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Alena Gerst profile

Alena Gerst, SIFI + 1

Message from Alena

After completing my undergraduate degree in my native Arizona, I took a leap of faith and moved to NYC to test the boundaries of my abilities and stamina as a performing artist. Through the years, that faith, energy, and curiosity has continued to inform my choices, through a career change, marriage, motherhood; and now guides my work as a therapist too. I am also the founder and Director of Inside Psychotherapy, where I directly supervise a small team of talented, dedicated therapists. We look forward to seeing how we can tap into your instincts to get you where you want to be in life.

About Alena's practice



Weekdays 9am - 5pm

Weekdays After 5pm

Weekends 9am - 5pm




Sliding scale








In-person available: Yes

Virtual available: Yes



Fear of Failure

Career-Related Stress

Women's Obstacles


Health-Related Concerns or Chronic Illness

Life Transitions

Artist-Related Stress

Mid-Life Crisis



Out of network providers




Why state matters


Get to Know Alena

"As her colleague, I’ve not only recommended Alena to many friends over the years, I’ve also sought her counsel on many occasions. She strikes a unique balance between being really smart and really intuitive. As a holistic provider, she’s equally concerned with the mind and the body—or the mind-body connection. She strives for balance in all areas of life (including her own). And personally, I’ve admired what that looks like from afar. She models what it means (and looks like) to take good care of yourself."

Alena Gerst, Colleague

What are your policies and practices around insurance?

Alena accepts UMR Top Tier, for employees in the Mount Sinai Healthcare system only. We are not in network for any other insurance plans. If you plan to use your out of network mental health coverage, we will provide a statement to you every month which you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement at their rate. Regular session fees for Alena are $300, with limited reduced fees available. Regular session fees for Madison and Laura are $150. They can offer limited reduced fee options to $125 for in-person, and $100 for virtual sessions. Please inquire if you have financial need for a reduced fee and we'll do our best to accommodate.

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?

Whether you decide to work with us or someone else, if you are thinking about beginning therapy, it's probably a good idea to get started. We are a small, deeply supportive team of therapists. You are welcome to consult with any of us. If our team members are not the right fit for you, we will help you find someone who is.

Where did you work before going into private practice?

I knew going into graduate school that I wanted to take a mind/body approach to emotional healing and wellness in my work. My first job post-graduation was with Center for Urban Community Services, in a residential facility for people who had been chronically homeless with severe and persistent mental illness. While not necessarily in line with what I was looking to do, that job was incredibly challenging and rewarding. During that time, I completed a clinical rotation in therapeutic yoga techniques at inpatient hospital units at Mt. Sinai Beth Israel Department of Integrative medicine, and became certified in LifeForce Yoga for mood management at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. Then I landed my dream job at NYU Langone Medical Center in an interdisciplinary outpatient mind/body wellness center called Initiative for Women with Disabilities. I stayed there for 6 years, had two children, and took advantage of immeasurable opportunities to learn and develop as a professional and clinician. While at NYULMC, I opened my very small private practice, and after several years, my practice grew to the point where I needed to make a choice. Since leaving the hospital, I have opened a second office at an additional location, and have been honored to work with some of the healthiest people I know...those in therapy!

What led you to become a mental healthcare practitioner?

A dancer at heart, I was always interested in emotional health. I danced and performed my way through undergraduate school, while completing my bachelors degree in Psychology. Following graduation, I moved to NYC and became a professional musical theater performer for 10 years. With the emotional rollercoaster that is life in the entertainment industry, I greatly benefited from the support of a psychotherapist. When I became afflicted with a serious long-term illness, my focus turned towards my healing. In addition to my therapist and western medicine, I sought the support of healing practitioners using yoga, and other modes of complementary and alternative medicine. The journey to healing had a profound impact on me. I did return to the stage upon my recovery, but soon realized my passion had shifted. I then turned my energy toward training in mental healthcare, and integrative mind/body approaches to wellness, and I haven't looked back.

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

Any ideas for tasks between sessions arises from our conversations during the session. As you reveal to me what you feel you are lacking, we find ways to begin to slowly and intentionally integrate what you are searching for into your life. I call these tasks "Marching Orders" (referring to the book The Artists Way by Julia Cameron). Occasionally, these "assignments" may feel challenging as you come to terms with what is true for you. But usually they are designed to unlock creativity, joy, and delight.

What is the best part of the work for you?

The best part of the work for me is when a client feels they have developed a deep understanding of why they became stuck. Through their work in psychotherapy, they have made transformational changes to their thinking and behaviors, and literally altered the course of their lives. We spend some time reflecting on their progress, and then they are ready to move on, with new tools and habits to sustain them. It's quiet, diligent, life-changing work.

How participatory are you during sessions?

I am an active participant. Our sessions together will feel more like a conversation. I will ask you some questions as we go along, and do plenty of listening quietly. I am listening for you to disclose your truest desires, and what you think you need. Then I will find ways to reflect back to you what you have revealed to me. So often clients tell me, "That's a great idea!" And I'll reply, "I didn't make this up...this is what you just told me you needed to do!" Other times, I am listening for what you do not say. When I notice gaps in your thought patterns, negative self-talk tendencies, or behaviors that are either not serving you or are antithetical to what you want, I will also point those out.