Therapy with Constantine Kipnis, LICSW

Constantine Kipnis is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker specializing in working with adolescents and young adults on topics related to anxiety, depression, relationship issues, and academic challenges. Having previously worked in the technology industry, Constantine is also passionate about helping clients navigate professional and career-related challenges. He is licensed to provide therapy to clients in the states of Florida, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey.

We asked Constantine more about his work with clients and his guiding philosophies on therapy.

Constantine’s background and personal life

How did you decide to become a therapist?

I grew up in a time and a place where therapy was not a thing. I had the mindset of a therapist long before I knew what a therapist is and does and long before I contemplated embracing this path.

A wake-up call came when I became a father and realized that I am terribly ignorant about how humans actually work. This humbling experience led to a long period of exploration until I finally accepted that becoming a therapist was the answer to my questions.

What was your previous work before going into private practice?

In 2016, I officially changed careers after over 20 years of living on the cutting-edge of tech in a series of internet startups. In the finale of the show Halt and Catch Fire, which greatly reminds me of my own career, there is an exchange between two of the main characters where one says, “Computers aren’t the thing; they’re the thing that gets you to the thing. You were the thing.”

My own trajectory led me to the same conclusion. The people alongside me on my journey have been the “thing.” Over time, my priorities gradually changed from technology to people (humans as signal, technology as noise). I have pivoted from building the future to helping the builders of the future cope with their lives in the present.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Family, friends, books, movies, tv shows. I grew up on literature and added movies and pop culture to it, arming myself with an endless ability to come up with cultural references that help me find a common language with just about anyone I have ever met. For fun I play chess, ping pong, and video games.

Constantine’s specialties and therapy philosophies

What guiding principles inform your work?

My life has taught me that change is a constant and that the courage to change always feels hard. I am awed and humbled by the experiences of the people who choose to work with me. I have much to learn from the work we do together.

What clientele do you work with most frequently?

Couples, young adults, adolescents. The common denominator is dealing with change. My slogan is "Seeking people who are seeking change: some change takes two people." Or, in the case of couples, three. Also, my bilingual upbringing and life experience allows me to practice psychotherapy in Russian with native Russian speakers.

Can you tell us more about your specialty in couples counseling?

Partnership is a fundamental opportunity available to humans. And yet, it is so hard to create and grow a partnership that delivers on its promise.

Can you tell us more about your work with adolescents and young adults?

I am very interested in joining with people during that special time in their life when they launch and contend with what it means to be independent. This is an amazing period in our life. Re-evaluating our relationship with parents and authority figures, processing our place in society, exploring romance, relationships, and intimacy. I am comfortable walking side by side with adolescents as they attempt to make sense of it all.

What do you find most rewarding about your work?

I never stop learning. My work will never be done. I plan to work for as long as I am alive and my mind is sharp.

Therapy sessions with Constantine

What will our first session together be like? What happens in ongoing sessions?

We build rapport even as I attempt to help you bring out into the open the core problem that brought you to therapy.

How long do clients typically see you for?

Weeks, months, or years. It all depends on the complexity of what we are working on. Some challenges require the kind of patience shown by archeologists.

Are there any books you often recommend to clients?

I often recommend Victor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning and other various novels depending on the client's particular situation. Sometimes I recommend movies or tv shows. It is all construction material.

Do you assign “homework” between sessions?

It depends on what we are working on. Sometimes I ask people to journal in various particular ways. Sometimes I have people engage in behavioral exercises such as exposure therapy.

How do you help ensure I'm making progress in therapy?

As you make headway, your evolving ideas and behavior show it. We frequently reflect together on the changes we are observing. We learn together and remember together.

How do I know that it’s time to start seeking therapy?

When the day you just lived does not feels like a day well spent and the day that awaits you tomorrow does not feel like something you are looking forward to.

How can I prepare for our first session?

Bring your courage. Attempting therapy means taking on a new responsibility, opening yourself up to potential new sources of emotional discomfort when you start to look at your life more closely.

How will I know it’s time to end my time in therapy with you or reduce session frequency?

When your life makes sense to you, when you have plans, when plans feel achievable, when execution of plans happens smoothly, when the day you just lived feels like a day well spent and the day that awaits you tomorrow feels like something you are looking forward to.

Why should I seek therapy, rather than turning to my partner, friends, or other loved ones?

All non-therapy relationships have one thing in common: they require relationship maintenance. If we say the wrong thing to someone in our life, we hurt their feelings, cause reactions, impact the relationship. We are always unconsciously aware of this and it causes us to edit what we communicate and present an acceptable version of ourselves instead of the whole truth.

In the therapy relationship, no maintenance is required of the client. The therapist can and will handle, process, and accept everything that you reveal of yourself in therapy and this will allow you to go much further in your self-discovery.

What advice would you share with therapy seekers?

Attempt to be honest with your therapist about everything that is happening to you in therapy. The therapist is not made out of glass and all your feedback is amazingly useful.

Visit Constantine’s profile to read more about him and book an initial call!