m open to an international audience.” — Richard Tatomir, Founder of Relationship Experts Vancouver & International
He is also considering other areas in which his relationship-building therapy might be useful. After all, Richard’s strategies don’t just apply to romantic relationships but also to many other types of interpersonal bonds.
“In the future, I might go into businesses to provide training for teams, or maybe I’ll help other counseling practices or teams work through conflict and mediation,” he said.
Even though Richard resides in Vancouver, his counseling community is growing beyond just the region. He said he plans to build an international base of clients and followers.
“I do in-person sessions all over Metro Vancouver, but I do Skype and Zoom sessions, as well,” he said. “I’ve worked with people across North America and the UK, and I’m open to an international audience.”
Richard understands that many people are nervous about signing up for therapy — especially couples therapy. With this idea in mind, he aims to make therapy less intimidating by hosting sessions in places where his clients feel comfortable.
“I meet people in nature, or at the mall, or in their homes,” he said. “Whatever is most comfortable. Clients love that flexibility.”
He also is open with his clients, supporting them through their struggles by being there for them when they need him. He said he is available, within reason, by phone or email on a daily basis to help with situations that pop up — like being nervous before a big date.
Richard said he believes that when clients feel like their therapist is reachable, they will be more willing to implement his suggestions.
“Clients have had a lot more success in their homework,” he said. “With me on their side, they feel less like avoiding the situation.”
Richard is also in the process of developing retreats, intensive weekends, and other immersive experiences for couples, singles, and professionals where he will help clients explore long-held beliefs and behaviors that cause distress or inhibit potential — perhaps for their entire life.
Over several hours or days, clients will learn and role-play specific skills and mindsets to overcome blocks. This idea is backed by more than 40 years of research into “encounter groups,” “sensitivity training groups” (T-groups), and “therapeutic communities” (TC’s). These groups and communities have allowed many clients to make identity-level, transformative change using the power of group psychology — think Don Draper in the final episode of Mad Men for a rough example.
Couples, singles, or families need not wait to join a group, as they can work by themselves. Richard applies many of the same immersive, multi-hour interventions in a client’s home, or other private settings.
“We are innovators in this area, and see clients on hotel rooms, cabins, even at sea, which allows them to get away from negative environmental influences and gain a new experience of understanding themselves and their partner.”
Like the scientist he is, Richard is always seeking feedback from clients on the therapies and strategies he provides.
“At the end of our sessions, I always ask my clients what they learned and what was helpful,” he said. “It’s been amazing and rewarding to hear clients say, ‘I started out totally nervous about dating, now I’m going on regular dates. I’m much more mindful of what I want.’”
Other clients tell him they’ve learned to value themselves and their relationships more than they did before.
“Some tell me, ‘I’m choosier. I’m no longer at the whims of the other person,’” he said. “Other couples have thought it was time to divorce, but then they learned principles to bring the passion back into their relationship. They acquired practical skills to deal with conflict.”
While some therapists may wonder about their clients’ outcomes, Richard often knows that clients are satisfied when he doesn’t hear from them.
“Sometimes the best thing is that I don’t hear from a client for a while,” he says. “I may hear of their success later though, often through the many family members and friends they send to me, with the new referral telling me how well the original client is doing in their relationship.”
Ultimately, Richard wants his clients to finish with therapy because that means they can implement on their own the strategies he’s given them. If a client doesn’t come to see him anymore, he’s satisfied.
“My job is to put myself out of a job,” he said. “That’s when I do my best work.”