Therapy with Francesca
From your perspective, what is therapy?
Therapy is a unique experience for each client! At the core of the work there are several components: support, insight and change. We will assess the areas of your life that could benefit from these components, and work each week to reduce the emotional distress around the areas of your life that are not what you would like them to be. Therapy is a place to be heard, to feel safe and supported, and to explore ways to improve your circumstances.
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.
-A client comes in with anxiety related to their job (very common!). We can assess the thoughts and behaviors that are contributing to that anxiety, and discuss coping strategies to reduce and manage that anxiety. We can examine the root causes that could be contributing to that anxiety. We will assess and start to work toward long term professional goals. We will move you out of feeling stuck in an unsustainable professional situation, and increase your confidence to make decisions from a place of self worth and self knowledge.
-A client comes in with depression or frustration related to their personal life. They are looking for a long term relationship, but nothing seems to work out. We can explore the meaning they have ascribed to being close to someone else. How does their experience with their family of origin contribute to their perception of having a relationship and how they relate to others? How do dating apps contribute to the confusion around meeting a significant other? We can explore and articulate the client’s value system with the aim of locating someone who shares these values.
How much do you share about yourself during our time together and why?
I generally do not self disclose in therapy.
How participatory are you during sessions?
I am very participatory and my sessions are very conversational. Of course I also know when listening is called for!
Do you assign homework, activities, or readings for me to do between sessions? Why or why not?
I do assign homework between sessions. It is usually practicing a certain thought or behavior during times of increased anxiety or depression (coping skills). Managing stress and improving emotional wellbeing is a daily practice, and one that can become ingrained with some structure and encouragement by a therapist.
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 would encourage anyone new to therapy to seek out a therapist they have a natural rapport and are comfortable with. This is the core of a successful experience in therapy.
Expect to go once a week and to really feel like your therapist is listening to you and is offering helpful feedback. You may feel some relief after sessions and you may also experience some intense negative emotion. Ambivalence when starting therapy is very normal.
Therapy will benefit you if there are areas of your life (currently or past experiences) that are causing you distress, or if there are things you would like to change about yourself or your life but are not sure how to begin.
How will our relationship be different than relationships I have with friends/loved ones?
Our sessions will be devoted to you and only you.
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?
Yes! My goal is for you to feel like you don’t need me anymore! If you feel like you have met the goal you have set for yourself and there is nothing else you feel compelled to work on, it is time to move on. If you are managing your anxiety outside of our sessions with various techniques you’ve learned in therapy, it is time to move on. You will know it when you are ready.
Where did you work before going into private practice?
I worked at a group practice seeing individuals and couples for therapy, and before that at an outpatient mental health clinic seeing individuals and groups for therapy.
Have you received any particular training beyond your post-Bachelor’s training?
Yes, I have training in Gottman Couples Therapy, CBT and DBT.
What led you to become a mental healthcare practitioner?
When I was in graduate school I did my internship at the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health, an outpatient mental health clinic serving individuals with mental health and substance use disorders. I quickly realized that working in mental health was my calling. The work is constantly evolving and challenging due to the complexity and uniqueness of each client. To do this work, I believe you have to combine compassion, creativity and knowledge of theory. I get to stretch the muscles in my heart and my brain in every session. I feel very fortunate to do this work.
What is the best part of the work for you?
The best part of the work is bearing witness to a client making improvements in their life week after week, evolving, gaining insight, improving the areas of their life they are dissatisfied with.
I feel truly grateful when I have gotten to know a client over the course of several sessions, and I am able to communicate that I really hear them, that their thoughts and actions are important, and encourage their innate talents.
People are so interesting and unique, and often view themselves through a negative lense. I love to hold the mirror up to the positive and encourage those parts of the client. Supporting another human being in this manner is uniquely gratifying. Knowing that you have supported another person through a low-point in their life is a privilege.
What is unique about the work you do, or how have you found your work to be different than your colleagues’?
Every relationship between therapist and client is unique and confidential, so it is difficult to answer! I am more interactive and conversational than colleagues who have different training.
How do you approach diversity in the room or working with clients who may come from a different background than you?
I acknowledge the difference and communicate that they are the authority on their experience. Hopefully they will feel comfortable and respected enough to open up about that.
How can you tell if I am feeling stuck, unseen, or unheard?
If a client is sending direct or indirect communication that they are feeling stuck, unseen or unheard I would initiate a discussion about those feelings and hopefully reverse course!
How long should I commit to being in therapy, at least in the beginning?
I would recommend three months, and then reassess if you would like to continue or if you have met your goals and are ready to terminate.
How should I prepare for my first session with you?
Just fill out the intake paperwork I email you before our first session and we are good to go.
Do I need to be mindful of anything in particular while commuting to your office?
I have office hours in the West Village and Park Slope. Both offices are easily accessible by many subway lines.