Therapy with Jenna Sackman, MHC-LP

Jenna Sackman is a mental health counselor at Resilience Lab in New York City. Although Jenna works with adults across the lifespan, she has a particular specialty in working with young adults and college students navigating anxiety, depression, life transitions, relationship concerns, and/or low self-esteem. In sessions, Jenna incorporates both Western and Eastern healing modalities, including CBT, DBT, yoga and mindfulness, to help clients broaden their awareness, learn healthy coping skills, and authentically seek their unique version of joy.

We asked Jenna more about her work with clients and her guiding philosophies on therapy.

Jenna’s background and personal life

How did you decide to become a therapist?

I have always been a deeply emotional, empathetic, and feeling person, which originally sparked my curiosity for psychology and working closely with others. While working as an elementary school teacher at a Title 1 school, I was disheartened by the lack of accessibility to the social, emotional, and psychological support that my students and families needed. I hold a deep belief that every human deserves accessible mental healthcare and support, and it became my personal mission to provide it.

What was your previous work before going into private practice?

I started my professional career as an elementary school teacher in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn before deciding to follow my passion and get my graduate degree in mental health counseling.

While at Teachers College of Columbia University, I spent a year working as a counselor at LaGuardia Community College. After graduating with my master’s degree, I spent a year as a counselor at a startup charter high school in Williamsburg, Brooklyn before starting my own business as a yoga and meditation instructor and life coach.

Jenna’s specialties and therapy philosophies

What guiding principles inform your work?

I am passionate about fusing Western psychology and psychotherapy practices with Eastern spirituality and healing modalities that connect and enhance mind, body and soul. From my own personal experiences in therapy, I believe that the strongest therapists are those who have experienced their own challenges and, therefore, can truly empathize and relate to the people with whom they work.

Above all, I believe in equality and transparency, and I work from a place of understanding and compassion. I feel it is my role, as a therapist, to meet and honor every individual, regardless of where they currently are on their journey. I walk alongside them as they forge their own unique path.

What clientele do you work with most frequently?

I enjoy working with individuals, especially emerging and young adults. As a former teacher, at both the high school and college levels, I am passionate about working through growing pains, life transitions, and everything that comes along with big changes.

What do you find most rewarding about your work?

Witnessing the vulnerability and resiliency of my clients. Therapy and showing vulnerability is not easy, and I am just so deeply moved and inspired by every person with whom I work and their commitment to growth.

Therapy sessions with Jenna

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

In our first few sessions, we will work together to identify areas of concern and then will spend our subsequent time together pursuing positive change and implement skills and strategies that will help you become healthier, enhance your life, and reach your highest potential.

Therapy is a safe and open space that offers people an opportunity to:

How long do clients typically see you for?

It’s best if we schedule a consultation call to discuss this further, as each person and situation is unique. In general, I recommend that people commit to a minimum of meeting once a week for 4 weeks to begin. Then we can determine if continuing weekly or moving to bi-weekly is more appropriate. There are many factors which determine length and frequency of therapy, including individual circumstances, the magnitude of the problem or goal, commitment to doing the necessary work to bring about positive change, and discipline to challenge faulty behavioral and thinking patterns.

While it is always better to receive consistent counseling over a period of time, I understand that not everyone is looking for long-term counseling, and that’s ok. Depending on your situation, short-term counseling may be effective for you and fear of long-term counseling should not deter you from reaching out and scheduling a consultation.

Are there any books you often recommend to clients?

I often recommend Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.

Do you assign “homework” between sessions?

Generally, yes, although it depends on what is best for each individual client. While the seeds of change are planted during our sessions together, the actionable change happens between sessions when clients have the opportunity to put their hard work into practice in their everyday life. I aim to provide my clients with an arsenal of tools and techniques to successfully navigate through life.

Like any other skill, practice is necessary in building competence and confidence. I believe that "homework," activities, and readings help to reinforce and strengthen a client's awareness and ability to utilize coping strategies and skills in their life.

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

During our first few sessions together, I will be able to form a better idea of who you are and what you’re looking for from therapy. We will create goals together, so we will be able to check-in on those goals to see progress. However, I think it’s important to note that progress is not a linear process, and it’s not always about accomplishing a specific goal.

Benefits from therapy and progress can be seen in a multitude of ways, both big and small. If you’re increasing your awareness, mindfulness, and consciousness about yourself, your thoughts, your feelings, and your behaviors, those are huge positive steps that lead to noticeable change!

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

My goal as your therapist is to provide you with the tools, techniques, skills, and strategies necessary for you to comfortably, confidently, and independently (although of course not without help from others) navigate through your life. Therefore, although endings are undoubtedly difficult, I also view them as a celebration of growth and empowerment.

Deciding whether to end our work together is a conversation that may be initiated by either of us. If you’re feeling unsure about whether we should be continuing our work together or wrapping up, I encourage you to bring that to my attention, so we can discuss further and decide together what will be best for you. Likewise, if I clinically feel as though it’s time to end or decrease the frequency of our sessions, it is a conversation that I will initiate with you.

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

While friends and loved ones can offer support, therapy is a unique relationship that gives you the opportunity to talk to an objective and removed third party.

Unlike your friends and loved ones, who are directly impacted by your choices and behaviors, our relationship has a separation that provides us the opportunity to explore anything and everything free of judgment or biases. Unlike your personal relationships that consist of both give and take, therapy is just for you. You are able to receive without the expectation or pressure of reciprocity.

Visit Jenna’s profile to watch her introductory video, read more, and contact her for an initial consultation!