While living in the Five Towns, Nassau County or anywhere on Long Island comes with all the "new-yawk" stressors and struggles, there are some fun and beautiful aspects of living on the south shore. We have some of the nicest beaches, coffee houses and have more greenery than center of the city life.
But just because we have some perks, doesn't mean life always feels "chock-full-of-joys". When you find yourself suddenly hit with additional stressors and are seeking a therapist, I'd like to help you find the help you seek so you can get the support and guidance that will help you shift out of the tough spots you're working through.
Now to start, let me clarify the difference between a life coach, therapist or psychologist.
While all are professionals who offer services to those seeking support and guidance, there are some important differences to take note of.
Life coaches work with people to help them make changes in their lives. The schooling involved is often anywhere from a few months to a year, where the coach graduates with a certification in coaching. Coaches have been impactful in helping individuals achieve goals using specific strategies and skills. Coaches practice from a mindset that everyone has the answers within, but that they may require coaching to draw the answers out and make changes. Individuals may spend one session, a few sessions, a few months to a year on creating changes, working through challenges and achieving their goals with their coach.
A therapist is a term used to refer to a broad range of professionals. Compared to life coaches, therapists have more extensive training and are able to administer assessments, mental status reports and diagnose mental health conditions. Therapists are trained to look beneath the presenting issue and offer treatment to problems that are often not "fixable" by coaching alone. Therapy takes the deeper dive into healing when there are stuck points and blockages that you've been hitting for a while and want to work past. Trained therapists are also able to develop comprehensive treatment plans and use scientific based modalities to reduce symptoms of stress related disorders.
Under the term therapist you will find professionals trained to offer a range of treatments. This includes social workers (LMSW/LCSW), marriage counselors (LMFT), mental health counselors (LMHC), and medical doctors (M.D.) just to name a few . You may find that some practitioners take their focus and specialize in one area, and others may choose to treat a generalized population. Some specializations include substance abuse treatment, family counseling, trauma treatment, parenting, or spousal infidelity.
In order to provide specialized treatment, the professional will need to attend advanced training to acquire additional skills in that area.
For example a licensed clinical social worker may choose to attend a 4 year psychoanalytic program and acquire the title psychoanalyst, which is a focused, specialized form of psychotherapy. A medical doctor in the field of psychiatry may choose to pursue training in psychodynamic psychotherapy, which would enable him to offer medication management as well as therapy.
Some therapy professionals may choose to attend trainings trauma modalities, one specific one is EMDR Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, a tool to help resolve trauma memories. EMDR is used in conjunction with talk therapies to effectively reduces symptomatology of flashbacks and trauma memory. EMDR has also been proven to treat those who have chronic anxiety that just won't let up.
I am one of those therapists who has received advanced clinical training in treating trauma and complex post traumatic stress disorder.
My post graduate trainings at Hebrew University and the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy have given me a thorough understanding of the neurobiology of trauma, how to assess symptoms and provide best-practice treatment to those in my care. I have also received certifications in EMDR, and mind-body approaches including Somatic Intervention and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy. These trauma based methods have been proven to help those naughty symptoms clients want to shake (and they do!). If you have been to talk therapy and are looking for deeper, core-level healing, I encourage you to seek a practitioner with trainings in the modalities mentioned above.
Now, the other title of professionals are psychologists.
Psychologists can also provide therapy, just like the above mentioned professoinals. Psychologists graduate with their doctorate degree by either attending a PsyD or PHD programs; both require lengthier schooling than the equivalent masters program individuals attend to become therapists. Doctorate programs are often 3-5 years of study compared to master level training which is usually 2-3 years. However, in order for master level therapists to provide psychotherapy independently, they need to acquire 2-3000 clinical hours and 2-3 years of post graduate training work to receive an advanced licensure (example: LCSW). In this way, the years of practice are similar, yet the focus and training approach is different. One difference is that psychologists engage in extensive research in their training, and are later able to administer psychological testings for clients when needed.
When choosing a therapist, I encourage you to look at their education, their professional credentials and the licensing board (make sure they are practicing under ethics and laws of a professional board). These will help you make an informed decision in choosing someone who can help you solve the problems you are facing. As a trauma and anxiety therapist, I blend my clinical expertise with support and insight, providing heart-centered therapy to help clients achieve lasting change.
The first step to healing is picking up the phone and reaching out for help.
I hope this article has been helpful in providing information that will guide you to your next steps to getting the right services for you. If you are located in the Five Towns, or another town in Nassau County on Long Island (in New York), and are still feeling overwhelmed about choosing a therapist, I'd be happy to help you find the right person to support you.
Feel free to reach me at my Cedarhurst office number at 347-903-7835 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to getting you on the right track to a better life!