Therapy with Arianna
From your perspective, what is therapy?
Therapy can wear so many different hats. It can be a place to unpack difficult feelings and thoughts that are overwhelming or causing pain. It’s also a place where you can work on the parts of yourself that are not where you want them to be. In its simplest form, therapy is a place where you can focus on you—whatever that means to you, without judgment and a sense of comfort and safety.
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.
-One client came to me with a history of sexual abuse as a child. In addition to this trauma, she was dealing with struggling to form close, intimate relationships in her present. After being able to acknowledge and open the door to her relationship with her 7-year-old self, the client was able to develop sympathy and care for herself in ways that was not provided to her as a child. After coming to peace with this part of herself, the client was able to terminate trauma therapy, but remained open to the possibility of returning to therapy to work on more present issues.
-Another client came in struggling with coping after a recent sexual assault. After getting to know the client more, it became clear that she had a real issue being vulnerable and asking for help, which was making her recovery more difficult. We unpacked many of her childhood memories and developed new skills to be able to assert herself more and let others help her. By the time we terminated, the client was much better at letting others in.
Are there any philosophies or values that inform your work that I should know about?
I have a strong belief in highlighting and focusing on a client’s strengths in therapy. People tend to be hard on themselves and see their ways of being or ways of coping as maladaptive or “wrong,” but my therapy is rooted in the belief that these skills or habits were once useful and vital in getting the client to the place they are now. The foundation for therapy should be focused on all of the things the client did right with the tools they had, and then expanding that tool belt.
How much do you share about yourself during our time together and why?
I do not share much about myself in therapy. Therapy should be focused on you and your needs and that can get lost if another person comes into the mix. I do this because I don’t believe that self-disclosure on my part is necessary to do really meaningful work together. If you do have a question, it’s totally okay to ask, we might just have to unpack what an answer would mean to you!
How participatory are you during sessions?
I’m very participatory in session! A good therapeutic relationship starts with two people building trust together. I love talking to my clients and bouncing ideas off of them about what they feel is happening.
Do you assign homework, activities, or readings for me to do between sessions? Why or why not?
If I do assign homework, it usually means giving you an opportunity to further reflect on your feelings on your own, outside of session. It will never be extensive and will never feel like “homework,” but more as an opportunity for you to be introspective.
How will our relationship be different than relationships I have with friends/loved ones?
Our relationship as therapist and client will be different than the ones you have with family and friends in a few different ways. Therapy is all about you and working on your needs. Other relationships you have will be mutually supportive—meaning you also provide the other person with support when they need it. Though we will develop a very genuine, trusting bond, your choices will not personally impact me, giving me the space to be an objective person in your life whose sole job is to facilitate your growth.
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?
Knowing when to move on and end therapy is a very personal decision and will vary from person to person. In my experience, which has mainly been working with trauma survivors, clients have tended to feel “finished” processing the trauma and felt okay to stop therapy for a while. Again, this will vary and may not necessarily happen. This is an important decision to discuss and process with your therapist!
Where did you work before going into private practice?
I completed my clinical internship at the Crime Victims Treatment Center, and I currently work full-time at a non-profit agency serving survivors of crime called North Brooklyn Coalition Against Family Violence.
Have you received any particular training beyond your post-Bachelor’s training?
I have been trained specifically in the AEDP (Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy) approach and intend to become certified.
What led you to become a mental healthcare practitioner?
I entered the mental health profession through both my love for understanding the “why” of people’s actions and choices but also because I deeply believe in the strength that every individual has. Going into this field has allowed me the unique position of being the person who highlights that strength and helps you see it too. I became a trauma therapist because the healing survivor experience is something I care tremendously about.
What is the best part of the work for you?
For me, the best part of doing this work is when a client finally starts to see how strong, brave, and resilient they are and feels empowered enough to make life changes that actually stick. The therapeutic relationships I build with my clients are incredibly unique and special to me and there is a real sense of pride that comes from seeing someone grow and learn.
What is unique about the work you do, or how have you found your work to be different than your colleagues’?
I specialize in trauma work, which not many of my colleagues are focusing on. Additionally, I acknowledge that therapy is a relationship between two humans with two personalities, ideas, thoughts, and feelings. My approach is relational, which means our relationship will be the foundation of our work together. Many people have a set idea of a therapist being an older white man who does not say anything and never shows emotion. This isn’t true! Because we will develop a genuine, caring relationship, I will be affected by the things you say and do. Using this to our advantage is what separates my work from others.
How do you approach diversity in the room or working with clients who may come from a different background than you?
Diversity is a wonderful thing, and, as New Yorkers, we’re lucky enough to be surrounded by it. In the room, I will acknowledge differences when they arise and be transparent if I’m not understanding something. I also hope to talk about your experience working with me and ask that it is an ongoing conversation.
How can you tell if I am benefiting from working with you?
You know yourself best, so I trust your feelings and thoughts above all else. Sometimes, though, we can be our toughest critic and not recognize our small achievements as achievements at all. It is my job to notice even the smaller changes you make for yourself and celebrate them. It’s the little changes that show you are making progress.
How can you tell if I am feeling stuck, unseen, or unheard?
Because therapy is really just a unique relationship between two people, when you’re feeling stuck, I am usually feeling it, too. This may not always be the case, though, which is where open communication is a key factor to making our relationship—like any relationship—work.
How long should I commit to being in therapy, at least in the beginning?
For therapy to have a meaningful impact on you, I would recommend at least 6 months of consistent therapy to start.
How should I prepare for my first session with you?
First sessions can be nerve-wracking, especially if you’ve never been to therapy before. When we schedule our first session, I will send over an intake form to be completed and brought to our first session. This will gather background information that may be helpful to me as well as any other relevant information. In addition, I would suggest having a small mental list of issues you’d like to work on and any goals you hope to achieve through therapy. They can be very vague, we will talk about them in more detail when you come in!
Do I need to bring anything with me?
Please bring a filled out intake form that I send you via email after our consultation call.
Do I need to be mindful of anything in particular while commuting to your office?
My office is not currently wheelchair accessible.