Therapist Spotlight: Alysha Pearlman LCSW

Meet Alysha Pearlman, a therapist with A Good Place

How would a potential client know that you are the right therapist for them?

I love the diversity that our practice at A Good Place Therapy offers, each therapist has unique differences in approach that a client will know they align with pretty quickly. I’m fortunate to understand and serve a variety of needs but a few particulars stand out for me. I understand the current issues facing the millennial generation and I am able to bring a present perspective as a millennial. I also have a natural bent towards helping people through the grief and loss that come from medical crisis.

“I aim to create and open and honest environment.”

The first session with a new therapist can feel tense and I am there to help guide people through their experience. I love watching confidence build in a person who is doing the work and learning to recognize and keep track of their thoughts, feelings, and progress. There is nothing like ‘Aha” moment when the realization of change comes and it is because of their healing and growth.

What inspired your career as a therapist?

I went to school for psychology because I have always had passion for people. From an early age I felt drawn to different people that I could sense were having a difficult time. I enjoy working with children partly because of my own experience and observations as a child. I had a grandmother who suffered from mental illness and I watched how deeply it impacted my family. There were so many challenges that came with the emotions of caring for a loved one, needing a support system, and navigating the different medicines. I learned there was also a necessity in helping people to navigate the different health systems, and the larger perspective, which is what I really enjoy about combining social work and therapy. I am able to focus on the person as a whole and provide a 360 degree approach to the situation they are experiencing. My grandmother, and the strength of my own mother, inspired me to dedicate my life to helping people with mental health issues, and to help people overcome everyday difficulties as well. I understand first hand that feeling of not knowing where to begin, or how to comprehend what is happening during times of grief, medical crisis, and loss. Because of that experience I am able to say: “Here are the lanes, Here are the avenues, Here's how you actually get help in this situation."

What you're most passionate about?

I'm most passionate about helping people find the tools they need using what they already have within them. Often, people have what they are looking for to help themselves make things better they just don't know where to start. I help by bringing direction and clarity into view so they can increase their strength. Whether that's navigating systems or navigating their own internal selves I find that what works best is equipping clients to draw out their own inner strength to develop an approach and technique that will work best for their unique situation.

What is one tip you give people experiencing anxiety due to our current social climate?

I try to help people recognize what is at the root of their anxieties, to really get to the core and dissect what is causing angst or frustration. For example, I ask questions that help them dig deeper into understanding if they are experiencing something directly as in immigration, or indirectly like a residual fear that triggers due to taking flights often. Whatever the case may be, it is really important to try to focus on the why behind the feeling. I’ve noticed in more sessions lately, clients coming in with tension behind our current political climate not realizing that the excessive news coverage and social media are the ‘why’ that is actually triggering the stress, and limiting the amount of exposure can help with this, and limiting the amount of exposure can help with this.

What do you do to decompress?

I actually love yoga, and I run a lot. I’m really excited about running a half marathon in the near future, I like to challenge myself in that way. I also just love being with my friends and family. I also enjoy watching different documentaries and shows! Nothing like a good binge watch of Game of thrones or some good reality TV.

You offer ACT, What exactly is acceptance and commitment therapy?

ACT is an approach, better yet a tool, that I am able to use with clients who are experiencing depression. Traditional CBT ( Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) focuses  more on thoughts and feelings. Typically, clients who are experiencing depression have difficulty getting to the core of their emotions, ACT allows us to focus on behavior activation – recognizing certain behaviors and accepting them for what they are as oppose to focusing on the why. Essentially, ACT zeroes in on the ‘what’ as opposed to the ‘why’. In this approach when we uncover the ‘what’ we can treat the ‘why’. ACT allows us to recognize the unwanted behavior and commit to a desirable change.

What's your favorite way to self care?

I really like focusing on things to look forward to. I love getting excited about the future, whether it's planning a trip, hanging out with friends, pretty much anything that I can look forward to. Last year I took a spontaneous trip to Europe with my friends and it was amazing! I can’t wait to go back! I studied abroad in France when I was in high school and I love the Mediterranean. It would be a dream come true to just pick up and go there traveling from Italy in the Mediterranean to France, just relaxing with my friends and family. I also love talking and spending time with my friends whether it is going to a new spot for brunch or checking out a fun pop up shop. I enjoy getting out of the city on weekends as well even if just for a quick trip. Trying new restaurants and seeing new places are always fun!

What is your favorite book of all time?

I really love The Great Gatsby. The first time I read it was in high school and for some reason it is a book that has always stood out to me. I like the complexity of the characters and the behind all of this glamour there was a lot more to them…  

It's always important to get below the surface and figure out what's going on so.” – Alysha Perlman