I am a clinical social worker and psychotherapist with over 25 years experience working with youth and adults in a variety of settings including hospitals, mental health centers, not-for-profits, and schools from Washington D.C. to NYC and currently in Westchester County where I have lived and worked since 2001.
In addition to my private practice, I also teach Advanced Diagnosis and Clinical Assessment and Mindfulness in Social Work in the Masters Program at the NYU School of Social Work.
I'm also the mother of two adolescent girls and consider my own personal experience helps to inform my work. Parenting is not easy.
I truly believe it is important to look beyond the label or symptom in order to identify inherent strengths in each unique individual and in harnessing these strengths in the service of positive change. I'm passionate about helping others cultivate the attitudes and skills necessary to bring a greater sense of well-being in their lives from this perspective.
I have a collaborative, goal-oriented approach, tailored to each individual and shaped by my own training, experience, and interests as well as my curiosity, empathy, and respect for others. I believe it is important to look beyond the label or symptom in order to identify the inherent strengths of each individual and in harnessing these strengths in the service of positive change. My practice is informed by a wide variety of influences (psychodynamic training, parent management training, cognitive behavioral studies including DBT) and interests (mindfulness, parenting issues, work/life balance, life transitions, neuropsychology, positive psychology).
The wonderful thing about change is it can start in thought- cultivating greater self-awareness or behavior- learning a new skill. Whatever the starting place, our ability to connect with one another in an authentic way, in which you feel understood, is critical to the change process.
I work with children, teens, young to middle age adults, parents and couples on a variety of issues including stress and anxiety, depression, adjusting to life events and transitions; interpersonal conflict and communication; relationship issues; parenting problems; academic and occupational struggles, and emotional regulation issues. Assessing your fit starts with a phone call.
Daring to Dream: Improving Relationships/Enhancing Communication/Increasing Self-Compassion/Balancing Work-Life/Exploring Purpose/Embracing Acceptance/Finding Fulfillment/Exploring Purpose/Fulfilling Professional Potential/Exploring Purpose
Whether you are a young, middle age or older adult, there is no one path that leads to a fulfilling life. There are many. For adults, therapy is a process of discovering your own creative path for living a more balanced, authentic life. For some this may mean exploring one’s life narrative; how the past informs the present and shapes the future. For others, it may mean focusing more on the present; learning and practicing new skills to set a new course. The wonderful thing about change is it can start in thought- cultivating greater self-awareness or behavior- learning a new skill. It can also start at any age.
Whatever the goal, managing stress, overcoming anxiety and depression, improving relationships or dealing with life transitions, therapy is about creating meaningful, lasting change that contributes to a sense of fulfillment in your own life and in your relationships with others. I start where you are and go where you want to go gently directing the process toward the goal of positive change.
Exploring the Possibilities: Exploring Identity and Values/Achieving Personal and Academic Potential/Enhancing Self-Esteem/Improving Family and Social Relationships
Childhood is a time of swift developmental changes and the teenage years are marked by even more dramatic developmental leaps as youth push toward adulthood. These changes can be challenging for parents and youth alike. Therapy with children and adolescents is often about finding new solutions to problems that arise at home, in school and with peers that seem beyond solving on your own.
Therapy helps children and adolescents in a variety of ways. When children are provided with emotional support in which they feel validated and understood, they become ready to acknowledge the need for help and open to exploring viable ways to solve the problems. Whether it is specific to improving relations with friends and family, regulating emotions, increasing frustration tolerance, improving self-esteem, managing stress, decreasing anxiety, and depression or simply learning organizational or study skills therapy is a supportive pathway to positive change.
I work directly with the child, while partnering with parents to thoroughly explore you and your child's concerns, monitor progress and adjust treatment modalities as necessary.
Creating Positive Change: Improving the Parent-Child Relationship/Reducing Conflict/Restoring Peace/Building Confidence/Expanding Skills and Strategies/Fulfilling Personal and Academic Potential
While most people think of childhood as a peaceful, carefree time, parents of challenging children may have few memories of such conflict free moments. Children’s difficulties with emotional regulation, frustration tolerance, following family rules and disruptions in school often erode the parent-child relationship and leave parents feeling emotionally drained and in some cases both the parent and child isolated from their communities.
Over time, these behaviors can contribute to low self-esteem and even anxiety and depression in the child and can also trigger marital conflict for the parents. Labels neither offer a real understanding of what it is like to be the child with such challenging behaviors nor how to influence positive changes. Change rests in parents and children learning specific skills that promote problem-solving, flexibility and frustration tolerance.
I work directly with parents to synthesize information about youth development and insight specific to your child in order to build viable cognitive and behavioral strategies for enhancing the child's capability. The goal is to not only resolve the identified behavioral problems, it is also to build a stronger parent-child relationship.
Many parents find my practice by referral from the Yale Parenting Center. I am certified in Kazdin Parent Management Training and offer this specific therapy for families upon request.
With some families, it is also important to include teachers as important allies in the therapy process. This can be helpful in providing insight into how your child is doing both academically and socially at school and what kind of services and learning accommodations may be needed.
When life's demands and the high expectations we create for ourselves outpace our ability to cope effectively, stress can become toxic and life can feel out of balance. Healthy Minds Project educates and empowers youth, families, and teachers to meet life's challenges and embrace its opportunities by providing the skills and tools needed to successfully manage each in healthy ways that support balance.
My colleague, Beth Gallos, and I provide a variety of mindfulness training opportunities to individuals, families, schools and youth service organizations in the Westchester County area. These opportunities include but are not limited to the following:
Learning to Breathe (L2B) Groups for youth in middle school and high school
Mindful Parenting Groups for parents seeking to bring a greater sense of calm into their families
Weekly Book Groups for Parents
Morning Community Sits in Rye (all are welcome)
In class mindfulness sessions for pre-school through 12th grade (using the Mindful Schools 8 week, 16 unit curriculum)
Professional development workshops for teachers and support staff; support and supervision to teachers bringing mindfulness curriculum into their classrooms (1-3 hours)
Mindfulness presentations for Parent Organizations (60-90 minutes)
Please visit the Healthy Minds Project website
to learn more about these programs.
Helpful Resources~Coming Soon
M. Kim O'Connor, LCSW-R
14 Elm Place, Suite 200
Rye, New York 10580