Therapy with Sarah Meckler, LCSW

Sarah Meckler is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in New York specializing in anxiety, depression, relationship challenges, and family issues. We asked Sarah more about her work with clients and her guiding philosophies on therapy.

Sarah’s background and personal life

What was your previous work before going into private practice?

Before I went into private practice, I worked with teenagers and young adults in non-profit settings. I mostly focused on those that had a complex trauma history. I enjoyed and still enjoy working with people from this age group as they are entering a new phases of life - one where they are really starting to figure out their own desires, values, and beliefs separate from the environments they grew up in.

What guiding principles inform your work?

I believe that our past directly impacts our present lives. Through increased understanding, awareness, and insight, we are able to gain greater control over behaviors and patterns that may be holding us back in life. I think it's essential to create a warm, welcoming, caring and non-judgemental space for people to share. I also adopt a social justice and anti-oppression lens and think it's necessary to acknowledge the way oppressive systems harm us.

In addition, I emphasize sitting with and experiencing a full range of emotions based on our experiences. Through an honest and complete experiencing and articulation of our emotions, we are able to heal.

Sarah’s specialties and therapy philosophies

What clientele do you work with most frequently?

I work with the following groups of people most frequently: LGBTQIA+ folks, young adults, people who are poly or are in non-monogamous relationships, LGBTQIA+ families, and parents. Being a part of the LGBTQ community, I am drawn to working with that population. I believe it is helpful to have a certain level of personal experience and understanding that you can bring to the therapeutic relationship.

I am also drawn to people who are interested in pursuing relationship structures that are outside of the mainstream in general, thus my interest in polyamory and ENM (ethical non-monogamy). I am also a parent and am interested in helping support people with building their families and parenting.

Can you tell us more about your work with clients with anxiety and/or depression?

I help people with anxiety explore their common triggers and the deeper meaning that may be behind these triggers. Together, we look at some of the root causes of their anxiety and how they came to be. I find with depression, people have typically turned what might be anger or sadness with a situation or another person inward against themselves. It is important for those with depression to start to experience a full range of emotion, as it relates to others in their lives, so they are able to move away from self-blame or shame. With both of these issues, a discussion of coping skills is important, but a deeper understanding of the root causes can bring about more sustained and long-lasting change.

Can you tell us more about your specialty in relationship issues?

Oftentimes, what is lying underneath relationship issues is difficulty understanding and communicating our own feelings and needs. This can lead to unresolved and repetitive conflict or a feeling of dissatisfaction with the relationship. We work on this by developing a greater awareness of their feelings, needs, and desires as well more insight into why there is a barrier there in the first place. I also see many people who have a pattern of getting into relationships with people who don't serve them. We look at how that might have come to be. This is usually connected to early childhood and family dynamics. In addition, we discuss healthy communication tools that help people improve their relationships.

Can you tell us more about your work with clients navigating various family issues?

With people facing family issues, there is often a long history there that is impacting their experiences with their families. It is important to fully understand all that contributed to the dynamics at hand. People need to feel it is okay to feel and experience negative emotions towards a family member and for those feelings to be validated. Often, this is enough for a person to feel like they can move into a new phase of their relationship with that family member. Other times the behavior is so egregious or harmful to the person that they decide it is best to distance themselves or separate themselves from that family member. In that case we would also discuss how to set boundaries and move forward without that family member in their life.

What do you find most rewarding about your work?

I find it incredibly rewarding to see the amount of growth and change that people are capable of. Every person I have worked with, who has stayed committed to the therapy process, has been able to look back and see really radical improvements in their lives. Being able to witness peoples' journeys to happier more satisfied lives brings me great joy.

Therapy sessions with Sarah

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

In our initial session we would discuss the issues you would like to work on in therapy and what you are hoping to get from therapy. I would then take a history of your life including information about your childhood, family, relationships, job history, as well as a history of the problems at hand.

After that, we would move into a regular session format which typically starts with me asking what is on your mind and asking you to try and speak as freely as possible about whatever comes up for you. I would then ask some guiding questions, make observations, validate key areas and help point out themes or patterns that I am seeing. From there, we would start to piece together a greater understanding and deeper meaning of the issues at hand as well as develop insight into why you do what you do.

How can I prepare for our first session?

Be prepared to talk about what brought you to therapy, what you hope to get out of therapy, and any questions you may have about me or the therapy process. To prepare, just be thoughtful about what kinds of changes you would like to see in your life.

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

When the issues you wanted to work on in therapy are resolved and you have nothing new you want to work on in therapy. When you are consistently doing better and your are able to sustain the changes you wanted to see.

Visit Sarah’s profile to watch her introductory video, read more about her, and book an initial call!