|MEET ABCT'S FEATURED THERAPIST|
Featured Therapist Interview
Kiki Fehling is a licensed psychologist at NYCBT, a group practice in Manhattan that provides Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). She received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Rutgers University and completed her clinical internship at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx.
Kiki has extensive training in DBT, CBT, and several evidence-based treatments for PTSD, including Cognitive Processing Therapy, Prolonged Exposure, and Written Exposure Therapy. She provides group and individual therapy to adults struggling with depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, PTSD, and other mental health issues. She has particular expertise working with people recovering from significant traumas, as well as people who engage in self-harm. Kiki also specializes in working with members of the LGBTQ+ community, and she coordinates the LGBTQ-affirmative DBT program at NYCBT.
Since her undergraduate years at Yale University, Kiki has performed research on LGBTQ mental health, emotion, and suicide and self-injury. Her doctoral dissertation explored the role of minority stress in nonsuicidal self-injury in LGBQ-identified adults. For her research, she has received several awards, including the Malyon-Smith Scholarship (the Society for the Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, the American Psychological Association), the Diversity Grant of the Psychological Science Research Grant (APAGS), and the Solomon Research Fellowship in LGBT Studies (Yale University).
Originally from Pennsylvania, Kiki loves living in Brooklyn, New York. When she isn't being a therapist, she likes to travel, go birding, practice yoga and meditation, and explore new restaurants around the city. You can find her on twitter @DrKikiF.
What are your personal strengths as a practitioner?
I feel very fortunate to have received excellent clinical training. I have strong knowledge in various emotional and behavioral skills that I can teach clients in order to help them understand themselves better, decrease negative thinking, and take specific action steps towards their goals. I believe one of my biggest strengths as a clinician, however, is genuineness. I view therapy as an entirely collaborative process, where my strengths and expertise combine with the strengths and expertise of the client. I try my best to balance nonjudgmental warmth and cultural sensitivity with challenge and structure, with my primary focus being to help the client build their "life worth living" (as we say in DBT).
Who was your mentor?
There are numerous people who I have been lucky to call mentor over the years, but two in particular stand out: Drs. Eddie Selby and Shireen Rizvi.
Eddie (www.edwardaselby.com) was my primary research mentor during my doctoral education at Rutgers. He nurtured my abilities as a clinical scientist and supported me in pursuing my own interests in LGBTQ+ mental health.
Shireen (www.gsapp.rutgers.edu/centers-clinical-services/DBT) was my primary clinical supervisor while I worked at the Rutgers DBT clinic for several years. She provided me the opportunity to be intensively trained and supervised in DBT, and she and Carrie Diamond (www.metronydbt.com/staff-at-metro-ny-dbt-center/carrie-diamond/) were instrumental in making me the clinician I am today.
I also want to thank my post-doc mentors (and now-colleagues) at NYCBT: Drs. Elliot Weiner, Jason Weingarten, and Steve Weissman. They helped me develop my identity as an independent practitioner, and they are some of the best teammates a clinician could ask for.
What do you think is the single most important thing CBT can do for your clients?
CBT/DBT provides my clients the power to use emotions for what they are evolutionarily "designed" for: to help us. By allowing them to better understand their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors, therapy strengthens clients' ability to cope with life's stressors and to work towards their goals. It also can increase self-compassion, which leads to greater freedom from emotional suffering.
How long have you been a member of ABCT?
I joined ABCT in 2012 during my post-bacc time as a research assistant at the Depression Clinical and Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital.
How has ABCT helped you professionally?
ABCT has very much become my "professional home." The annual conferences allow me the chance to learn and talk about the latest CBT-related research, discover new clinical techniques or considerations, and re-connect with the many psychologists who have become my friends and consultants over the years. I'm honored to be included as one of ABCT's featured therapists!
Thank you very much for taking the time to answer our questions!