Therapy with Madison

  1. 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. 

    -I worked with a client who decided to come into therapy for the first time because they were experiencing panic attacks. These panic attacks were often unpredictable and overwhelming. Through our work together, we identified that the primary source of the client’s stress was their living situation. Our work focused on equipping the client with the tools they needed to cope with panic attacks when they came up, as well as helping the client build up their assertiveness to confront their inconsiderate roommate and ultimately find a new (and much more supportive) living situation.

    -I worked with a couple that was experiencing a lot of stress in their relationship. Our work together focused on creating a space where each of them committed to listening to one another. As the therapist, I held each member of the couple accountable to this commitment, and reflected back what I was observing. Through this work, we learned that they each had different expectations for each other and the relationship that were not being communicated, which resulted in arguments when those expectations were not met. This process of listening and reflecting allowed the couple to learn new things about one another and clearly articulate their needs.

  2. Are there any philosophies or values that inform your work that I should know about?

    My work is collaborative and interpersonal. I believe that you are the expert in your own lived experience. I am committed to using an anti-oppressive framework that explores how environments, relationships, and circumstances shape your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

  3. How much do you share about yourself during our time together and why?

    The therapeutic relationship is a relationship that needs to be nurtured, and so I will occasionally share things about myself that I think will contribute to our work and to your feelings of comfort and safety. You are the focus of our work together, so I do limit what I share about myself in order to maintain clear focus and boundaries. 

  4. How participatory are you during sessions?

    While my level of participation in sessions varies from client to client, overall, I am participatory and active in the work.

  5. Do you assign homework, activities, or readings for me to do between sessions? Why or why not?

    I occasionally assign homework between sessions, depending on what your therapeutic goals are. For example, if one of your goals is to reduce stress in your life and generally slow things down, I may assign you a meditation or mindfulness exercise to try between sessions.

  6. How will our relationship be different than relationships I have with friends/loved ones?

    The therapeutic relationship is unique in that it is both professional and deeply personal. You may share things in therapy that you don’t feel comfortable sharing with friends and loved ones, and it is my duty to keep that information confidential. Therapy provides certain privileges and perspective that it can be hard to gain through relationships that are already woven into the fabric of your life. 

  7. 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?

    I don’t find that it happens often, but there are times when clients come to therapy for a very discreet, specific reason, and graduation is the best way to acknowledge and celebrate the achievement of their goals.

  8. Where did you work before going into private practice?

    I have worked as a therapist in both nonprofit and community outpatient settings which has allowed me to see clients across a wide array of races, ethnicities, sexualities, and gender identities. I have also had the opportunity to lead multidisciplinary teams focused on making professional environments more inclusive and understanding of people’s lived experience.

  9. Have you received any particular training beyond your post-Bachelor’s training?

    I received my Master’s of Science in Social Work from Columbia University in 2014. I am currently an LGBTQ Clinical Certificate Candidate in the Psychotherapy Center for Gender and Sexuality (PCGS) at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy (ICP).

  10. What led you to become a mental healthcare practitioner?

    I come from a family of helping professionals where the values of empathy and celebrating difference were instilled in me from a young age. Once in my social work graduate program, my perspective broadened more than I could have imagined as I gained a more nuanced understanding of injustice and started to recognize more of my own privilege. I wanted to be a therapist, and I started thinking more about where and how I could make the most impact. Working with marginalized communities strengthened my commitment to listening, guiding, and offering support, and I have carried all of these values into my private practice.

  11. What is the best part of the work for you?

    The best part of the work for me is being able to celebrate a client’s success. If the success is related to something we have been working on in therapy, I enjoy the opportunity to reflect back on the hard work the client has put into putting our conversations into action. If the success is unrelated to therapy, I enjoy being able to create a space where the client can fully express joy, as my clients do not always have a safe space for that kind of expression elsewhere in their lives.

  12. What is unique about the work you do, or how have you found your work to be different than your colleagues’?

    The work I do is unique in that it is deeply collaborative. Rather than see myself as an expert, I see us as partners working together to get you to where you want to be. I aim to create an environment where shame, fear, and isolation are replaced with celebration, exploration, and community.

  13. How do you approach diversity in the room or working with clients who may come from a different background than you?

    I owe it to my clients to stay aware of how different aspects of my identity might be shaping our work or their comfort. I find that by naming different aspects of my identity in the early stages of therapy, it allows clients to more easily call upon it when they feel that it might be impacting our work. 

    When it comes to discussing aspects of a client’s identity that I am unfamiliar with or that differ significantly from my own, I take responsibility for what I do not know, ask questions where appropriate, and do additional research if I need to become more informed.

  14. How can you tell if I am benefiting from working with you?

    I believe that you are the expert in your own lived experience, so the best way for me to tell if you are benefitting from the work is by asking. I will periodically check in with you to get a sense of how you feel you’re progressing in therapy and to make any necessary adjustments.

  15. How can you tell if I am feeling stuck, unseen, or unheard?

    Some indicators that you might be feeling stuck, unseen, or unheard can be found in engagement, body language, attendance, and lateness. If you start to disengage from therapy, you’re increasingly closed off, or you’re consistently late or absent, these could all be signs that you’re feeling disconnected from the work. If I did notice these things happening, I would reflect on the behavior and invite you to talk more about what might be informing the behavior.

  16. How long should I commit to being in therapy, at least in the beginning?

    The length of time a client is in therapy varies based on their goals. Progress in therapy can take time, so planning to commit to at least three months to start would give you the space to reflect on whether therapy is working for you.

  17. How should I prepare for my first session with you?

    Our first session will focus on me getting to know you, and better understanding what brought you to therapy. There is no need to prepare, but feel free to bring any questions you have about the process, and any specific thoughts you have about your goals for our work together.

  18. Do I need to bring anything with me?

    Just yourself!

  19. Do I need to be mindful of anything in particular while commuting to your office?

    Closest subways are the 1 / F / M at 23rd St.

Colleague Reference:

“Madison is a tremendous clinician. She is intuitive, theoretically well versed, clinically skilled, and open hearted.”


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