Therapy with Pam
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 recently had a client come into a session reporting that an event had reminded her of a past trauma and triggered an emotional response. She was feeling anxious and discussed having an out of body experience. As a way to calm the anxiety, we practiced a mindfulness technique of grounding (allowing yourself to connect to where your body touches other objects and the ground) so she could start to come back into her body. I guided her through the technique and afterwards she was able to discuss more in depth what had happened to her without the anxiety feeling too overwhelming.
-A client I have been working with for many months has always expressed issues surrounding his self-esteem. We explored where this was coming from, particularly what thoughts go through his mind in relation to himself. Once we were able to identify those thoughts we started to find ways to challenge them. By the end of the session instead of thinking “I’m stupid,” he was able to challenge the thought by saying, “I’m an expert in technology.” Over time, reminding himself of what he was good at greatly improved his self-esteem.
-A client came into a session discussing unsatisfying patterns in regards to dating. We looked at what these patterns were and discussed why they had started to develop. As we explored deeper, we were able to identify unsatisfying relationships going back to childhood and a fear of opening up emotionally due to disappointment surrounding those childhood relationships. The client was then able to recognize the patterns when they came up and started to implement changes from her awareness.
Are there any philosophies or values that inform your work that I should know about?
Besides my work as a therapist I am also a yoga teacher. I incorporate my training as a yoga teacher into my therapy sessions because it is my belief that we cannot address what is going on in the mind without addressing the body. In session this will show up by utilizing mindfulness techniques as well as discussing what is happening in the body in relation to certain emotions.
How much do you share about yourself during our time together and why?
In our session, I may share pieces of my life as it relates to something you may be struggling with. I share these things as a way to connect with you and let you know I can relate to what you are discussing. I only share on a very individual basis, small things, because the session is about you and your needs. If I feel my experience can be beneficial to you, then I may share my experience.
How participatory are you during sessions?
My participation in sessions varies with my clients’ needs. With some clients that I’ve worked with, I am very participatory and have guided them to discuss challenges they are facing. I have had other clients who benefit from less participation and more space to express themselves. I generally participate in some way in every session, but that will be based on your needs and how I can best support you.
Do you assign homework, activities, or readings for me to do between sessions? Why or why not?
I will at times assign what I like to call “projects” in between sessions. The reason that I do this is that the real work happens outside of therapy. I generally meet with clients once a week for 45 minutes and a lot can be discussed at that time, but it is what they do with that once they leave my office that leads to lasting changes. We will discuss the “project” at the next session and use it as a learning tool to move forward.
How will our relationship be different than relationships I have with friends/loved ones?
The therapeutic relationship is different than the one that you have with friends and loved ones because, as a therapist, I am unbiased. There is a ‘no judgement zone’ in our sessions, and I am not there to give advice. We share an open space where reflection can happen and in which you feel empowered to make your own decisions.
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?
The decision to graduate a client or encourage them to leave therapy is not a simple one and is made on an as needed basis. Overall, unless the therapeutic relationship is not helpful to you and I feel you would be better served by another clinician, I encourage you to make the decision regarding when our work together will end. I am always open to exploring this if you feel unsure about continuing or stuck in our work.
Where did you work before going into private practice?
Prior to going into private practice, I worked in a variety of different settings. During my training, I interned at the Mount Sinai Continuing Day Treatment and Partial Hospitalization Program. Following graduation, I worked in mental health housing. Since February of 2017, I have been working at an outpatient mental health clinic at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. These experiences have allowed me to work with a diverse group of clients, struggling with different issues, and helped to make me a well-rounded therapist.
Have you received any particular training beyond your post-Bachelor’s training?
I have continued my education by attending workshops and trainings in many modalities, including DBT, CBT, TF-CBT, Motivational interviewing, Recovery-oriented and Person-Centered trainings. I am currently training in postpartum mood disorders, as well as grief and loss through the Seleni Institute.
What led you to become a mental healthcare practitioner?
I have wanted to be a mental health care practitioner for as long as I can remember. As a child I faced many challenges, and I remember thinking that something was missing and things shouldn’t have to be so hard. My own struggles were the drive that led me to help others. The more I learned about psychology, the more interested I became in doing this work.
What is the best part of the work for you?
My clients are the best part of the work for me. I feel so blessed to have worked with so many people who have opened up, trusted me, and allowed me to be a part of their journey. It is always exciting when a client comes into a session and shares an accomplishment, whether it be tangible or not.
What is unique about the work you do, or how have you found your work to be different than your colleagues’?
My focus on the mind-body connection is something that has been unique in the work that I do. By integrating yogic principles and allowing our bodies into sessions, it opens up the opportunity to work in a different way and dive into things we may not be able to access through talk alone.
How do you approach diversity in the room or working with clients who may come from a different background than you?
Diversity has been an important part of my work as a therapist. Each of my clients are so diverse and I utilize the time to learn from them. I am not the expert on your life experience, only you are. I hope to learn from you and explore together how cultural expectations and values have impacted you.
How can you tell if I am benefiting from working with you?
I can tell if you’re benefiting from working with me by what you bring to our sessions. If you tell me about an experience you had in which you were able to utilize something that we spoke about, I know that our work is having a positive impact. The level of comfort also speaks to the benefits in the work. The therapeutic relationship is central to the process of therapy and as that evolves you may feel more open about what you share, which will have a positive impact.
How can you tell if I am feeling stuck, unseen, or unheard?
I can tell if my clients are feeling stuck, unseen, or unheard by two things: their words and their body language. It is my goal as a therapist to create a space where my clients feel comfortable discussing what is not working for them. My hope would be to discuss this together and come up with a solution that works for you. Your time in therapy is YOUR time, and you should never feel uncomfortable expressing negative feelings.
How long should I commit to being in therapy, at least in the beginning?
That is a very personal choice. I believe that immense benefits can happen in therapy over the longer term, but some people find that committing to a few months is very helpful for making changes in their lives.
How should I prepare for my first session with you?
I encourage you to think of why you are coming in and what you hope to get from the experience. Sessions are very informal and we will take it at your pace. Don’t overthink it or worry, there is no wrong way to do therapy.
Do I need to bring anything with me?
An open mind and heart. Also a credit card number for me to keep on file.
Do I need to be mindful of anything in particular while commuting to your office?
The office is easily accessible by the E and M trains at the 5th Ave, 53rd Street Station. You will show an email confirmation to security in the building and proceed to the 21st floor. Once you check in at a kiosk in the front, I will come out to meet you for our first session.
“Working with Pam, I have learned and grown tremendously as a person and a therapist. Pam’s kind and compassionate demeanor allow anyone she interacts with to feel heard and understood. As a therapist, Pam exhibits genuine interest and concern for each client. She is authentic, intuitive, and able to provide helpful and insightful feedback. During the time I have known Pam, she has distinguished herself as a talented therapist who is committed to her professional development and to having a positive impact on the lives of her clients.”