Therapy with Samantha
From your perspective, what is therapy?
Therapy, at its core, is a safe, accepting, and collaborative space for you to share and explore you own unique, lived experience, and generate insight and growth. I believe that you are the expert on your life and my role as therapist is to facilitate progress towards your goals as you define them.
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 is struggling with intense feelings of anxiety related to stress and dissatisfaction at her job. The client says, “I feel like I’m spiraling and I can’t pull myself out of the feelings of anxiety when they come.” I would go on to work with this client to help identify what triggers her anxiety and how to identify how it is impacting her. We could then collaborate on developing coping skills and self-soothing techniques through mindfulness-based interventions.
-A client is having difficulty letting go of his relationship with his ex-partner and states that he feels certain that he will “never be able to move on.” I would respond, “losing a partner is an extremely significant loss and it can be difficult to imagine our lives without that person, especially if we didn’t get closure or feel things have been left unsaid. If you had a chance to speak to your ex-partner one last time what would you say?”
Are there any philosophies or values that inform your work that I should know about?
My therapy style is informed by humanism and egalitarianism. I aim to approach my work with my clients with compassion, empathy, and authenticity. I also identify as a feminist and multicultural therapist and incorporate all parts of your identity and how it has shaped you into the work.
How much do you share about yourself during our time together and why?
I think it is natural for clients to want input from and be curious about the therapist, so I am open to sharing about myself when I believe my reactions or past experiences are relevant to our work together.
How participatory are you during sessions?
Although it may vary based on the session, I consider myself an active therapist and participate and engage with the client throughout the session.
Do you assign homework, activities, or readings for me to do between sessions? Why or why not?
I typically ask clients to think about certain themes or patterns between sessions more often than assigning structured activities or worksheets. I also often encourage clients to read certain books or articles that I feel are relevant to the work that we are doing.
How will our relationship be different than relationships I have with friends/loved ones?
One of the main benefits of seeing a therapist is getting the chance to discuss difficult situations with an objective outside party, as friends and loved ones may be impacted by their own role in the conflict. By collaborating with a therapist you will hopefully gain new perspective, skills, and tools to approach problems you encounter.
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 believe that one of the main goals of therapy is to teach people to become their own therapist. While some participate in ongoing therapy as a form of self-care, others begin therapy with specific goals in mind. If you are at a place where the goals you have set for yourself have been met, I would encourage you to keep growing and applying what you’ve learned from our work together on your own, outside of therapy.
Where did you work before going into private practice?
I previously worked at the Addiction Institute at Mount Sinai, St. Luke’s as part of their externship program and as a Functional Family Therapist at a community based clinic in Brooklyn.
What led you to become a mental healthcare practitioner?
Early on in my academic career I participated in a research project and was able to see the positive impact that mental health services had on vulnerable populations. Hearing about the ways in which these people were transformed by therapy sparked my interest in the mental health field.
What is the best part of the work for you?
The best part of the work is being able to create a space where people feel seen, heard, and accepted for their authentic selves.
What is unique about the work you do, or how have you found your work to be different than your colleagues’?
I believe that a large portion of therapeutic work is based on building trust and connection with clients. I work to approach all of my clients with authenticity, transparency, and empathy. Instead of taking an “expert” approach with clients, I look at therapy as a journey we are taking together to facilitate growth and insight.
How do you approach diversity in the room or working with clients who may come from a different background than you?
I identify as a feminist and multicultural therapist and work to incorporate various parts of your identity, including gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, and religion, into the work by investigating how these identities have shaped or impacted you. I approach diversity in the room by discussing these identities in conjunction with my own and looking at how they may shape or impact the therapeutic process.
How can you tell if I am benefiting from working with you?
You can tell you’re benefiting from working with me in many different ways— it could be by experiencing emotions you’ve previously felt detached from, leaving session feeling less overwhelmed or anxious, feeling more accepting of your authentic self, or being able to pick up on patterns of behavior on your own outside of session.
How can you tell if I am benefiting from working with you?
I can tell when a client may be feeling stuck, unseen, or unheard by looking at their progress outside of session and assessing if we are feeling disconnected during the session. I tackle this by initiating a discussion with the client about feeling stuck, and collaborate to see if we need to shift the direction of the work.
How long should I commit to being in therapy, at least in the beginning?
The length of therapy really depends on each individual person and what they’re hoping to work on. Typically I would say that you should come to therapy ready to commit to a session once a week for at least six months.
How should I prepare for my first session with you?
No need to prepare anything— just bring yourself and try to come in with an open mind and an open heart