Therapy with Christie
From your perspective, what is therapy?
I view therapy as an opportunity for connection and growth. I believe that both pain and healing are rooted in the relationships we have with ourselves and others, and therapy is one of the relationships that can help heal past wounds.
Therapy is an opportunity to prioritize yourself and your wellbeing and move through darkness to create a more satisfying, joyful life.
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.
Many clients come to therapy to address anxiety and low self-esteem. In a recent session, a client shared that she got a promotion at work, but expressed she did not deserve it, that she was not as good as her colleagues, and that her bosses would soon find out they made a mistake. I sought to explore where her negative self-talk stemmed from, and she recounted many experiences of having others invalidate her successes. I offered validation and acknowledged how painful that must have been. In addition to exploring her backstory, I collaborated with my client on ways to combat her self-criticism in the moment. We focused on her good qualities and how she could “talk back” to that negative voice with the fact that her promotion validated all of her talent and hard work.
In another session with a couple, they were discussing an ongoing issue between them where one partner tended to use the silent treatment after an argument. I explored what an argument meant for each partner and encouraged them to speak directly to each other. The partner who often went quiet recounted stories from childhood of her parents yelling and fighting and that they eventually parted ways. She was able to express how any argument felt like a sign that she would lose her partner and she would withdraw out of such fear. Her partner gained understanding about her behaviors in that session, and from there, the three of us began to collaborate on ways for them to have a healthy argument and assure each other they weren’t going anywhere.
Are there any philosophies or values that inform your work that I should know about?
My work is primarily guided by a relational-cultural approach, which means that I focus on establishing an authentic, accepting, and collaborative relationship with you. I invite open communication and feedback to fit your needs and goals as yousee them. The cultural piece accounts for the various identities you bring into the room, and how your lived experience is shaped by a larger cultural context. My practice is inclusive and welcoming to all genders, races, countries of origin, sexual orientations, religions, abilities and body sizes.
How much do you share about yourself during our time together and why?
I may share about myself throughout our time together when I believe it is in your best interest that I do so.
How participatory are you during sessions?
I am fairly active during sessions, as I am focused on fostering an empathetic therapeutic relationship. Sessions tend to feel conversational and interactive. I will ask questions to clarify, explore deeper, offer reflections and feedback, as well as allow for quietness when you need it.
Do you assign homework, activities, or readings for me to do between sessions? Why or why not?
I tend not to assign homework, but I may suggest an activity or prompt you to be mindful of a relevant topic between sessions in order to help you integrate our work into your everyday life.
How will our relationship be different than relationships I have with friends/loved ones?
The benefit of the therapeutic relationship is that it provides an accepting, compassionate space for you and your own personal work. Your needs are central to the relationship, whereas the relationships with your loved ones are likely to be more mutual and subjective. Our relationship will also operate with a different set of boundaries compared to your relationships with friends.
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?
Therapy is not meant to last forever. Ideally, our work will foster your personal growth and equip you with insight and skills to take into your own life, to the point that you may not need therapy anymore. Over the course of our work together, I may bring up the idea of “graduating” from therapy for us to discuss together.
Where did you work before going into private practice?
Prior to private practice, I provided in-home child-parent psychotherapy for families involved in the child welfare system, as well as couples, individual, and group therapy at The LGBT Center.
What led you to become a mental healthcare practitioner?
I was drawn to the practice of psychotherapy as a way of helping people feel seen and listened to, validated in their experiences, and supported in their challenges. Therapy allows for healing as well as opportunities to create a more satisfying and joyful life.
What is the best part of the work for you?
The best part of the work is building authentic connections with my clients in a way that fosters healing and acceptance. I believe in celebrating each and every step a client takes to live a more fulfilling life. In addition, I am particularly passionate about working with couples as they are often the foundation of the family unit and raise the next generation. It is incredibly rewarding to see how the strengthened relationship between two partners can have a positive impact on the wellbeing of their children and the greater community as well.
What is unique about the work you do, or how have you found your work to be different than your colleagues?
I am a collaborative and interactive therapist who focuses on building accepting, authentic relationships with my clients to foster their healing and growth. I strive to offer warmth, empathy, and equip you with the insight and skills to create the life you want.
How do you approach diversity in the room or working with clients who may come from a different background than you?
I love engaging with clients of all backgrounds. I believe that each aspect of a client’s identity is valuable and has shaped the experiences they bring into the room. As a woman of color practicing in NYC, I am very conscious of my own identities and how they may interact with those of my clients. My experiences working in a wide range of settings throughout the city have cultivated my multicultural competency and ability to engage with clients of all backgrounds.
How can you tell if I am benefiting from working with you?
You may be able to see benefits from our work together if you are gaining insight, developing new ways of thinking, and cultivating coping skills. Therapy is difficult work and it may not always feel “good,” but that is a normal part of the process toward real growth. Often, the times when you feel most reluctant to come to sessions are when you need it most.
How can you tell if I am feeling stuck, unseen, or unheard?
I strive to be attuned to my clients, and often distance, withdrawal, or frustration signifies that you’re feeling stuck, unseen, or unheard. In these moments I will try to explore what you’re experiencing and adjust my approach as needed. This is a relationship, so I encourage and welcome my clients to communicate their needs and feedback. If something isn’t working for you, please let me know so we can discuss how to make it better!
How long should I commit to being in therapy, at least in the beginning?
You should plan to commit to weekly therapy for at least a few months at the beginning of our work together. This is to build a trusting, authentic relationship between client and therapist, which I believe is the foundation for all progress in therapy.
How should I prepare for my first session with you?
Nerves are normal! Remember I’ll be there with you. Our first session will allow us both a chance to get to know each other and see if we’re a good fit.
Do I need to bring anything with me?
Nope, just be open to the process.