Therapy in New York for the 21st Century.

 

PSYCHOTHERAPY, COUPLES THERAPY, SEX THERAPY

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Therapy and life coaching offer guidance in your journey towards emotional freedom and happiness. Modern therapists want to teach you the tools to create your own psychological, emotional and philosophical way in the world- your life, for you, by you. There are individuals, groups, corporations- whole systems designed to try to make you feel anxious, addicted, inadequate and helpless. Whether you keep feeling miserable for another day is now up to you. 

Modern, effective counseling can help. You've taken the first step just by looking for a therapist. With online scheduling, we make finding a therapist even easier! Schedule Now. 

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How does therapy work and will it work for me?

An important question! You don't KNOW therapy will work, because no one can read the future! (You'll learn this in session, but this kind of statement might be "fortune telling", a kind of cognitive distortion.) To make sure we're making progress, my practice uses a scoring system that helps you measure how things are going in your life as well as how each session is going.  We have steadily been implementing this into our sessions over the last 8 years, and our experience backs up what the data already shows - the more immediate feedback and the more engagement a client has in sessions, the better the outcome.  (See a brief video here).  

By using this ratings system, we can monitor your progress, and how things are going in therapy, as well as how you are more able to cope with things between your therapy sessions.  This also allows us to make sure we are providing the best training and supervision to our staff. Regardless of whether you work with a graduate student, post-graduate, or licensed therapist, we want to make sure our approach is the right one for you, and that you're not just FEELING better, but making actual progress with some sort of end in sight! Quite a bit different than you might have experienced with therapists before. 

We're not here to give you advice or to hug you better or to pathologize you and keep you entrenched in a mental health system.  We are here to help you learn tangible skills to implement in your own life, and we want to use interventions and techniques that have shown time and time again to be effective.  

Forget online reviews and what you have seen about therapy on tv.  If you want a relatively brief, modern, effective approach to counseling, contact us to set up your intake today, or schedule therapy yourself online.

What kind of therapy do you do?

All of our therapists work with the original type of cognitive behavioral therapy designed by Albert Ellis called Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. We may use other interventions for couples (like Imago Therapy) or other special populations, but all of our work is filtered through the lens of REBT.  This is an active style of therapy, and coupled with the ratings scales we mentioned before, it's quite effective, down to earth and practical.  Our job is not to teach you a bunch of diagnoses and psychobabble jargon, but to translate psychological theory into real language you can use and implement in your lives.

That means - we talk like you do, and our sessions are quite a bit more animated than the silent, nodding therapist you might have seen on tv. Whether sex therapy, individual counseling or life coaching- we try to teach you as best we can how to implement these interventions into your daily life.

Finding a new therapist

Your last therapist definitely added to who you are now! Again, we think of this as learning a language - and though you may have had a great French 1 teacher who did things one way, we're hopefully moving you into French 2 where you will learn a whole expanded set of skills.

Therapy is about learning some tools to work through your own issues in life in a way that's informed by healthy emotions and behaviors. This is different than just presenting your therapist with every bad thing that has ever happened to you then asking "What should I do?!". No one knows what you "should" do, and in our style of therapy, we call that "shoulding all over yourself" (therapy is full of colorful language- get ready!).  We don't want to add more shoulds, musts and supposed-to's in your life.  We want you to come up with some more rational alternatives to shoulds - and those alternatives come from you, not from us.  

Coming with a previous diagnosis or a whole list of diagnoses? We'll definitely talk about those, but in REBT it's more about given these events in your life - what are you going to do about them from now going forward, not simply identifying as x or y diagnosis. 

Are you ready for insight and change?

 

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There are four types of mental health practitioner licenses in New York. They are mental health counselor, marriage and family therapist,

creative arts therapist and psychoanalyst. Keep these license areas in mind when looking for a qualified psychotherapist in New York.

MyTherapist offers training and supervision by licensed mental health counselors and licensed marriage and family therapists.

Credentials for Mental health counselors vs Social workers in New York

 

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THERAPY FOR INDIVIDUALS

Click above to see the father of modern psychotherapy explain some of the finer points 

Therapy for individuals, (also known as psychotherapy or counseling) focuses on working on the thinking that leads to unhealthy negative emotions (anger, anxiety, panic, depression, guilt, shame, etc) and the unhealthy, self-defeating behaviors that go with them. Using rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT), clients learn to identify what isn't working for them, and come up with a new set of directions to get where they want to be. Psychotherapy is not advice. Advice implies a right and wrong way to do things based on the therapist's own moral agenda or life experience.  Therapists are not advice columnists or friends. Therapists are not your moral guides, priests, gurus or rabbis. Therapists are trained to help identify how your thoughts and emotions might lead to behaviors that keep you feeling miserable. Therapy also doesn't mean you are sick, psycho, borderline, bipolar or crazy.  Therapy is for anyone.

THERAPY FOR COUPLES

If you're in a relationship, couples therapy (whether you call it pre-marital counseling,  marital therapy or relationship counseling) is probably appropriate. Couples counseling focuses on identifying what each of you want in your ideal relationship, and helping you communicate those desires in a compassionate and effective way. Using imago therapy with rational emotive behavioral therapy, the therapist will teach you how to communicate more effectively using validation and empathy, helping to change the pattern of fighting or poor communication.  Though the goal of couples therapy is to meet with each member of the relationship together, alternating between individual sessions and couples sessions for the first month or two of therapy is required to get a more complete picture of what's going on in your relationship.  Couples therapy involves examining various aspects of your relationship including career, finances, sex life, parenting, family of origin, and more. Think your issues are your own?  Maybe - but you are bringing those issues to your relationship. We want to work with you systemically, that means working through issues within the context of your larger relationships. For the sake of ease, we describe this in terms of 2 people in a couple, but we welcome and affirm whatever safe, sane and consensual relationship you have designed (open relationships, triads, poly, etc). All of our therapists are sex-positive, LGBTQ-affirming, kink aware and secular. Relationship therapy is not out to save your relationship at all costs. Couples therapists have no agenda about helping you save or end your relationship, but we are out to help you design a relationship that is ideal for the people involved. Sometimes the most successful couples therapy is when you decide this isn't the relationship for you. The world is your oyster!

THERAPY FOR GROUPS

Group therapy (also known as group counseling) focuses on multiple people working with the therapist on a similar issue.  Group therapy is often mistaken for a support group, which is facilitated by various members of the group.  In group therapy, the group is facilitated by a psychotherapist.  Group therapy is often more cost-effective than one-on-one therapy, and the benefit over a support group is that therapeutic interventions are employed by the therapists in addition to the supportive environment of the group. Group therapy has nothing to do with anything with the word "Anonymous" at the end, nor is it based on 12 Steps, etc.  Good group therapy, led by a therapist, can be a life-changing, empowering experience.

 

 

COUPLES Therapy, Counseling

RELATIONSHIP COACHING, MARRIAGE COUNSELING, Pre-Marital Counseling

We often get clients who tell us they haven't ever felt comfortable with other therapists talking about sexuality and other relationship issues. Therapists don't all have the training or the desire to deal with sexual issues. Who knew?! 

Our staff all have a particular interest working with sexuality issues, as well as the myriad other issues that come up in intimate relationships.   Our staff are lgbtq-affirming, often work with open relationships, poly relationships and families, relationships involving kink, and more. 

Couples therapy, (sometimes called relationship counseling or pre-marital or marital therapy, marriage counseling, etc) is a relatively short-term intervention to help you get the most satisfaction out of your intimate relationship(s).  In therapy, we want to create a safe space for you to create a common vision of your relationship, help you to communicate your needs and desires and to trust and accept your partner unconditionally (called unconditional other acceptance).  To do this, we alternate between seeing you as individuals one week, and together as a couple the following week, which encourages differentiation as well as relationship growth and evolution.  

Unfortunately, insurance does not cover couples therapy, relationship therapy or marriage therapy. Insurance requires the diagnosis of an illness, and a couple, while maybe dysfunctional, cannot be "ill", as it were. You might be able to get your individual sessions covered by insurance depending on your plan, but it just doesn't work for couples therapy.

Open relationship, poly Relationship Therapists and Coaching

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Open relationships, polyamory, swingers, monogamish, compersion - who knew there was a whole world  of language out there beyond monogamy (where the thought is one man is married to one woman (or more recently with marriage equality) and that's the optimal way of relating). While many people find themselves in a pair bond, many people realize that sexual fidelity and monogamy is not the default relationship style. Working with a therapist who does not hold monogamy up as an ideal, enlightened state of being is important when working through the issues that might come up in opening your relationship or designing a relationship that works for you.

When is it therapy and when is it coaching?

 

LIFE COACHING

Coaching, as we see it, is more about setting some goals, then working on meeting those goals by designing some behavioral change strategies together with the coach. For life coaching, there might be slight conflicts or imbalance that you want to work out, but the emotions you're dealing with aren't like the ones we deal with in psychotherapy (anxiety, anger, guilt, depression).  In a coaching situation, we aren't working in terms of mental health diagnoses. Life coaching can be appropriate for any number of issues, so long as the level of disturbance doesn't reach crisis level where therapy might be more appropriate.

CAREER COACHING

Career coaching, or executive coaching involves identifying the various areas of difficulty you are having with career development and establishing a plan to address these difficulties.  Career counseling often involves discussing areas outside of work that affect your work life and sense of career fulfillment. In career counseling, expect to work on concrete areas such as re-writing your resume and cover letter, exploring different personality types for different jobs, interviewing skills, and more.

THERAPY FOR FAMILIES

Family therapy (also known as family counseling) focuses on identifying the maladaptive patterns that develop in the course of parenting that can lead to family conflict.  Often, one or two members of the family are identified as the trouble-makers and are sent to the psychotherapist to be "fixed".  Though the therapist meets with various members of the family individually, the focus of family therapy is to work with the entire family unit (or system) to identify each family member's role in the conflict and to address this both individually and as a family. Family therapy is especially useful when parents of children have divorced and are sharing custody, as parents often have different parenting styles and agendas.

The Importance of Cultural Competency in therapy and the myth of being "politically correct"

You'd think everyone feels stress at one time or another-whether from work or financial responsibilities, credit scores or the like, right?  Well, it turns out, just being a member of a minority- whether that be cultural, racial, religious, ethnic or sexual minority- just existing has a whole extra level of angst- a concept known as minority stress.

In a nutshell, there's a whole extra layer of anxiety living in a society where you're not realistically portrayed on tv and in the media.  Black men portrayed as aggressive thugs.  Gay men portrayed as flamboyant interior designers.  Women portrayed as incapable sex objects, just asking to be raped.  Trans people barely portrayed at all.  Atheists dismissed as angry Satanists trying to take away your Christmas parties. There are countless other examples. 

May the odds be ever in your favor

Let's use "The Hunger Games" as an example. You know how people who live in the Capital views everyone in the outer districts as quaint little savages? And you know how everyone in the districts seem really broken and unhappy?  When something (a lifestyle, culture, ethnic group, religion) is presented as normal and decent and good, the people that find themselves matching up to that might not recognize how privileged a position they are in. Anyone who is outside of that normal, decent good paradigm is at risk of struggling with minority stress in addition to the other stressors that people have to deal with on the planet.

Remember in "The Hunger Games" how the privileged system makes sure it stays privileged? Fear. Celebrity. Police Violence.  More celebrity. Public floggings in the town square. And Effie just wants to have nice things. (I just want my bling, or my new iPhone, and it'll all be okay.)  And the people are pushed to their breaking points. Now go outside in any major city in the last few days. Look familiar? Only it's less appealing because there aren't pretty white, hetero actors to save the day. (Oh, and not seeing more diversity on screen? More minority stress.)

Asking for it

Have you heard the expression "You don't know what you don't know"? It's difficult to recognize that you are benefiting from being part of that default System branding of normal, decent and good. The result often manifests in the form of a microaggression. ("Aww, handsome fella like you, I bet all the ladies are after you! Why no ring on that finger?!" Uhh, I'm gay.) Micro-aggressions are like little slaps in the face all day reminding you that the System thinks heterosexual coupling and marriage are normal, decent, good and desirable, for instance. In some cases, the speaker has no concept that there could even be other options.  I was once interviewed for a job as a therapist and the interviewer, a social worker in rural Missouri said "You know, we're a family-friendly hunting and fishing community". Uhh - WTF?! So heterosexuality, guns and meat-eating for all- conform or you're not welcome.  This kind of talk is a subtle way of a member of the System exerting the will of the System.

"Oh, you don't LOOK Mexican"

So when people who aren't part of the default system try to stand up and make themselves heard, the response from the System is often something like "Here comes the thought police. Sorry, I'm not politically correct." Cognitive distortions, such as self-serving bias (why are you people so angry, *I* didn't do anything to you- jeeze, it's like reverse racism or something! The bullied are just big bullies - that's not fair!") or victim blaming ("Well, if those gays just didn't dress as women in a black neighborhood, they wouldn't have been shot by those mean black people.") are common. And these biases are just reinforced by versions of this narrative shown over and over until the next news cycle.  

Let's continue with this example. This is the System saying - homos are asking for it by acting like women. This is the System saying women are weak. This is the System saying white neighborhoods are safe and blacks are violent. This is "othering" in action.  Women might see this in the news and think  "Wait- WTF?!- what's wrong with dressing like a woman?! Women deserve to be shot?!"  A person of color might see this with a - WTF- ANOTHER news item selected to reinforce violent black stereotypes?! And if you're gay you see this  like- WTF - gay men don't deserve to be SHOT regardless of what type of clothes they are wearing- oh, and we don't act like women.  And if you're a trans woman you see this and are like- WTF?! - I'm not a gay man - and I can't even wear the clothes I feel most comfortable in because I might get SHOT?! Other groups who might not be related to the issue of the day see this as yet another example of the System working only for the System and not for anyone else- and it's like an extra bit of generalized anxiety added to the minority life until the next news cycle. Say anything, and you're painted as an angry activist, or playing some sort of victim card, or you're dismissed as playing "politically correct" though police/ social justice warrior role.

The People sometimes try to fight back by organizing Black Lives Matters protests or Gay Pride marches or celebrating the accomplishments of blacks or gays or women throughout history. And how are these counter-messages received?  "ALL" Lives Matter- you're being racist. Or worse "BLUE Lives Matter"- why do you hate cops?!) Every year someone tries to organize "Straight Pride" or "White History month". Whatever the System can do to stamp out dissent.

People of the System - if activists seem angry to you, then you don't know what you don't know. If you think "the pc thought police" are after you, taking away your freedom of expression, you don't know what you don't know. And what you don't know is that you're perfectly on brand according to the System, and you are part of the oppression of others. The blacks aren't here to hurt you, and they don't want to be addressed with language that came from slavers. The gays aren't here to ruin marriage or degrade "Family Values", and though we are reclaiming Queer as an inclusive identity, we don't want to be addressed as homosexuals and faggots. The feminists aren't here to ruin video games, and they don't want to be addressed as toots, sweetheart or the 'lil lady (or as a piece of ass, Mr. Drumpf and Mr. Stern). Native Americans aren't here to ruin football, and want to be addressed and acknowledged as the original Americans. And we aren't "uppity" (another common way to dismiss) - we're challenging whole lifetimes of exclusion or negative portrayals by the various machines you use to reinforce your brand and we're tired of being told to know our place. It's hateful to call us by words you've invented to demean and objectify us. We will decide how we want to be addressed, and we will decide again as language and issues evolve.

What do I do?

So what do you do if you find yourself struggling with the concepts of minority stress? Well, sometimes you protest, sometimes you riot.  In some cases you suppress the anxiety and rage by trying to pass as part of the System.  Sometimes you try to trust in change and put your faith in politicians or church leaders. In some cases you do your best to snatch up anything the System has to offer to better your life and those around you as best you can (while trying to keep a strong sense of self and establish a community of like-minded people to help manage it all).  And sometimes you move from one coping strategy to the other several times a day- and that, my friends,  is exhausting.  And when people feel exhausted and are already marginalized, they aren't always going to be able to take the high road- the road, incidentally, that completely avoids the System having to make meaningful, fundamental changes.

I wish I had easy answers. The best I can come up with is to all help share the load by sharing our experiences with whoever will listen until we begin to recognize the value, variety and dignity in everyone. Is that just pollyannaism? I don't think progress comes from isolating and shutting it all up inside- I'm a therapist after all- our whole m.o. is to talk about things to work through them. And we need to keep talking about things - not working out positive ways to deal with minority stress and existential crises just leads to things like PTSD- something else that has been shown again and again to affect all kinds of minorities.  

You wanna be "woke"? Turn off the tv

Reading magazines, shopping on Black Friday, watching celebrities give themselves awards, reality tv, local news, obsessing over Facebook or instagram likes- these are all distractions that might help you cope in the short term, but distractions that will ultimately keep you- keep US, from healing. Don't just submit, conform, consume and obey. (Watch the movie "The Live"!) Actively share your experience in any way you can - from debating people who disagree with you on Facebook to finding out more about out what you don't know, giving tv interviews about your experiences, therapy sessions, support groups, meeting with your elected leaders, writing op-ed pieces, blogs or creating music or other kinds of art- all of these are real ways to heal and foster change. These are all ways to be heard. Jennifer Lawrence is not Katniss Everdeen, and she isn't going to be the voice of any revolution. (Yay strong female lead, but boo white savior trope). No one is totally "woke" - it's an evolution- and we can all learn more about each other and how we can improve by seeing how our experiences compare and contrast.

 We're all in this together.

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