When I met Lindsey I immediately started sharing problems, feelings, anxieties I had with her. As she nodded her head encouragingly and asked the right questions I had to snap myself out of my trance and apologize for sharing such intimate stories with a new stranger. She kindly told me that it happens a lot! How could it not? Lindsey has this magical way about her that makes you want to solve all your problems together, plus she’s a cool 20-30 something that can relate! Learn more about the LMHC who totally gets it.
1. What attracted you to your role as a LMHC and can you tell us exactly what it means?
I have known for most of my life that I wanted to be a therapist, as strange as that may sound! I was always the girl at sleepovers who wanted to support anyone who wasn’t having fun, or was having trouble at home. I’ve always loved connecting with people on a deeper level, and I think as soon as I found out I could do it professionally, I was sold!
An LMHC is a “Licensed Mental Health Counselor,” which is one of the credentialing routes to become a psychotherapist in the state of New York. It follows a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology, as well as a board exam and 3,000 clinical hours post-grad. There are many careers that a person can pursue within the field of mental health as an LMHC, and I ended up in private practice, which is essentially run as a small business with a sole-proprietor.
2. As a 20 or 30 something in NYC what do you see as the biggest struggles facing women?
Specific to NYC, I see a lot of social isolation occurring in women in their 20’s. If they are a recent transplant, realize they no longer authentically connect to their college friends, or want to pursue deeper friendships, a common refrain seems to be how challenging it is to make friends in a city that rarely slows down enough to say “hello” back. For 30-somethings, there tends to be a reckoning of balancing career, partnership or friendships, and contemplation of whether NYC feels like a realistic lifelong pursuit.
Overall, most of the women I work with are striving to find balance here – pursuing success but preventing burnout, or trying to find a romantic partner without resenting the online dating experience. 20’s and 30’s are tough decades for women, and NYC definitely adds another layer to it!
3. Chronic stress is linked to the six leading cause of death, what tips do you have to tackle stress?
Finding relief from stress is often about finding quiet in the present moment. I work with clients on building trust in the idea that we are right where we need to be, even if that means sitting in our anxiety and just wading through it rather than trying to outrun it or get to somewhere “better.” It’s a balance between making space to honor emotions that are coming up, and working on minimizing runaway thoughts, mindreading of others, and the “future-tripping” that often contributes to stress!
Much of that balance comes from being mindfully aware of what’s happening: “I’m experiencing these thoughts, but they don’t define me,” as well as developing self-care that really allows us to slow down, make time to process, and just b-r-e-a-t-h-e.
4. At what point do you recommend someone sees a therapist or psychiatrist, can you tell us the difference?
I joke with my clients that every single person in this crazy city would benefit from working with a therapist, and I truly believe it! I see a therapist, and my therapist sees a therapist. It’s such an essential tool for understanding ourselves more deeply. This awareness allows us to see our own patterns, keep what’s working for us, and let go of the rest. A good therapist is simply a guide to help you see yourself more clearly, and help you find authenticity in areas of your life that might be a bit stuck. You don’t have to be “damaged” or in an extremely low place to seek therapy. It should be a tool, not a last resort!
A psychiatrist’s main scope of practice is to diagnose and prescribe medication. Medication for mental health purposes can be super effective, and I also always suggest that people try therapy in conjunction with meds, or in many cases, beforehand. A pill may absolutely alleviate symptoms, but it won’t necessarily help you understand causes or develop your own skills to cope.
5. Do you have an area of expertise? Also, what’s your favorite part of your job?
Many of my clients are in their 20’s in 30’s and are struggling with the aforementioned topics (relationships, balance, coping with anxiety, etc.). I am also trained in sexual trauma and love working with these clients, as well as those who are in recovery from an addiction or grew up in a home with addicted family members.
My favorite part of my job is the honor of witnessing the massive “lightbulb moments” – that moment we’re often working towards in therapy when a client has a breakthrough on better understanding themselves; whether it’s recognizing how their childhood shaped their present, realizing they want to start or end a relationship, or make a major life change. Therapy is deeply personal work, and it’s so rewarding and humbling to be along for so many journeys that are all happening simultaneously in this city. Gives me goosebumps!