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Featured Therapist Interview
Noah Clyman is the founder and director of the group practice, “NYC Cognitive Therapy,” established in 2012, and located in Herald Square Manhattan. It is the first CBT center that places particular emphasis on diversity. His practice emphasizes serving people who experience stigma, such as people living with HIV, clients with BFRBs (e.g., hair-pulling), and providing home visits for clients with hoarding disorder. To see more about the practice, click www.nyccognitivetherapy.com. Personally, Noah is a gay male and a clinical social worker, which is less common as compared to PhDs and PsyDs in the field of CBT.
After completing his MSW at New York University, Noah studied at the Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy and became certified by the Beck Institute as well as the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. He manages a team of 6 clinicians and teaches CBT conceptualization and technique. Noah’s mission is to provide the highest quality CBT available to the public. The Center offers individual, couples, and group therapy for adolescents and adults.
In his private practice, Noah works with adults in individual and couples therapy. His practice includes clients who are dealing with anxiety and depression, addictive disorders, relationship and communication problems, and life transitions. Before starting NYC Cognitive Therapy, Noah provided psychotherapy in a broad range of settings, including a psychotherapy training institute, a community mental health clinic serving clients living with HIV/AIDS, a psychiatric emergency room, and a mobile crisis team.
Along with providing psychotherapy, Noah enjoys teaching clinicians CBT and providing supervision towards CBT certification. Noah provides individual supervision for therapists and teaches workshops all over the country. He is the first clinical social worker in the state of New York to become an Academy-certified Trainer Consultant and serves on Academy’s Credentialing Committee, where he evaluates work samples of therapists applying for certification in CBT.
Areas of Specialization:
- Chronic depression
- Gottman Method Couples Therapy
- Worry, phobias, panic attacks, PTSD
- Obsessive Compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Hoarding • Insomnia
First, we would like to know a little about your practice.
What are your personal strengths as a practitioner?
My therapeutic approach is active and practical, and I like to work collaboratively with clients. I provide support and practical feedback to help clients resolve current problems and long-standing patterns. With sensitivity and compassion, I work with each client to help him/her build on strengths to identify and achieve life goals. Also, as a teacher/workshop leader, I serve as a mentor for therapists new to CBT who want to hone their skills.
What “tips” can you offer to colleagues just opening a practice?
Get connected to disciplinary organizations that match your professional interests. As a CBT therapist, I chose ABCT and the Academy of CT, among others. But joining the organization is not enough! It’s so valuable to participate actively in list serve discussions. Ask questions about cases. Share advice and feedback with your colleagues.
This sort of active engagement is essential and provides benefits: sense of ‘community’ as solo practice can be isolating; peer supervision and opportunity for ongoing learning; and new friends, networking, and development of referring relationships.
How do you remind your patients of their strengths during the therapy process?
There are a number of things I do to remind patients of their strengths:
- From the very first session, I ask clients to name their strengths, positive qualities, and attributes. If they have difficulty, I ask them what a friend would say about them.
- I teach clients to give themselves credit. Depressed clients, for example, usually feel helpless, self-critical, and out of control. Monitoring their accomplishments, no matter how small, opens their eyes to positive data, and their negative beliefs might start to diminish. To begin giving themselves credit, I would tell the patient, “What I’d like you to do is keep track of everything you do that’s even a little bit difficult, but you do it anyway. The best would be if you could keep a written list throughout the day.” And, like all action-plan assignments, we would start the credit list in the session itself.
- I always use good counseling skills, such as being warm, friendly, and interested. In turn, clients usually feel more likable, less alone, and more optimistic that treatment will help
Are you involved in other types of professional activities in addition to your private practice?
Yes, in addition to providing psychotherapy in my private practice, I also teach workshops for therapists of all skill levels, provide supervision and consultation in CBT, and use CBT tools on myself.
We would also like to know a little about you personally.
Who was your mentor?
Daniel Beck, LICSW, and Judith Beck PhD
When not practicing CBT, what do you do for fun?
Some of my favorite pastimes outside of practicing CBT are playing with my long-haired chihuahua, shopping for antiques, and listening to the beautiful music of Celine Dion.
We are also interested in some of your views of CBT.
What do you think is the single most important thing CBT can do for your clients?
I think the most important thing CBT can do for our clients is a multifaceted and interwoven set of principles: (a) reduce suffering as soon as possible, (b) instill hope, (c) help clients reach their goals, (d) increase positive affect (in and between sessions), and (e) teach clients skills (particularly in changing their thinking and behavior) to become their own therapists (through action plans) and learn skills they will use for the rest of their lives.
Where do you see the field of the behavioral therapies going over the next 3-5 years?
Right now, there are many schools of psychotherapy. I see in the future that there will be one overriding theory, just as in medicine, we have one theory and then there are a lot of methods for treating the various disorders. I personally think the overriding theory will have a basic cognitive model – because there is so much research that has already been done to support it. But I think it will get expanded over time as we get more information from the various other disciplines. So we will have a basic psychotherapy, we will then have a series of strategies (like a toolbox), and the strategies will be selected based on the formulation.
Also, there has already been a shift in the field of behavioral therapies to place greater emphasis on the client’s strengths, core values, and aspiration and I think this will only continue. So I expect that the emphasis on treatment will shift somewhat away from reducing symptoms (e.g., negative affect) to increasing positive affect, and helping clients take steps every week that provide connection, empowerment, meaning and purpose. Finally, behavioral methods will continue to explore and emphasize positive behaviors such as teaching clients about gratitude, self-care, and providing acts of kindness.
How do you use the local or social media to educate your community on the benefits of CBT?
I am frequently interviewed by journalists geared for consumers on overcoming or coping with different problems, such as insomnia relationship problems, and anxiety. Here is a webpage with articles in which I am quoted as an expert: https:// www.nyccognitivetherapy.com/media.html
I am also active on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nyccognitive-therapy-2b4ab51a/
Finally, we would like to know your opinions about ABCT.
How long have you been a member of ABCT?
How has ABCT helped you professionally?
CBT really requires a lifetime of learning, especially as research informs our practice. ABCT has provided a path to stay up to date, informed, and connected. I think I am a much better therapist than I was even a few years ago, and I hope to be better a few years from now.
What services do you consider the most valuable from ABCT?
For me, the most valuable services from ABCT are the annual conference, the forum, and the “find a therapist tab” on the ABCT website.
What service(s) are missing from ABCT in your role as a practitioner?
I believe that the best way to develop expertise in CBT is through supervision and consultation. I recommend that ABCT provides a list of therapists who are certified in CBT to provide training/supervision. For example, the Academy of Cognitive and Behavior Therapies (ACBT) provides a certification in supervision-of-supervision and has a list of certified trainer/consultants. I am also one of them. A list of certified trainers in CBT can be found here: https://www.academyofct.org/page/Consultation