Interview with Paige Rechtman, Licensed Psychotherapist
Paige Rechtman is a New York-based Licensed Psychotherapist (LMHC) who practices out of her offices in New York City’s Financial District and Midtown. She earned her master’s in Mental Health Counseling with a Certificate of Study in Spirituality and Health from the University of Florida. She is passionate about holistic health and wellness and brings these passions to her practice, which is centered on helping her clients make authentic connections.
1. You are a practitioner of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in a psychodynamic framework–can you expand on this for those who might not be familiar with this intervention?
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a version of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is a more contemporary and science-based approach to therapy. It’s about adopting practical tools, like mindfulness, and learning new ways of experiencing your thoughts and your feelings so that you don’t get so caught up in them, and can instead live your life! It is also based on figuring out what your values are, and aligning your behaviors with those values. I find that this more modern approach to therapy, combined with the insight gained from more traditional approaches that encourage a person to uncover deeper insights about past experiences makes for an individualized, powerful, and also action-oriented approach to healing and changing your life.
2. What has been your proudest moment as a counselor to date?
Opening up my private practice; setting up my office, which I absolutely love. Doing this has allowed me to practice therapy and also live my life in a way that is aligned with who I am. Every time I walk into my office I have to pinch myself because I can’t believe it’s real and it’s mine!
3. Your website and blog mention the hectic environment that modern society tends to promote, and the importance of authentic connections. What methods have you found effective in establishing more authentic connections to others and the self?
I believe one of the best ways to establishing more authentic connections with others is by connecting in person, about what is really happening with you–the good, the bad, the ugly. Being in a space with someone and being able to feel the shared energy in the room is important for us to feel connected to others. With my clients, I also encourage open and honest dialogue about what is happening in the space with us; if they feel disappointed or angry with me in any way, being able to share what’s on their mind in therapy can help a person develop the courage to be more in touch with how they are feeling outside of therapy. As a therapist, I feel as if I am self-reflective almost 24/7, which can be exhausting! I also deeply value the time I spend every week with my own therapist, my supervisor, and a peer supervision group, which helps me to talk things out and stay connected to myself and others.
4. When a client comes to your office for a consultation, what are the first thing(s) you will ask them?
Why do they want to start therapy, and what do they want to accomplish during our time together.
5. How do you “let go” of the tensions of the workday so that you can recharge in your time away from the office?
I’m a huge proponent of self-care, and spend time every single week nourishing myself through activities I enjoy–everything from exercising to taking banjo lessons, to signing up for art classes, to spending time with my cat, to bingeing Netflix! Talking things out with my own therapist also helps to ground me.
6. What are the biggest challenges that counselors of today face?
Luckily, taking care of one’s mental health is becoming a bigger part of the conversation that people are having today, but I still don’t think the value it adds to a person’s life is recognized monetarily by our society as a whole. A tough challenge for counselors today is owning just how much our services are worth. Many people go into this profession wanting to help others, and we forget that in helping others, we also need to take care of ourselves, mentally, spiritually, physically, but also financially. There is no business class when getting a degree in counseling, so the business component and actually being able to make a living by providing these services is a challenge, but not impossible.
7. Do you have any other advice for students considering a degree or a career in counseling?
It’s very hard, but also very rewarding. The relationships I form with my clients are unlike any I’ve ever had–it’s hard to describe with words. One of the most important things for me right now is having a support network–my own therapist, my supervisor, and my peers. If you get a degree and plan to go into private practice, taking care of yourself and having support is ESSENTIAL!