lgbt therapy

Dispelling the Mysteries of Psychotherapy

As one of the premiere New York psychoanalytic therapy programs, we field a lot of questions from patients who want to understand how this sort of talk therapy compares to other techniques. The short answer is that we are principally concerned with causes, not symptoms: analytic therapy’s mission is to understand what lies behind the issues of depression, anxiety, doubt and other concerns. But there is perhaps an even simpler answer, published recently in this short column:

Psychotherapy works very simply – it enables you to see things about yourself or your life that you can't currently see and that is affecting how you feel, what you do, and what happens to you. Once you can see what has been making the things happen that have been happening, you can get your hands around it and do something to improve how you feel, what you do, or what happens to you.

The best reason to get into psychotherapy is relief: relief from pain, sadness, isolation, stress. Some of these elements originate in the world around us, but others originate from within, powered by many years of personal history. Talking through these personal stories is a way to steal their power, and to make sense of the choices we all make on a daily basis.

At PPSC, we specialize in low cost therapy, sliding scale therapy, and LGBT therapy throughout New York and the region. If you are looking for a specific area of expertise, don’t hesitate to find a therapist at PPSC today.

Understanding Sliding Scale Therapy

We field a number of questions about sliding scale therapy in New York, and about what patients can expect when they come looking for some financial relief. Although each therapist and each individual case is different, there are some basic definitions that may help you in your search for an affordable option. This site includes a simple overview of low cost therapy, and includes this helpful passage that prescribes Step One in your search:

The first place to check is with your current therapist. Many, but not all, therapists offer a fee service schedule for cash-only clients that may “slide” – that is, the fee goes down based upon your income. If you’re making a middle-class salary, the discount offered by such sliding scales may not be much. But if you’re in the lower socio-economic class, this discounted fee schedule can cut a regular therapist’s fee in half or more.

We take pride in our commitment to community mental health, and that means searching tirelessly for ways to serve more people of different incomes and backgrounds whenever possible. Our sliding scale therapy options include experts across a number of fields, including LGBT therapy, depression therapy and many more.

If you’d like to apply for a round of therapy that falls within your means, please don’t hesitate to reach out to PPSC with any questions.

Another Victory for LGBT Mental Health

In a milestone that has come to pass more than a few times now, Illinois recently voted to outlaw the dangerous and abusive practice known as gay conversion therapy. Advocates of LGBT rights and responsible mental healthcare are pleased to see this important watershed reach one of the most populous states in the nation:

Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Legal Director Sarah Warbelow said: “By passing this important legislation, Illinois lawmakers on both sides of the aisle stood up for equality and against a dangerous practice that uses fear and shame to tell young people the only way to find love or acceptance is to change the very nature of who they are. Psychological abuse has no place in therapy, no matter the intention. We urge Governor Rauner to sign this bipartisan legislation into law and protect the state’s youth from this harmful and discredited practice.”

What’s next for our culture’s understanding of LGBT psychology? How about gay-affirmative psychotherapy which understands LGBT patients on their own terms, and treats their issues with the same care and compassion as anyone else’s?

At PPSC, we have never pathologized the specific challenges and opportunities of LGBT life. Our gay-friendly therapists are among the most experienced in New York, and we are constantly looking for new ways to serve this broad community as effectively as we can.

To find an LGBT-friendly therapist today, please contact the psychoanalytic professionals of PPSC.

How to Stop Gay Conversion Therapy

A number of news outlets have recently picked up on a national movement to outlaw so-called gay conversion therapy, a (usually) religiously-oriented process in which people attempt to “reprogram” homosexual urges. The practice is as abusive as it is ineffectual, of course, but some fault lines have developed over the question of whether a legal ban is the best way to combat this practice. An interesting discussion arose in the New York Times following this editorial, the thrust of which centered around First Amendment rights and a possible workaround:

The bans tread on a volatile question: the degree to which the First Amendment protects speech uttered by professionals, like doctors and lawyers, in the course of their work. . . .

There is a more promising way to put pressure on, or even shut down, conversion programs: existing state laws that forbid businesses and professionals to engage in deceptive practices.

Yet one letter writer addressed the singular way that the full force of law could help guide discussions and stigmatize bigotry where other methods might fail:

While there may be other possible avenues to bar so-called “conversion therapy” from practice, passing a law casts a wide net across all corners of the state and sends a strong message to all that this damaging practice, widely discredited by reputable medical and mental health institutions, has no place in our state.

It is an interesting argument that touches on issues of law, morality and freedom. What is not controversial is that gay conversion therapy is a regressive and traumatic practice which deserves no quarter anywhere in professional circles.

Here at PPSC, we take pride in an approach to LGBT friendly therapy that incorporates and values gay identity while exploring the specific issues that may trouble patients. Do you want to find a gay-friendly therapist in NYC? Start here.

The New Challenges of LGBT Therapy

At PPSC, we’re proud of our reputation as one of the most progressive analytic communities in New York for gay-friendly therapy. With multiple analysts on staff who identify as LGBT and a robust curriculum addressed toward understanding the particular issues of the queer experience, we believe there’s always more to learn about how we can provide insightful and effective LGBT therapy. Which is why this recent article in the magazine of the American Psychological Association caught our eye. It talks about how the issues facing LGBT patients have shifted over time: Although discrimination and its echoes remain paramount, other questions have crept into the mix which require their own breed of psychotherapy:

At the same time, Haldeman says, psychologists are seeing "a whole host of other issues related to the creation of LGBT families, LGBT people in the workplace, generational differences and the reality of multiple-minority identities--issues that demand our best research and clinical skills."

The whole article is worth a read. Generational questions, identity questions and a rising tide of body image issues are all giving gay-friendly therapists new topics to engage. If you are struggling with these or other issues as an LGBT person, we can help you find a therapist who will meet you halfway and help unpack what may be behind the difficulties you face.

A Hunger for Analytic Therapy in More Places

The benefits of talk therapy have long been known, but innovation continues to touch the world of psychotherapy. Concepts such as mindfulness and specialties such as LGBT therapy are constantly adding ferment to the field, for instance, and the advent of the Internet has added many new topics worthy of study. Recently much of the “talk” in therapeutic innovation has centered around the possibility of Web-based psychotherapy. The idea involves a version of Skype, where patient and therapist meet somewhere in cyberspace and conduct a conversation over an encrypted video connection. As a recent article in Wired described one website peddling such technology, “Patient and practitioner connect via TalkSession’s video platform—no couch required.”

Is Teletherapy Real?

There are some inherent advantages to this approach, including improved accessibility for remote patients, enhanced convenience for both patients and therapists, and freedom from the sigma of mental health appointments in communities where such prejudices remain.

Yet sites such as TalkSession cannot readily substitute for the real thing -- yet. There is a shared experience that takes place in the room which cannot easily be duplicated. (Witness the confusion that arises when your partner on Skype begin reacting to things you can’t see.) And of course there remains a formidable series of regulatory hurdles to surpass, including a byzantine national licensing system that makes out-of-state therapy a legal minefield.

Still, there is no question that teletherapy will arrive someday. What this news demonstrates most clearly to us is that vital specialties such as depression therapy, anxiety therapy and relationship therapy are still needed throughout the country. If you’d like to find a therapist here in New York City, please contact the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Study Center today.

Welcome to the Revamped New York Psychoanalysis Blog!

Finding a therapist in New York City can be a confusing and fraught experience. You want to find the right therapist, with the right approach, and the right background. And you want to accomplish all these things on a budget that makes sense, and within a timeline that’s actually useful to you. At the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Study Center, we are constantly exploring what makes a good therapist, and how people are best served by the therapeutic process. We read the latest studies, surface cutting edge research of our own, and train some of the finest candidates for psychoanalysis in the nation.

Our intention with this blog is to create an online touchstone for some of the most important questions, ideas and news in the field of psychoanalysis. We’ll be posting regularly on a number of subjects that continue to generate interest among our faculty, including LGBT therapy, relationship therapy, and therapies focusing on OCD, depression, anxiety and other psychological symptoms. We’ll also address some of the most common questions about psychoanalysis, from readers and patients alike.

We are truly excited to relaunch this blog and share compelling new material with you each week. Please bookmark this site and check back often. Welcome aboard!

The Limits of Psychiatric Diagnosis

 “Back to Normal,” by Enrico Gnaulati

This thoughtful piece in the New Yorker On-line has gotten some attention in recent weeks. It discusses this recent book by Enrico Gnaulati and its take on the difficulties of diagnosis, focusing particularly on what to do when fairly normal behavior becomes “pathologized” in the popular imagination.

The question of overdiagnosis is an ongoing conversation within New York psychology and psychoanalysis circles. Although many people fall into one camp or another – either believing wholeheartedly in the gospel of the DSM, or rejecting any checklist-like approach altogether – the truth is often far more nuanced.

There is no question that some disorders of the mind are likewise disorders of the brain – witness the chemical storms of schizophrenia and psychosis. Other symptoms may be more hybrid in nature – for example, Depression or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, both of which can exist either as wholly chemical, or as wholly psychological maladies. And then there are those issues which are clearly emotional in origin – such as loneliness and relationship difficulties. At least for this last category, some labels do little to illuminate or alleviate the problems.

As the author notes, the principal limitation with the book is that it paints Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorders with the same reductive brush:

Psychiatric labels in kids have large consequences, and overdiagnosis carries risks: unnecessary pharmaceutical treatment, self-image questions, and the potential for long-term stigma. Yet underdiagnosis does, too, because early intervention can greatly improve outcomes for children, especially those with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The surest way to discover what is causing your emotional symptoms and distress is to talk about with an expert in analytic therapy. PPSC is comprised of several psychotherapists who specialize in particular subspecialties of talk therapy such as LGBT therapy or depression therapy. You can begin your search here today.