Kelly Mach is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in New York specializing in perinatal mental health, eating disorders, and perfectionism. We asked Kelly more about her work with clients and her guiding philosophies on therapy.
Kelly’s background and personal life
How did you decide to become a therapist?
I knew that I wanted to work with people as a child. What began as a quest to become a teacher has brought me here. Turns out I really love working with people one to one rather than managing a classroom!
What was your previous work before going into private practice?
I have worked in several agencies throughout New York City and in private practice in Portland, OR and Brooklyn, NYC. I have worked in a variety of industries (education, magazine publishing, human resources, the yoga space) and I feel that this variety of exposure to so many different people has enhanced my work and worldview.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I love to read, listen to music (especially live), practice yoga, take walks through the park and neighborhood, and play legos on the floor with my two sons.
Kelly’s specialties and therapy philosophies
What guiding principles inform your work?
I believe that we are connected beings - connected to ourselves mind-body-soul and connected to one another. I also believe that humans are incredibly resilient, that true healing can occur through a supportive and authentic provider/ client relationship and that our emotions are useful tools and allies and not obstacles for us to avoid.
What clientele do you work with most frequently?
I truly enjoy working with women in all stages of life, especially while navigating the choice to have a child, their unique fertility journey, pregnancy, postpartum and parenthood. I also work with disordered eating and am particularly experienced in working with body image challenges.
Can you tell us more about your specialty in perinatal mental health?
I enjoy helping women navigate through fertility, pregnancy and postpartum. This can be a very confusing and isolating time for many, and I find that having a supportive relationship with a therapist can help to ease feelings of isolation and work through this identity shift. I am also a mother, so I am walking alongside my clients on this journey.
Can you tell us more about your work with clients experiencing disordered eating?
I have been working with clients experiencing disordered eating for several years. I work through an intuitive eating and Health and Every Size lens, meeting clients where they are and helping them learn to understand their relationship with food and how to connect with their internal wisdom and break free from diet culture. I utilize mindful self-compassion and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to support clients who struggle with body trust and body acceptance.
Can you tell us about your specialty in working with clients with perfectionism?
I find that many of my clients that present as mothers and/or are experience an eating disorder or having a history of disordered eating are high achieving perfectionists. I enjoy working with these clients on identifying the differences between perfectionism and excellence, understanding how elements of perfectionism have been useful in the past but are now presenting as a debilitating issue, and how to find freedom from the false construct of perfection.
What do you find most rewarding about your work?
Witnessing folks reconnect with their internal compass and intuition.
Therapy sessions with Kelly
What will our first session together be like? What happens in ongoing sessions?
Our first session together is our first impression and involves a significant amount of information gathering and history. Sometimes this will extend into the second session. Subsequent sessions will be more driven by you and the therapeutic interventions that align with your presenting issue.
How long do clients typically see you for?
I have some clients that see me shorter term (up to 6 months) and longer up to a couple of years depending on their needs and presentation.
Are there any books you often recommend to clients?
There are many!!!
- Karla McLaren's books
- Fair Play and Unicorn Space by Eve Rodsky
- Intuitive Eating
- The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook
Do you assign “homework” between sessions?
I often provide inspiration for a practice to anchor us between sessions. Examples of this may include experimenting with starting a meditation practice for 5-10 minutes daily, noticing patterns of thinking that are not helpful or completing an exercise in the intuitive eating workbook.
How do you help ensure I'm making progress in therapy?
I keep a working treatment plan throughout our time together. This is a collaborative document that we revisit periodically. I consider progress in therapy to be subjective - if you feel like our time together is helpful, you are comfortable sharing space with me and we feel like a good fit, I think the relationship is valuable and can continue to evolve as with new challenges and life changes.
How do I know that it’s time to start seeking therapy?
You are thinking about seeking therapy. It's always the right time!
How can I prepare for our first session?
Come as you are. I will meet you there.
How will I know it’s time to end my time in therapy with you or reduce session frequency?
We will discuss this together and I will support you in whatever decision you make without reservation, assuming that it is clinically safe.
Why should I seek therapy, rather than turning to my partner, friends, or other loved ones?
As therapists, we are trained to create a supportive and safe space for exploring emotions and allowing for connections with oneself. While a supportive social network is important, there are so many benefits to engaging in the therapeutic process with a trained clinician.
What advice would you share with therapy seekers?
Make sure you feel comfortable with your therapist and it's a good fit! This might take a few sessions. A professional therapist wants you to feel engaged in the process and will gladly offer referrals if you are not aligned.
Visit Kelly’s profile to watch her introductory video, read more about her, and book an initial call!