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Irene Zelterman profile

Irene Zelterman, LCSW-R

Message from Irene

I have over 30 years of experience providing psychotherapy to individuals. I love what I do and the feedback I receive is that I am a great listener and easy to speak to. My main area of expertise is working with people who have experienced Trauma and trauma. I have extensive training in Internal Family Systems, level II trained. I have studied and practice Awake Awareness and Somatic Therapy. In spite of my training I am open to providing my clients what they need in a modality they are comfortable with. I believe clients have their own answers and need help looking inward to hearing what they need and want.

About Irene's practice

Availability

Availability

Weekday early mornings

Weekday mornings and afternoons

Weekday evenings

Fee

Fee

$$$

Style

Style

Reflective

Body-based

Method

Method

In-person available: No

Virtual available: Yes

Expertise

Expertise

Sexual Abuse

Mood

Trauma

Anxiety

Depression

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Eating Patterns or Eating Disorders

Body Image

Insurance

Insurance

Out of network providers

State

State

NY

Why state matters

Background
Profile

Get to Know Irene

How much do you share about yourself during our time together and why?

I am willing to share things about myself if my sharing benefits you. The session should be about you, not me. I will offer my opinions, and I will share my reactions, if asked. Some people have the mistaken idea that the therapist has to be just like them in order for the therapist to understand them. Some clients will ask questions to see if the therapist is like them. The reality is we are all different. Even if you and I have been through the exact same situation, we will each have our own reaction to that situation. Some people wish that the therapist is like them so they will not have to explain and describe as much. This wish, though understandable, misses the value of you “telling” your story. Having the therapist “witness” your experience, with you, is part of the healing process.

Is there ever a time when you would encourage me to leave or graduate? Or how do I know when it's time to end or move on, or time to stay and explore more?

I allow you to decide this. If you want to leave, I do not try to hold you back. However, I do hope you will take time to review the work we have done. I hope you will look at the gains you have made. I would like you to be clear why you are leaving and aware of what issues might require some attention in the future. If and when you choose to return, I will welcome you back. I understand and accept that sometimes people come and go.

Have you received any particular training beyond your post-Bachelor's training?

I have a master’s degree in social work from Hunter College. I am a New York State Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Beyond graduate school, I’ve continued to learn and improve my skills. I am a Level 2 trained Internal Family System (IFS) therapist. I practice and study Awake Awareness. I continue to study and open my awareness to people who are different than me in terms of race, sexual identification, neurodiversity and are in non traditional relationships. I am interested in helping people reintegrate insights they had after using psychedelic medicines.

Please share 2-3 anonymized examples of how the work can play out and/or look in the room so that I can form a visual or narrative of what to expect.

Example 1: A young woman came to see me because she felt like she “messed up” every relationship she had. She was sure she just didn't know what she was doing wrong because she had not learned to “act right.” While “Sarah” was in such a self-blaming place, she could not look at what was happening. She eventually worked towards softening the self-blame, just enough, so she could objectively look at what was happening. This new view allowed her also to see what the other person’s role was in the failed relationship. We are now working on her seeing her value as well as what are the essential parts of who she is. She is seeing that she is not what other people say she is. She is working on valuing her unique qualities that make her who she is. She is seeing that she can adjust her interactions if she approaches herself gently and with compassion. It is easier to learn, grow and change in an environment of self love and self respect. Example 2: Steven is a 37 year old man whose life on the surface looks great. He is smart, good looking has a great career as a consultant in the film industry. Steven came to my office complaining of an overwhelming sadness that he could not attach to any particular event. Steven came to therapy afraid of what he might discover in himself but his pain outweighed his fear. Overtime Steven developed trust in himself and in me that allowed him to explore his inner world. He came to understand that one cannot avoid painful situations but he could react in a healthier way. In therapy he developed skills that mitigated pain and showed him how he could learn from the experience. These skills are helping him navigate his life in a more rich and joyful way.

Where did you work before going into private practice?

I worked in several community-based mental health clinics with all ages. I established and ran a Geriatric Care Management business for over 20 years

What led you to become a mental healthcare practitioner?

I want change personally, politically and globally. I want the world to be a better place.

What is unique about the work you do, or how have you found your work to be different than your colleagues'?

I believe there are many caring and talented therapists out there. I am intuitive, warm and nonjudgmental. People have told me I am easy to speak to.

What is the best part of the work for you?

When you trust me enough be open with yourself and me. There is nothing more magical than speaking to you in the language of your inner world.

How will our relationship be different than relationships I have with friends/loved ones?

I am trained on how and what to listen for. A friend will give you advice that you may or may not find helpful. I will help you figure out for yourself what you want and how you can make the change that you seek happen.

How should I prepare for my first session with you?

Come in and tell me your thoughts and feelings

How participatory are you during sessions?

There is no hard and fast rule here. Many times, when clients come in for the first few sessions they have a lot of emotions that have been bottled up, and they need to talk. I actively listen. As time goes on and I get to understand what issues you are dealing with, I will point out patterns, themes and common threads. I always encourage you to give me feedback about how things are going.

How long should I commit to being in therapy, at least in the beginning?

Unless there is an immediate feeling that “this is not the right person for me,” I would suggest you give it three sessions. I can’t say how long you should stay in therapy. You make your own decision about when you feel good enough to stop. I support your desire to leave when you feel good about where you are. I welcome clients back when and if they want to return. Clients will sometimes do this for a short check in or if a new issue arises. I believe you should take what you need and move on when you are done.

How do you approach diversity in the room or working with clients who may come from a different background than you?

I acknowledge differences right from the beginning and I am open to hearing if you think I am not “getting” you. I am very comfortable telling you when I sense I do not understand what your experience is.

How can you tell if I am feeling stuck, unseen, or unheard?

I ask. I look for feedback. I welcome hearing both what is not going well and what is going well. If I find you just reporting and not working, I will point this out.

How can you tell if I am benefiting from working with you?

I see change. I see changes in behavior, mood and thought process. If you are not sure, I welcome discussing this with you.

From your perspective, what is therapy?

Therapy is a process, a journey, a vehicle for change. You come to therapy when you want things to be different in your life. You come to therapy because you are sad or anxious. You come because you feel lost or empty. You come because you experience problems in your relationships with family, friends or with people at work. You seek out therapy usually when you have experienced a change or disruption in your life. This change or disruption sometimes highlights things that you are unhappy with. At its best, therapy infuses us with hope, teaches us self-care and fosters resilience.

Do you assign homework, activities, or readings for me to do between sessions? Why or why not?

If you ask for this I can provide readings. We will work together on learning to observe yourself and your feelings between sessions. If you want to keep a journal, I welcome this; you can bring the journal in and share it with me.

Are there any philosophies or values that inform your work that I should know about?

I believe in social and economic justice. I believe that everyone has value regardless of race, physical attributes, abilities or disabilities, education, or intellectual levels. I accept and affirm people of all sexual orientations as well as transgender and sexual non-conforming people. I am open to hearing how you live your life and I am not judgmental.