Working with Jessica
From your perspective, what is therapy and coaching?
Therapy should be a space where you feel open, safe and comfortable enough to share feelings and emotions that you are experiencing that may not be making you feel so great. Through processing these emotions you will be able to gain insights about where these feelings are coming from and how to reframe your thought process around them in a more productive and healthy way. This should be a space where you truly feel it is about you and your feelings, thoughts, and emotions, without any judgement or biases.
I believe coaching is a relationship between coach and client where the coach helps client gain helpful insights about what has been hindering goals. It is also a safe space to share concerns and work through obstacles with someone a client can trust with sensitive feelings and information and be confident they will work together to come to the best solution for next steps.
Are there any philosophies or values that inform your work that I should know about?
As a therapist in addition to being a coach, my coaching is informed by many psychological-based theories. I use Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) to help work through communication issues in both personal and professional areas of a person’s life. I am also trained in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive Behavioral (CBT) and Mindfulness Theories. This, in addition to coaching training, enables me to help give clients the tools to remain present and grounded in steps toward tangible goals.
3. How much do you share about yourself during our time together and why?
I share things about myself that may be useful to the client. For example, if I can relate to a situation and it is helpful for me to explain a related experience for understanding, I may share that. If my clients have questions about me, I usually answer. I believe it is important for my clients to a know a bit about me to better the relational aspect of our work together, but I do not allow these questions to take up a client’s session time for more than a brief minute or two.
4. How participatory are you during sessions?
I would say I am moderately to very participatory. I like to ask a lot of questions and dig a bit deeper to understand thought processes, behaviors and habits that may be hindering a client and getting in the way of what they want.
5. Do you assign homework, activities, or readings for me to do between sessions? Why or why not?
From time to time I will share an article when it may relate and would be helpful to what a client is experiencing. At times, I also provide visuals for understanding and set goals from week to week. I do not pressure completion, as I do not feel it is always helpful to assign additional tasks for a client’s week. I find that pressure can sometimes be overwhelming and cause resistance to the work.
6. If I have never done coaching before, what should I expect? How do I know if I should go, and how do I start?
Therapy with me is for someone who is experiencing things like racing thoughts, feeling anxious, overwhelmed, stuck, down or having issues in their relationships that they would like to understand better. In therapy, we process these and similar symptoms to better understand them and work on challenging and reframing them in our future experiences. Therapy is also for someone who feels like they would really like to share their thoughts and feelings with another person and feel safe and supported.
Coaching is for someone that feels a bit stuck in their progress and goals and may not know where to begin to start changing hindering habits, avoidance or resistance to achieve goals. It is also for someone who doesn’t necessarily know what they want and feels stuck in figuring this out.
Working with a coach can help a client identify even the smallest of insights that can start to build a direction toward progress and goal setting. It is a process where as you build a relationship with the coach and they ask questions to get to know you, you actually start to know yourself better and recognize areas for change. You should expect your coach to focus on you, be curious about you and your needs, and feel a connection where you feel comfortable opening up and that your coach is authentic and intuitive.
7. How will our relationship be different than relationships I have with friends/loved ones?
The relationship with me as your therapist or coach may feel a bit safer as it is a confidential space to share anything you want, free from judgement and anyone in your life finding out. I act as an unbiased person who truly seeks to understand your perspective and how it affects you in your surrounding world. Friends and family are great to share with when they are someone who reciprocates listening and caring. A coach is different because the only agenda is the client’s needs.
8. 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?
Graduation is a gratifying and sometimes sad place for the client and therapist/coach to get to as the client has met their goals, which is amazing, but also sad for the relationship to end. With that being said, I do encourage graduation if the client has met their goals and feels that there isn’t much more to work toward. I may encourage deeper work if there are re-occuring emotional aspects that are coming up that hinder future goal setting such as, anxiety, avoidance, fear, resistance.
9. Where did you work before going into private practice?
I worked in finance for 8 years in a broad range of infrastructure and client facing roles before going back to school to be a psychotherapist and a coach. I worked at a non profit that helps underserved woman and at a hospital in the psychiatric unit during my field study before joining the private practice I work for and starting my own coaching business.
10. Have you received any particular training beyond your post-Bachelor’s training?
I have a Master of Social Work from NYU and a Certificate in Professional and Executive Coaching from the World Coach Institute. I am trained in ACT, CBT, Mindfulness, Psychodynamic work, EFT and have attended a number of Couples Therapy trainings.
11. Do you have experience (5-10 years+) working with any types of obstacles or people in particular?
I work with individuals and couples that struggle with anxiety, depression, perfectionism, work stress, interpersonal communication issues (professional, personal and romantic), career change, trauma, and family issues.
12. What led you to become a mental healthcare practitioner?
I majored in psychology in undergrad and it was always a dream to become a therapist and coach. I was side-tracked when I graduated college and gained employment in the corporate world. I had a successful career, but was continuously more focused on the people and the interpersonal dynamics at work. This eventually lead me to following my dream once again and switching career focus. As a Professional and Executive Coach as well as a Therapist, I hope to bring the two together and work with corporations on corporate wellness initiatives in the workplace in addition to my work with individuals.
13. What is the best part of the work for you?
Knowing that I can provide a safe place for my clients to share their feelings weekly and that it makes a difference in their wellbeing to collaborate on deeper understanding and solutions.
14. What is unique about the work you do, or how have you found your work to be different than your colleagues’?
I believe that my relational, engaged and directive approach helps provide a place where clients feel deeply comfortable and truly supported, making my work a bit different. I believe my clients feel that I care and am truly invested in helping them achieve their personal and professional goals, whether those be more tangible or just feeling better and more confident in their thoughts and selves. I also sensitively incorporate humor when appropriate to make a hard experience sometimes feel lighter as we normalize feelings. Humor, at times, can make the work together more fun.
15. How do you approach diversity in the room or working with clients who may come from a different background than you?
I make sure I ask as many questions as I can to gain a better understanding of one’s culture. The client teaches me in this regard and they are the expert.
16. How can you tell if I am benefiting from working with you?
If you feel you are stepping outside of your comfort zone, feel more confident, and are “choosing you” more times than you typically would have before our work together, you are benefitting from the work.
17. How long should I commit to coaching, at least in the beginning?
I would suggest starting with a six month commitment on a weekly basis and being flexible with it so that there is no pressure or expectation of yourself to make unrealistic progress.
18. How should I prepare for my first session with you?
Prepare to be open and to let someone new get to know you.
19. Do I need to be mindful of anything in particular while commuting to your office?
Although my address is 535 5th Avenue, the actual entrance to the building is on 44th street between 5th and Madison on the north side of the street.
“...I cannot say enough wonderful things about [Jessica]. I have tried therapy in the past, but the approach is unique. She listens to what I am saying, and truly helps me understand the underlying causes behind a specific behavior or thought process from a logic-based perspective. That has truly helped me to start seeing things from a less emotional perspective. She is an amazing listener, but is not afraid to challenge me when I need a push to either step out of my comfort zone, or to see things from a different perspective.”
“Working with Jessica has been a complete pleasure. Her thoughtfulness has always made our sessions a safe space to explore a range of topics. Through these, I have been able to identify and create awareness around my emotional, mental, and physical responses to stressors. This has been immensely helpful within both my professional and personal life - allowing me to set clearer boundaries, get to the root of what I'm looking for, and prioritize my needs.”
“My manager and I began working with Jessica to support us during a major planning and growth period for our business. Our goal was to have her help us stay on track with plans and priorities, but also to help enhance the communication flow and synergy between us during a time of pressure and stress. We have grown closer as a leadership team and have utilized her tools and techniques to produce better outcomes, including creating a short-term strategy for our organization and creating processes to keep our work flow on track. Jessica is an excellent listener and pragmatic coach with valuable insights!”