Lisa Kantor is a Clinical Psychologist in Newton Centre, Massachusetts who specializes in helping individuals navigate the stress and anxiety that results from life transitions, conflicted relationships, and other challenging events. In addition to therapy skills, she also uses coaching skills to help her clients develop positive outcomes in their lives.
We asked Dr. Kantor about her work with clients and her guiding philosophies on therapy.
Dr. Kantor’s background and personal life
1. How did you decide to become a therapist?
When I was in eighth grade, I had a cherished teacher who was a trusted confidante and support to me during a very difficult time. I remember we were doing a “values clarification” exercise in her class, which posed the question: “Self, who do we want to be?” I wrote an answer: “I want to be a counselor.” At the time I had little understanding of what that meant, but I knew I wanted to do for others what my teacher was doing for me: offering a private, trusting relationship in which someone could share what was painful while someone listened carefully and cared deeply. I hoped I could leave people feeling better and less alone.
2. What was your previous work before going into private practice?
I have been in private practice since 1990 because I wanted to offer the kind of personal attention and flexibility to my clients that running my own practice offers. Over the years, I also worked as a Behavioral Therapist and Family Business Consultant at Canyon Ranch Health Resort in the Berkshires. At the start of my career, I worked in the Psychiatry Department at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. After some post-graduate training, I’ve also added Executive and Life Coaching to my private practice.
3. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
In my free time, I try to balance time spent on creative endeavors and physical fitness, as well as my relationships with family and friends.
Dr. Kantor’s practice and therapy philosophy
4. What guiding principles inform your work?
I believe that we all share certain universal concerns, fears, hopes, and challenges. Yet when we are caught up in our own difficulties, we often feel painfully alone, and this sense of isolation adds to an already difficult situation.
Therapy can offer a confidential, collaborative, and trusting relationship in which we take your life seriously and begin to open up possibilities you hadn’t envisioned for yourself.
In addition to developing a deeper understanding of yourself, I also feel that ultimately taking action and making thoughtful decisions to change outcomes in your life is an important step. My hope is that learning about yourself can allow you to maximize your life in an empowering and enriching way.
5. What clientele do you work with most frequently?
I work with adults ranging in age from 18 to 80. I particularly enjoy working with young adults (college and graduate students), adults in early-career or mid-life stages, and adults at an early retirement age.
6. What do you find most rewarding about your work?
I love helping my clients achieve fuller and more satisfying lives. Often, people come to therapy or coaching feeling that their life is stuck in some way. But I have seen how this work can result in more creative and meaningful – and ultimately, happier - outcomes for people.
Therapy sessions with Dr. Kantor
7. What would our first session together be like? What happens in ongoing sessions?
In an initial session, I’ll ask you to share more about what is bringing you to therapy, and you’ll let me know what your goals are. Throughout the session, I’ll try to paraphrase what you’re saying, so that we can be sure to be on the same page about your concerns.
During the session, it’s important that you begin to assess whether this is the right match for you by taking note of how you feel talking with me. Do my comments and questions feel relevant and helpful in clarifying your situation? How optimistic are you feeling that our collaboration could be helpful to you?
By the end of the session we may come to an agreement on important areas to focus on in therapy and a plan for going forward. If we decide to work together, we would most likely set up a plan for an initial frequency of sessions (e.g., once a week) with the option to revise our plan as we go along.
8. How can I prepare for our first session?
A good way to arrive for an initial session is with an open and curious mind. You may have been in therapy before, or this may be your first experience. Either way, this is a new time in your life – being curious about yourself and the prospect for growth in your life will help insure a productive process. You might also prepare by thinking about your goals for therapy. Most likely, you already know you’d like to feel better and have more control over certain aspects of your life.
9. What advice would you share with therapy seekers?
Therapy can change lives. A confidential, collaborative therapy experience is an opportunity to take your life seriously – it’s an investment in your life and in your future.
I’d encourage you to be an active participant in the process, work to determine what might be getting in the way of achieving the life you most hope for, examine what might be possible for you, and use the help of your new therapist to find ways of creating your best life.
One last note: The match with your therapist is very important. Find a licensed, credentialed therapist and make sure it’s someone you like to talk to, someone you feel you can trust, and someone who seems to offer some wisdom. Make sure you feel listened to, taken seriously, and understood.
Visit Lisa's profile to watch her introductory video, read more, and book an initial call!