Fanny Pertnoy

Psychotherapy, LCSW
Fanny Pertnoy is a psychotherapist and psychoanalyst. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her masters from NYU. Fanny has also completed post-graduate training at the Institute of Contemporary Psychotherapy. She works with adults and couples.
Specialties: General Mental Health, Relationship Issues, Personal Growth
Finances: Accepts Out-of-Network, Sliding Scale
Provider
Profile
“I believe a strong client/therapist relationship has the power to serve as a unique vehicle for change.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist? What inspired you to choose this profession?
Beginning with a childhood love of literature, I have always been interested in the ways we seek to understand ourselves, and each other, in all our complexity. I first nurtured this interest through a career in film, as I believe that movies allow us to explore the human condition and complicated workings of the mind in so many entertaining ways. I ultimately decided, however, that I wanted to get closer to the individual stories that inspire the cinematic versions of the human drama. So I chose to go to graduate school for social work and then onto psychoanalytic training, and I am honored and humbled by all the ways in which I have been invited into the action of my client’s lives ever since.
What would you want someone to know about working with you?
My approach to treatment is intended to help you bridge the gap between how things are and how you want them to be. I believe a strong client/therapist relationship has the power to serve as a unique vehicle for change. In order to help foster such a partnership, my first priority is always to make sure you feel heard and understood. I offer a supportive, non-judgmental, confidential place where you can feel safe to collaborate and take risks. I work to elicit your innate curiosity, creativity, and playfulness. I try to help you trust your desire for growth and change. My aim is to help us both develop a deep understanding of what feels most urgent for you now, as well as what patterns from the past may be complicating your ability to live a full and satisfying life. With an increased capacity for self-reflection, you will feel you have more choice when it comes to dealing with obstacles and a greater ability to make the positive changes you desire.
What do you think is the biggest barrier today for people seeking care?
I think the biggest barrier today for people seeking care is what it has historically been: deciding to begin treatment and finding a therapist is a process complicated by stigma, shame and problems with affordability and accessibility. This simply should not be the case. People who decide to do something about their discomfort or dissatisfaction should be applauded. What we do when we stumble is what makes all the difference in our lives. We all know about the importance of exercise for our physical health. Working on our mental and emotional health is just as important.
If there was one thing you wish people knew about the therapy experience who might be hesitant try it, what would that be?
People often express concern that revisiting old wounds or upsetting moments will make things even worse. But there’s a reason those wounds still have the power to hurt. Confronting our pain makes it more bearable - the tendency to avoid dealing with our problems and our emotional suffering is arguably the basis for all our mental unwellness. A treatment that aims to help people process and to understand the past is really a treatment aimed at helping people to move forward, with a more expansive sense of self and with greater optionality for how and who to be.
If you could pick one or two books that influenced your approach to therapy what would they be and why?
As is the case with most practitioners, my approach to therapy has been greatly influenced by what helped me the most on my own journey. The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck is a beautiful book about the art of living. It emphasizes the importance of facing our pain and the freedom that often accompanies developing a deeper understanding of ourselves. The Drama of the Gifted Child by Alice Miller is a slim volume with a mighty message: sometimes we become so concerned with other people’s expectations that we ignore our own wants and needs. In becoming the “perfect someone” for someone else, we sacrifice what’s most precious, our own true self. The “gifted child” loses touch with their desires and dreams and as adults, they can feel empty and depressed. Through therapy, we can rediscover what was lost and grow to feel more alive and real.
“A treatment that aims to help people process and to understand the past is really a treatment aimed at helping people to move forward, with a more expansive sense of self and with greater optionality for how and who to be.”
Fanny practices at Alma
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