Risa Giordano LCSW, Creative Arts Therapy in New York City, New York, 10022

Risa Giordano


Risa Giordano


Not Accepting New Clients
Professions: Creative Arts Therapist, Marriage & Family Therapist, Psychotherapist
License Status: I'm a licensed professional.
Primary Credential: Clinical Social Work - R044522-1
Billing and Insurance:

I do not work with insurance companies

Fees: Each person has a plan designed for their needs which we discuss and set up together. The basic units of time are 60-180 minutes. Fees range from $250 -$900 depending on the services included and will be discussed and agreed upon based on our collaboration. A monthly fee is set up and services planned for 36 weeks per year.

For many, we would meet for three sessions, 60-180m each, per month. We can create an individually tailored sequence of sessions.

I offer more Intensive one on one sessions, for which the fees are based on length and configuration of time. These creative and flexible options help busy professionals find time to address their concerns while still maintaining other commitments. The deeper focus permitted by longer durations, in one or more sessions, allows for a more effective exploration of issues while providing a safe forum to release residual feelings that may be blocking progress with desired outcomes in your life.

If you desire or need more time, longer sessions and/or more frequency, we can discuss this and develop the number of sessions and duration of each that feels right for you. The fee is prorated based on:
$55-$60 for each additional 15 minutes

Intensive Specialized Experiential Sessions (SES) can be arranged Individually and for Couples. These can be 3 to 8 hours (they can be powerful & effective: individualized workshop formats developed to focus on any personal challenge including those that seem "stuck" or unyielding)
Weekend Availability


New York City, New York 10022

My Approach to Helping

My own personal experience with psychotherapy and the healing I was able to experience after many lonely, frustrating years of struggling with my problems on my own led me to believe deeply in the power of a therapeutic relationship as a tool for discovering both what needs to change and how to actually allow shifts to both inner awareness and external behaviors to occur. I enjoy being able to provide to other people the opportunity to experience the renewed sense of hope, higher self-worth and improved capabilities for self-care and personal happiness that I experienced as outcomes of effective therapeutic work.

Each person who comes to see me is offered the opportunity to talk about what brings them to therapy. Your style and preferences in how you want to approach resolving your problems deserve respect and careful attention. I want to get to know you and work with you to determine what types of approaches would work best for you to be able to work on the parts of yourself that are stopping you from experiencing satisfaction and enjoyment in your life.

I work with people individually, in couples, with some or all members of a family and I lead a workshop 4 times a year on a Saturday. I provide intensive workshop experiential sessions for individuals and couples to be able to focus deeply on an area that has been difficult to work through. The longer duration of these sessions and the unique blend of creative arts therapeutic processes enables the participants to encounter and work through many areas that had been difficult to access and resolve in the past. People can participate in whichever of these styles of therapy feels most suited to their needs.

I welcome your questions and hope if you find something in this profile that touches you that you will contact me.

More Info About My Practice

People who have chosen to do their therapy with me have noticed over time they are feeling more at peace with themselves because they are enjoying improved personal and professional relationships, better parenting skills, reductions in self harmful behaviors, increases in satisfaction with work and play and expanded abilities to be creative and proactive in their lives. These experiences have enabled them to start, improve or end relationships, effectively handle life transitions including losses, change jobs, go back to school, get promotions, raises, obtain more challenging and interesting positions at work and start/improve their own businesses.

I am happy to talk with you about any questions or concerns you might have so you can see if working with me is something that feels right for you.

Specific Issue(s) I'm Skilled at Helping With

I work to help people heal from the inhibiting effects of being exposed to, as well as people who have grown up, in a family where personality conflicts, compulsive, addictive and behavioral dysfunction are present are affected in their: self relationship (own addictions, depression, anxiety, insecurity, low self worth/esteem); relationships with others, ability to identify and succeed in careers/jobs and often have trouble with many basic skills of daily living. These problems are entrenched and require someone with special education and skills to help identify the sources of pain and blocked ability to change things; also to assist with the process of restoring healthier ways of living. Examples of family dysfunction are when: someone drinks to excess, uses illegal drugs or over the counter drugs to excess to self medicate, eating issues (over/under/starving), where there is squelching of self expression, infidelity, money issues (over/underspending, debting,gambling.

How Psychotherapy Can Help

Often in life, friends and family don't listen or can't listen on all the levels you are speaking on. They may have short attention spans, or just not be able to "get" where you are coming from. A well trained psychotherapist learns to hear what you are saying verbally, sense what you may not be able to express overtly and integrate this with relational/experiential aspects of what you are demonstrating in your behavior and interactions in the therapy relationship. In addition, a seasoned therapist learns how to be with you without reacting and can use many aspects of themselves professionally to help you come to know parts of you that may be interfering with your happiness and satifaction with your life. Therapy doesn't seek to make your life or you perfect, but rather to empower you to manage and intervene successfully in whatever life sends your way. People who can do this experience a better connection with themselves and more enjoyable experiences with other people and situations they participate in.

My View on the Purpose of Psychotherapy

Therapy is to restore your ability to have a warm and enjoyable relationship within yourself and between you and other people. With these things in place, attaining other goals becomes possible and easier. The therapeutic relationship emerges over time and is a core component of learning to recognize areas of self that may be blocking your ability to respond in ways that help you be effective and feel a sense of unity and integration within yourself. It is a unique relationship and a safe emotional place to explore your own needs, experiences and goals.

What I Love about Being a Psychotherapist

I work with many people long term to help them restore areas of their lives that experiences from many sources may be preventing them from being able to express themselves and care for their needs in effective ways. I work from a perspective that basking in blame is not motivating. I encourage exploration of your experiences with family, school, neighborhoods, or other circumstances ranging throughout history and into the here and now. We have a chance to collaborate and find the areas preventing you from finding and utilizing effectively your personality and talents. The therapeutic relationship is a special and unique place to help you uncover and release your personal qualities so you can find what matters most to you, express yourself effectively and enjoy your life more. Being both a witness and a guide for fostering the emergence of the best you is one of the deepest joys of my professional role.

My Role as a Therapist

I provide a safe, confidential and compassionate enviornment. I work with each person in a unique manner helping them uncover their personal approach to healing. I do many things in my role: listen, share feedback, offer activities to help people work on their concerns. I utilize many schools of therapy which I blend in a unique for each person as our work unfolds. I continually study internally and externally new ways to help. Many creative processes are utilized and each is done sensitively with attunement to your style and preferences.

My Therapy Focus

I focus on helping each person who works with me to uncover their true nature and be freed up to act effectively on their own behalf in all areas of their lives. i work with behavior, thoughts and language helping people recognize how their present style works for/against them. I offer many experiential opportunities to learn and practice different styles both for self relating and in relation to others. Experiential work provides a here and now experience that has the power to help you engage with who you really are and integrate parts of you that may have been underdeveloped or unappreciated in prior experiences.

What I Usually Need to Know to Help

I often say that no matter what you talk about we will be able to find the places where you are feeling stuck. I guide you to share about what I think will be helpful based on what you start talking about. In general, helping you to share as honestly and fully as you can your experience of yourself, your historical and present experiences.

My Guiding Ethical Principles

Everything I do in my role is done with courtesy, consideration, sensitivity and respect for the individuality of each person I work with. As our work unfolds, therapy can feel like a friendship at times because of the support and warmth in the relationship. To keep our relationship professional and focused as psychotherapy, I am very clear about structures that are known as therapeutic boundaries. Some of these are starting, ending on time, maintaining a therapeutic stance in sessions and keeping the work focused in the sessions. I utilize what I call "The Administrative Moment, at the beginning of sessions to keep logistical aspects such as fees, scheduling and other aspects clear. This is done at the beginning so once we get underway in the session you wouldn't have to regroup and try to talk about these things after doing emotional work. The boundaries are not meant to take away from the experience, but rather support the safety and effectiveness of the work we can do together.

On the Fence About Going to Therapy?

Therapy is more scary when you think about it without having tried it. If you find the right person (someone you can open up to and experience change with) you can talk about your ambivalence and will most likely find it fades as you discover options for living that on your own didn't seem possible. Reminding yourself that going doesn't have to be forever, you are not trapped. You can try it and leave if it doesn't seem right for you. Each person who works with me sets their own timetable for starting and ending their therapy.

Had a Negative Therapy Experience?

It is important to talk about your past therapy experiences with me so you can both learn about what didn't work for you there and not repeat it here. I want to provide a positive experience for you. I understand that a prior negative therapy experience is especially painful because you went seeking help and ended up with more pain. Often this prevents or delays a return to therapy. I can help you work through whatever happened utilizing talking and other creative arts or experiential approaches to deepen your release of the past hurt or disappointment. Sometimes the wrong fit between you and a past therapist can contribute to a negative experience. Choosing someone with whom you feel compatible and who has the training and experience you need will increase your chances of a positive experience.

Important Factors for Choosing a Therapist

I recommend that the therapist you choose have training and experience in the problems you want to work on. It's important that you feel comfortable in their office with them and can talk about your concerns. The relationship between you and your therapist is the main way you will experience your ability to heal and grow, so feeling comfortable, understood and safe is very important. There will be times you will experience difficult feelings in therapy so it is important to have a good alliance between you and your therapist to help sustain you during these difficult passageways. In my years of working as a Psychotherapist, I have found this type of experience at times is necessary for overall true healing to take place. The therapeutic relationship is a place to "re-enact" safely relationship challenges and the outcomes can be more positive as we study what happens without judging the experience or each other. Doing this together can be very enlightening and powerful. Often these moments can be incredible links to transformation, often appearing just before you are about to release old parts of self and be able to move forward more effectively in pursuit of your goals.

How My Own Struggles Made Me a Better Therapist

In addition to my professional training, I have often said I have a degree from "the school of hard knocks, majoring in life struggles". I have worked through a lot of personal issues spanning numerous areas in my life. My personal struggles and my experiences with therapy and how it has helped me to heal have really expanded my ability to be sensistive and more intuitive about how I choose to conduct therapy. Having occupied the role of "patient" in many different roles: individually, group member of many groups, family therapy, and many different types of workshops I bring to this process a unique sensitivity because I have experienced so many facets of therapeutic processes. My deep and enduring commitment to my healing and the successful outcomes I have enjoyed are often freely shared in ways that can help give hope to your process.

Theoretical Influences that Guide My Work

Each person is different so I have exposed myself to many different schools of therapy. I utilize Psychodrama, Gestalt, Experiential, Addictions (12 step and non 12 step alternatives), non diet, non deprivational eating approaches, family and couples' work, cognitive, behavioral, Transactional Anaysis, psychoanalytic/psychodynamic and various creative arts. Most important of all, I have been described by many close to me "as a rugged individualist" and I believe in each person having their own process that is custom designed for their style, needs and preferences.

What I Say to People Concerned about the Therapy Process

Clients who have worked with me have been surprised when they risk sharing anger or other frightening feelings honestly with me at the relief they feel. It is usually scary at first to risk that level of honesty, but once you do you probably will be amazed at how relieved you feel. This type of experiencing in my office opens the door for you to be able to do that more outside my office. I have many experiential approaches to helping people recognize, address, cope with and release intense feelings.

Why Going to Therapy Does Not Mean You are Weak or Flawed

I think people judge and criticize things that threaten them. It is easier to say therapy is for crazy or flawed people than it is to face the need for help and do something about it. I think the people who go to therapy are often the more courageous and healthier people in our society! Being open to all parts of self allows a person to be real and to be approachable.

Importance of the Client-Therapist Alliance

It has been my experience that most people have difficulty knowing all aspects of a problem they are facing. One of the most powerful tools therapy offers is the recognition and therapeutic use of "enactments". I treat these as a form of unconscious communication from my clients and I seek to help educate their awareness of both the presence of an enactment and what it may mean to them. An enactment is where the feelings and styles of an original (source figure)relationship take place between you and me. These happen offer in life, usually people untrained in them just react and conflicts escalate. Discovering the specific ways you may re-enact old relationship patterns is very empowering so you can make different choices and have more satisfaction in your relationships.

My View on the Nature of 'Disorders'

It is different for each person. My job to help each person discover their sources of pain. Often family backgrounds are major contributors. Sometimes events later in life can trigger a need for help. There is no one explanation and no one single simple cause. Problems are often sourced in complex origins and having a process and a relationship that allows for safety, privacy and time to explore these offers a special opportunity for shifting things that have not seemed to be movable previously.

The Duration and Frequency of Therapy

I work in partnership with my clients about the length and frequency of their sessions. I will see people for 60 minutes or longer in the sessions we do together. Over my years of practice, I have found longer sessions utilizing experiential and creative arts therapies are more effective in both identifying areas of concern and moving stuck places into pro-active personal growth. I will recommend different frequencies for various reasons. I offer a longer session three weeks of each month. This allows people to keep their financial investment to a manageabke level while receivong a time frame that is more effective at allowing for deeper warmup to reveal issues and discover ways to alleviate problems. Peoples can customize sessions to personal needs. Those that need contact on other weeks can arrange for that with me. I offer phone sessions also. We can discuss your needs and preferences together. Financial considerations are taken into account when deciding on frequency too. I give people what they need and charge what they can afford.

What Makes up a Problem?

Everything someone has inherited biologically and experienced personally contributes to each person being unique. We explore these in therapy together. I think of my office as a place to discover and explore in your own way whatever seems important for you to address to resolve the things that have caused you pain.

Services I Provide

  • Creative Arts Therapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Individual Therapy & Counseling
  • Marriage, Couples, or Relationship Counseling
  • Online Counseling / Phone Therapy

Ages I Work With

  • Adults


  • English

Groups I Work With

    Adult children of alcoholic/dysfunctional families seeking to resolve "inner child"/family of origin issues,codependency,people in recovery from addictions/compulsions (whether 12 step oriented or not), problems with eating patterns, non-diet/non-deprivation approach,12 step recovery concepts, unmarried, married, and divorced couples, and can work with some or all of family members in sessions together

Client Concerns I Treat

  • Abandonment
  • Abortion / Post Abortion Issues
  • Adjusting to Change / Life Transitions
  • Blended Family Issues
  • Caregiver Issues / Stress
  • Codependency / Dependency
  • Communication Problems
  • Creative Blocks
  • Divorce / Divorce Adjustment
  • Emotional Overwhelm
  • Emptiness
  • Family of Origin Issues
  • Family Problems
  • Fear
  • Grief, Loss, and Bereavement
  • Habits
  • Inadequacy
  • Individuation
  • Infidelity / Affair Recovery
  • Irritability
  • Isolation
  • Life Purpose / Meaning / Inner-Guidance
  • Midlife Crisis / Midlife Transition
  • Pre-Marital Counseling
  • Relationships and Marriage
  • Self-Care
  • Self-Criticism
  • Self-Doubt
  • Self-Esteem
  • Sensitivity to Criticism
  • Shame
  • Stress
  • Trust Issues
  • Values Clarification
  • Workplace Issues
  • Worry
  • Worthlessness

Types of Therapy

  • Art Therapy
  • Creative Art Therapy
  • Family Systems Therapy
  • Gestalt Therapy
  • Integration of different therapy models
  • Music Therapy
  • Psychoanalysis / Modern Psychoanalysis
  • Psychodrama
  • Psychodynamic
  • Transactional Analysis

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