…it’s so authentic and raw and genuine — the opportunity to be able to give relief to someone and to help them feel confident enough to achieve their goals.
Sitting and talking to Tanya Abughazaleh you might be tempted to call her an over-achiever. A 4.0 student through most of high school and then throughout college – she is now a dedicated Clinical Psychology doctoral student at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. But that description misses so much of who the 26-year-old LA native truly is.
Achieving is clearly a priority. While working through the fourth of a rigorous five-year Psy.D. program, Tanya manages to find time to operate a highly-successful baking business. She recently impressed her classmates and TCSPP LA Campus faculty at the 10th Anniversary LA Campus reception with her delicious but subtle anniversary cake. But once you see the other creations on her Instagram account, you realize just how creative and ambitious her baking designs are.
“Baking is my creative outlet,” she told us. “I like to see the end product – to get my hands busy creating something out of nothing. My cakes are like art – they’re my sculptures.”
Tanya started baking seriously only two years and has already garnered high-end clients from the entertainment world. As a digital native she embraced social media for her marketing and relies solely on Instagram to generate business. She has more than 6,000 followers on “TanyaAmerasCakes” which feature birthday and anniversary cakes, cookies and cupcakes – many with her own unique twist.
“The most anxiety-provoking cakes I’ve done would be a Goyard Trolly suitcase that took more than 30 hours as well as the Big Baby Boss cake. Both were quite large – practically life sized cakes and the top two cakes I’m most proud of.”
And while the baking business has been good – Tanya has no doubt about her priorities.
“I have so many different interests within the field as a clinician (for after graduation). One is working with people with severe OCD and anxiety disorders through the CBT model using exposure therapy.
There is a creative element where exposures are very tailored to each patient and can range, for example, by asking a patient lick the bottom of their shoe or touch a dirty diaper for contamination OCD.”
Tanya loves the connections she makes with people through the practice of psychology. Being able to guide people as they gain new insights and clarity about themselves and their situations is powerful.
“I like the high I get helping people. There’s nothing else like it – it’s so authentic and raw and genuine — the opportunity to be able to give relief to someone and to help them feel confident enough to achieve their goals.”
Tanya credits her background and upbringing for her own sense of confidence. She is a true Southern California product – the child of two distinct cultures. Her mother is Vietnamese and her father from Jordan.
“I was given the opportunity to individuate and become my own person. I’ve noticed along my journey that many other people are not fortunate to have that. To be able to imitate that in a professional setting is something I value and believe has helped me to become and achieve everything thus far.”