Therapy with Elizabeth
From your perspective, what is therapy?
Therapy is a safe and supportive space in which the client can develop self-awareness and skills for coping with life’s challenges. Through the therapist/client relationship, we will collaborate to help you form new ways of thinking and behaving that better serve your goals and foster self-growth.
Please share 2-3 anonymized examples of how the work can play out and/or look in the room
A client was experiencing panic attacks on the subway due to a traumatic incident. We began by developing some mindfulness techniques she could use when she began to feel panic-y. We then created a mood journal where she could write and collage about her feelings, memories of the traumatic incident, and anything else that was coming up for her, so she had an outlet between sessions. Utilizing the coping skills and mood journal, she’s been experiencing less panic and has more space in her life to unpack the source of these symptoms. Through our relationship, we explore her past trauma, and practice new ways of relating to others and developing relationships that are healthier for her.
A client recently began seeing me because she was considering leaving her job, but was feeling unclear about what she would do after leaving. In the long term, she wanted to explore personal/career goals and make steps towards these goals. In the short term, she wanted to address the significant anxiety she was experiencing on a daily basis at her current job. We began by giving her tools she could utilize to minimize stress and anxiety at work, developing a mindfulness (yoga, breathing, visualization and meditation) and self-care routine. In the long term, we began exploring her values and what fulfills her to help inform her career shift and other personal goals.
How much do you share about yourself during our time together and why?
I share personal information only when it serves the client, or if they express interest and I think it might be appropriate. For example, if someone is exploring career goals or family roles, I may share a similar experience if it is something that may help the client in their own journey.
How participatory are you during sessions?
I actively listen to the client and provide feedback and interventions when appropriate. However, this is your space, so I am there to direct our sessions towards your goals.
Do you assign homework, activities, or readings for me to do between sessions? Why or why not?
Only if the client feels it would be helpful. I may ask you to reflect on something we discussed in session. Sometimes clients find it helps to keep a mood journal between sessions so they can easily update me on their week.
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?
If you’re not feeling “yourself” and you’re having difficulty coping, therapy can be a place to go to unpack what’s going on and improve your wellbeing. You are in the driver’s seat the entire time, and I’m here to support you in your journey.
I typically start by speaking to someone who is interested in beginning therapy on the phone for a free 15 minute consultation to see if I would be a good fit for their needs. If so, I provide some basic paperwork to fill out so I can learn a little more about your medical and mental health background. Our first session together may be an hour so we can spend some time getting to know each other, going over that paperwork, and discussing your goals for therapy. From there, I typically see clients weekly (sometimes every other week) for 45 minute sessions.
How will our relationship be different than relationships I have with friends/loved ones?
Our relationship is very different than the ones you have with friends/loved ones! When we begin therapy, we will identify your goals for treatment. They may be long or short term, but we will be actively working towards those goals in our sessions. However, you are in control of how we get there and I will be supporting you through that. I am not there to give advice or my input, but rather help you explore your feelings and motivations around the choices you make.
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 doesn’t have to be forever! Again, when we begin treatment, we will define some goals you have for our time together. Throughout treatment, we will revisit those goals to see whether you feel you’ve achieved them, or whether they are on-going. If you feel you’ve achieved your goals, you may decide you don’t need therapy anymore and we can explore the option of leaving (or “graduating”). At times, as life presents new challenges or realizations, you may decide you have new goals and want to continue or revisit treatment.
Where did you work before going into private practice?
I continue to work as a Family Therapist at the Association to Benefit Children Fast Break Mental Health Clinic, as well as in private practice working with adults at Resilience Lab Psychotherapy, a group practice affiliated with My Wellbeing.
What led you to become a mental healthcare practitioner?
I worked in nonprofit and social service for seven years, focusing on program management and policy. I wanted to work more closely with the folks these policies and programs serve, which led me to graduate school at NYU Silver School of Social Work. During my time there, I chose to focus on “clinical” mental health work, becoming a psychotherapist working with children, families and adults.
What is the best part of the work for you?
Witnessing the tremendous resilience of human beings. Being able to support clients as they work through challenges in their lives, develop a more authentic sense of self and seeing the growth they experience as a result is extremely gratifying and a true honor.
How do you approach diversity in the room or working with clients who may come from a different background than you?
I often work with clients with different backgrounds/identities than my own, whether in regards to our gender, sexual orientation, race, or religion. I find it’s best to be open about these differences as they come up, acknowledging that our various identities may shape our life experiences in different ways. By acknowledging these differences, the client may feel more comfortable bringing issues related to sexual orientation, race, etc. into the room. While I may not have the same life experience, I can listen and support the client in understanding how their background may be shaping their behaviors, thoughts, feelings and motivations.
How can you tell if I am benefiting from working with you?
It can take some time, but you should begin to see change in some aspect of your life. You may feel more motivated or less “stuck,” more able to create change in your life, or develop insight about why you’ve felt a block against making that change. Often it may be something small at first, but you may see a shift in work/personal relationships or your level of anxiety/sadness on a daily basis. Eventually, there may be more significant progress towards your goals, for example a career shift, improvement in symptoms from a past trauma, or working through grief from a loss.
How can you tell if I am feeling stuck, unseen, or unheard?
You may feel resistant to attending session or feel that we are not making progress towards your goals. That may be something we explore together in session.
How long should I commit to being in therapy, at least in the beginning?
3-6 months, but sometimes as long as one year.
How should I prepare for my first session with you?
I will send you intake paperwork, which is similar to a medical history you might do in a doctor’s office.
I will also have you sign some consent/release forms.
You don’t need to plan “what to say” - we will explore that together!
Do I need to bring anything with me?
Completed intake paperwork, which we will discuss in our initial consultation call prior to beginning treatment.