“It can be uncomfortable in the beginning of the therapeutic process to talk openly with a stranger about your life. But be proud of taking that first step. Be proud that you’re aware enough, courageous enough, and curious enough, to address your concerns, challenges, and aspirations head on and start the process of becoming your best self.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
The path to becoming a therapist began quite early on for me. My mother is a psychologist and received her training in Munich, Germany, where I am from originally. I grew up surrounded by the original, German-language texts of Freud and Jung lying all around my home and started reading them when I was probably around 13 years old — that is when my fascination with psychology and desire to understand the human mind took form. I went on to study psychology all throughout high school and at university in London, and after graduating, moved to New York where I earned my Master’s in both General Psychology and Mental Health Counseling. During those programs, I worked in on-campus counseling at the Jewish Theological Seminary at Columbia University as well as group practices in the city. This past year, I launched my own private practice.
What is your main clinical focus today?
I love working with highly-driven, young professionals. They really want to be in the room working with a therapist, and they’re actively seeking out therapy as a way of improving themselves and enhancing their lives. What excites and inspires me is their ambition and willingness to put in the time and energy. That’s where my approach, cognitive behavioral therapy, dovetails perfectly, because these clients embrace action-oriented and solution-focused techniques. Oftentimes, I’ll give them self-reflection assignments to complete outside of our sessions, and when they return the following week, we can look at the actual results and chart out what works and what doesn’t.
What is your approach to collaboration with other providers?
As long as confidentiality is kept sacred, collaboration with other providers can be highly impactful and beneficial. I always had supervisors at each of my group practices, but when I started my own private practice, I found myself feeling a bit isolated. As a result, I’ve sought out my own supervisor, who’s been a wonderful resource and sounding board. Even though I’ve been providing therapy for years, every patient and every case is different, so when I’m in mental territories that are unfamiliar to me, consulting with others is absolutely crucial. Whether that’s through peer supervision or working with more seasoned therapists, I’m always open for collaboration.
What would you say to someone thinking about beginning therapy?
A driving mission in my professional life is to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. I believe that therapy should be viewed as a form of self-care, as a practice to help overcome obstacles, as a means for building awareness of your desires. You should be proud of your decision to pursue therapy! Yes, it can hurt, and it can be uncomfortable in the beginning to talk openly with a stranger about your life. You may certainly be uncovering emotions that have been buried for a long time, and the process of bringing those thoughts and feelings to the surface can be painful. But be proud of taking that first step. Be proud that you’re aware enough, courageous enough, and curious enough, to address your concerns, challenges, and aspirations head on and start the process of becoming your best self. It’s as important as physically working out – that mental exercise is just the other side of the coin.
What does a first session with you look like?
I want to get to know you as my client as much as I can in that first hour we have together. I’ll then explain my style and approach as well as the methods I use in the work we’ll be doing. That said, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach for every person. Then we’ll have to feel out what may be the best path forward. Someone may want to dive deep and understand the source of pain while someone else might be coming in simply for mental maintenance and mental well-being, which is also beautiful, and what I want to encourage. Either way, we’ll see what is needed to provide you with the best possible care.
“I love working with highly-driven, young professionals. They really want to be in the room working with a therapist, and they’re actively seeking out mental health counseling as a way of improving themselves and enhancing their lives.”
Roberta practices at Alma