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Erin  Brienza profile

Erin Brienza, LCSW

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Message from Erin

I'm glad you reached out. Asking for help can be the hardest part and shows courage. I look forward to learning more about how I can help you on your journey. Please contact me if you would like to schedule a free consultation.

About Erin 's practice



Weekdays After 5pm

Weekdays Before 9am

Weekdays 9am - 5pm




Sliding scale







In-person available: Yes

Virtual available: Yes



Life Transitions

Existential Crisis or Transition

Intrusive Thoughts




Addiction and Substance Use




Out of network providers



NY + 1 more

Why state matters


Get to Know Erin

"Erin brings a caring, compassionate and empathic approach to her work with clients and colleagues. Her clinical experience and depth of knowledge inform her work which I held in high regard as a co-worker and fellow therapist. Further, her positive attitude and ability to see the world through her own life experience help people connect and thrive while working together. When I reflect, I’m always glad that she is part of my professional path."

Douglas Brown, LMSW, Colleague

Where did you work before going into private practice?

Before entering private practice I worked in community based mental health and substance abuse clinics as a mental health and substance abuse therapist treating individuals from varied backgrounds and with a broad range of mental health concerns. Additionally, I spent three years as a clinical supervisor in an OASAS and OMH licensed clinic providing supervision to therapists from varied treatment disciplines including CASAC, LMHC, LMSW and L-CAT.

What led you to become a mental healthcare practitioner?

I've always wanted to be of service to others, which is what led me to social work school. There I discovered that I most enjoyed and excelled at developing and engaging in the therapeutic relationship with individuals, and that it is in this area that I have the most to offer.

What is unique about the work you do, or how have you found your work to be different than your colleagues'?

While I have experience working in several modalities I am not committed to any specifically. Rather, I am more interested in finding the right fit for each person I work with. Also, many therapists are not comfortable treating someone for mental health who may also be struggling with a substance abuse or misuse issue. I am comfortable with this and have often worked with clients from a harm reduction perspective while also addressing mental health concerns.

What is the best part of the work for you?

The best part of the work for me definitely is knowing that I am helping people create positive change and healing in their lives.

Please share 2-3 anonymized examples of how the work can play out and/or look in the room so that I can form a visual or narrative of what to expect.

If you are not sure exactly what you want to get out of therapy I may ask you questions to elicit an understanding of what you would like to accomplish or to help you clarify goals that you have or would like to establish. Something I like to do is to help my clients imagine a time in the future when they are feeling better or living in a way that feels more authentic. I then hold on to this vision for my clients while we work through issues that arise. I may also ask questions to clarify or challenge assumptions or ideas that you hold about yourself, and may offer my perspective on what you tell me.

Is there ever a time when you would encourage me to leave or graduate? Or how do I know when it's time to end or move on, or time to stay and explore more?

If a client seems ready to leave therapy I will review with them the goals they have achieved, and explore how it feels to talk about them. I think that even when it feels like the work is done, clients may need time to integrate the changes they have made. Sometimes a premature loss of the therapeutic relationship can interrupt this process and be detrimental. I will only encourage someone to graduate if, at the onset, the client intended the work to be time restricted and focused on specific and measurable goals and these goals have been met. Even then, however, I would want to explore whether there are new goals that have emerged. Ultimately, I believe that clients know when it is time to stop and that, if I have done my job correctly, the therapeutic relationship will be strong enough for this to be discussed and decided upon in that context.

How will our relationship be different than relationships I have with friends/loved ones?

The therapeutic relationship is different from other relationships in your life because it is all about facilitating change for you. Talking to a friend or family member may be helpful or even feel therapeutic, but when you work with me I will bring my knowledge and skills to bear on your particular set of circumstances, which can be much more effective than just talking to someone.

How should I prepare for my first session with you?

Just show up. The work starts when you are ready.

How participatory are you during sessions?

Each client is different and I will definitely follow your lead. Some clients work best when they have someone who listens deeply, and only comments occasionally. Others prefer more give-and-take, and find it helpful when the therapist asks questions. How active my participation is during sessions will always be based on client need.

How much do you share about yourself during our time together and why?

Some clients are more curious than others about their therapist. I don’t believe that there is a right or a wrong way to be in this regard, and I will always honestly answer questions about myself as long as I believe that answering will not damage the therapeutic relationship. That said, I am always mindful that your therapy is about you, not me. I am meant to be a supportive guide, so I generally do not share personal information unless asked or unless I believe that it will be helpful to the client in a significant way.

How long should I commit to being in therapy, at least in the beginning?

I think that after a few sessions you will know if we are a good fit. Beyond that, a time commitment is something that will be discussed and worked out based on your particular needs and goals. There is no specific time frame for therapy. Change takes time and the length of time a person spends in therapy is different for each individual.

How do you approach diversity in the room or working with clients who may come from a different background than you?

I approach diversity with curiosity, interest, and sensitivity and with awareness of what I may bring into the relationship.

How can you tell if I am feeling stuck, unseen, or unheard?

If a client is feeling stuck, I will tend to feel it as well. When I am feeling frustrated with treatment I take that as a clue that something isn't working for the client and that we may need to look at the path we have been pursuing and examine that together.

How can you tell if I am benefiting from working with you?

Sometimes it can be obvious–the client is making better choices, reports feeling better, etc. Oftentimes, however, it is harder to see. I believe that therapy can take a long time to show "results," but I also believe that when a client develops a therapeutic alliance with me and that alliance continues to grow and deepen, healing is always happening.

Have you received any particular training beyond your post-Bachelor's training?

I have received extra training in the identification and treatment of trauma and substance abuse/misuse. I also continue to take continuing education courses in a variety of mental health issues.

From your perspective, what is therapy?

Therapy can be the best gift that you give yourself. It is taking charge of your emotional life with the help and support of a therapist. It involves learning to navigate obstacles and discovering and understanding patterns and/or maladaptive coping mechanisms that have developed based on past conditioning. These are patterns that you may not be aware of and may be holding you back from growing into the person that you have the potential to be.

Do you have experience (5-10 years+) working with any types of obstacles or people in particular?

I have worked with a very wide variety of people and diagnoses but have particularly deep experience in treating addictions and trauma.

Do you assign homework, activities, or readings for me to do between sessions? Why or why not?

I will never make an assignment a requirement of therapy, but I may suggest an activity to try between sessions or offer a suggested reading or worksheet. This is very dependent on the needs of the client. Some clients find having an assignment to be very grounding and that it helps them feel connected to the work they are doing in session, while others find that it is burdensome and would like to take time off from the work between sessions. Sometimes it depends on the type of work. For habit reversal, for instance, some between session activities may be appropriate. With work that is very emotionally difficult, it may be important for the client to only engage in the work while in session.

Are there any philosophies or values that inform your work that I should know about?

Values that impact my work are social justice and humanism. As a result, my work will always focus on you in relation to outside social and political forces, as well as on your internal and interpersonal processes. In other words, how do you fit into the society (family, work, other relationships) in which you live and how does it affect your mental health and overall wellbeing?

If I have never been to therapy before, what should I expect? How do I know if I should go, and how do I start?

I like to tell my clients that they will be in charge of their treatment at all times. I think sometimes people tend to feel like entering treatment is a type of surrender. I like to re-write that into the more empowering and accurate idea that you are making a choice to change. I believe that everyone can benefit from therapy and that there are no right or wrong issues to work on. Therapy can and should be unique to each person. You can expect me to greet you with an open mind and with a warmth and acceptance, and a commitment to helping you to heal and grow. There is no right way to start and no specific thing to say or do. Just show up with an open mind, if possible, and see where it goes.