How does therapy work and will it work for me?

An important question! You don't KNOW therapy will work, because no one can read the future! (You'll learn this in session, but this kind of statement might be "fortune telling", a kind of cognitive distortion.) To make sure we're making progress, your therapist uses a scoring system that helps you measure how things are going in your life as well as how each session is going.  We have steadily been implementing this into our sessions over the last 11 years, and our experience backs up what the data already shows - the more immediate feedback and the more engagement a client has in sessions, the better the outcome.  (See a brief video here).  

By using this ratings system, we can monitor your progress in therapy, as well as how you are more able to cope with things between your therapy sessions.  This also allows us to make sure we are providing the best training and supervision to counselors in NYC. Regardless of whether you work with a graduate student, post-graduate, or licensed therapist, we want to make sure our approach is the right one for you, and that you're not just FEELING better, but making actual progress with some sort of end in sight! Quite a bit different than you might have experienced with therapists before. 

We're not here to give you advice or to hug you better or to pathologize you and keep you entrenched in a mental health system.  We are here to help you learn tangible skills to implement in your own life, and we want to use interventions and techniques that have shown time and time again to be effective.  

Forget online reviews and what you have seen about therapy on tv.  If you want a relatively brief, modern, effective approach to counseling, book your intake session now.

What kind of therapy do you do?

All of our therapists work with the original type of cognitive behavioral therapy designed by Albert Ellis called Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. We may use other interventions for couples (like Imago Therapy) or other special populations, but all of our work is filtered through the lens of REBT.  This is an active style of therapy, and coupled with the ratings scales we mentioned before, it's quite effective, down to earth and practical.  Our job is not to teach you a bunch of diagnoses and psychobabble jargon, but to translate psychological theory into real language you can use and implement in your lives.

That means - we talk like you do, and our sessions are quite a bit more animated than the silent, nodding therapist you might have seen on tv. Whether sex therapy, individual counseling or life coaching- we try to teach you as best we can how to implement these interventions into your daily life.

Finding a new therapist

Your last therapist definitely added to who you are now! Again, we think of this as learning a language - and though you may have had a great French 1 teacher who did things one way, we're hopefully moving you into French 2 where you will learn a whole expanded set of skills. Saw a therapist trainee here before? We’re happy to continue your progress in therapy with one of our current cohort of post-graduate clinicians.

Therapy is about learning some tools to work through your own issues in life in a way that's informed by healthy emotions and behaviors. This is different than just presenting your therapist with every bad thing that has ever happened to you then asking "What should I do?!". No one knows what you "should" do, and in our style of therapy, we call that "shoulding all over yourself" (therapy is full of colorful language- get ready!).  We don't want to add more shoulds, musts and supposed-to's to your life.  We want you to come up with some more rational alternatives to shoulds - and those alternatives come from you, not from us.  

Coming with a previous diagnosis or a whole list of diagnoses? We'll definitely talk about those, but in REBT it's more about given these events in your life - what are you going to do about them from now going forward, not simply identifying as x or y diagnosis. 

Are you ready for insight and change?

Which Therapist Should I choose?

Therapists are people, too. While we have different ways of working through the material, we're all trying to teach you the same language, if you will. More specifically- we go out of our way to bring you therapists that reflect the world that we live in. While any list would surely be leaving something out- let's begin by saying we are either queer identified or informed and affirming allies, have differing levels of expertise but all quite affirming perspectives when it comes to working with consensual non-monogamy, trans issues and gender non-conformity / beyond the binary issues, we are kink affirming and/or kink aware, affirming of secular issues but respectful of all sorts of spiritualities and philosophies, and most of all- generally compassionate and empathetic folks. If you're not making progress with one therapist, we'll happily help you continue your work with one of the others.  The most important thing is that you feel like you and the therapist can do your best work together.

 

Examples of mental health services we provide:

  • Individual psychotherapy for anxiety, panic, stress management, time management, existential dread, setting and achieving new emotional, cognitive and behavioral goals, and longstanding sexual dysfunction and trauma

  • Life coaching / career coaching- Identifying problem areas holding you back in your career, helping you overcome anxiety for interviews or anxiety with public speaking, helping with feedback on options for a change of career

  • Couples counseling / relationship counseling / Marital Counseling / Pre-Marital Counseling - relationship crisis, coping with immediate concerns, then communicating effectively, then fighting fairly when it escalates to a fight

  • Sex Therapy - sex therapy is talk therapy for healthy sexual expression (as opposed to sexual dysfunctions like sexual anorexia, sexual guilt and shame, pre-mature ejaculation, erectile difficulties, low arousal, difficulty in achieving or maintaining erections)

  • Open relationship coaching (poly, polycules, poly family therapy, transitions in relationships, relationship attachment issues, time management, communicating effectively in groups)

  • Depression Screenings - want to see if it’s just a funk? A change of life? or “clinical depression”- follow up referrals provided

  • Behavioral modification for medication management - trouble adhering to meds for diabetes, PreP, TasP? CBT strategies for medication management

  • Asylum reports & support letters, assessments

  • Gender identity services (counseling, letters for hormones, name change documentation, surgery readiness), trans-family therapy, informed allied therapists

  • Assessments for bariatric surgery readiness and CBT strategies for diet change and coping to life post-bariatric surgery

  • Clinical Supervision and Employment in NYC for Mental Health Counselors, Peer supervision and employment for Licensed Mental Health Counselors, Clinical Supervision and Employment in NYC for Marriage and Family Therapists, Peer supervision and employment for Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists

  • Substance Management and referrals to detox - We adhere to the ethics and science of SMART RECOVERY which is based in Cognitive Behavioral therapy (elsewhere CBT) - 12 step seekers

 

 

Professional endorsements

“Dr. DeMarco is an expert in REBT and mental health counseling, specifically sex therapy. He remains dedicated to the progress of his patients while also being an advocate for mental health. As a supervisor, he has helped multiple clinicians become licensed. 

What topic(s) would you refer clients to this therapist for? 
Sex therapy, REBT, anxiety disorders, LGBTQ issues, depression, couples counseling

— Fredrick Dombrowski PhD, LMHC, CASAC

“Dr. DeMarco is a certified sex therapist and has been active in serving the NYC community for many years now. He has guided therapists-in-training, including me, in the past, with his knowledge and expertise. He strives to provide high-quality care for all clients as well as to ensure that future therapists are able to give clients the service they deserve.

What topic(s) would you refer clients to this therapist for? 
Sexual issues, anxiety, depression, relationships

— Nina Lei, LMHC

“Dr. DeMarco provides the highest level of care not only to his clients, but to his supervisees and colleagues as well. I have known Michael since the beginning of my career as a counselor, and he has been instrumental in helping me create a practice, better understand effective tools for practice management, and learning how to supervise interns and post graduates as they are working towards licensure. Almost every good thing or step forward in my work as a therapist can be linked to my friendship and professional relationship with Michael. My work and life are so enriched by knowing and learning from him.

What topic(s) would you refer clients to this therapist for? 
Depression, anxiety, relationship concerns, job indecision, trauma, identity issues

— Melanie Downs, LMHC, LPC

“Dr. DeMarco cares, he is innovating, he foresees and plans and his dedication to what he does goes beyond the call of duty.

What topic(s) would you refer clients to this therapist for? 
Gender-related issues, informed trauma, social adaptation, behavioral difficulties, and self development and confidence

— Freddy Molano, MD

“Dr. DeMarco is a seasoned change agent who is dedicated to helping you lead your best life. He teaches identifying and understanding how you keep yourself stuck in maladaptive ways (i.e., thinking, feeling, behaving); and provides the tools and support to help you make lasting change. His collaborative, challenging and caring approach is effective and refreshing. 

What topic(s) would you refer clients to this therapist for? 
Anxiety, Depression, Sexuality, Relationships

— Kathleen Lamb, LPC

“Michael is a caring and dedicated professional. He is extremely knowledgeable and highly trained. He has many years of experience and has successfully treated clients with an array of clinical challenges. Michael is one of the most sought-after therapists in the NYC area and I highly recommend him.

What topic(s) would you refer clients to this therapist for? 
sex therapy, anxiety, depression

— Joseph Williams, LMHC