Tell us a little about what makes you unique as a therapist and person?
I have always been an observer. As a child growing up in New York City, I developed an early love of “people-watching.” As a professional, I have devoted my life to listening and asking questions, first as a radio producer/interviewer, and now as a therapist. I enjoy learning what makes clients “tick” and I feel honored when others entrust their private lives to my care.
What is your role here at Council for Relationships?
I am a staff therapist. I treat individuals and couples struggling with a wide swath of issues. I also work with our Community Partnerships Initiative program, as a liaison between the students we train and the organizations we serve.
What would your clients say about you?
I don’t know. You’ll have to ask them! However, I would hope they would say that I am incisive and warm, and that I am effective at helping them confront life’s challenges with both depth and practicality.
Why are relationships important?
Relationships are important because they are “the stuff of life.” Scientists have found links between loneliness and illness. It is difficult to be happy and to feel secure when one’s relationships are in disarray!
What do you tell your clients who are struggling with depression or anxiety?
I offer no standard lines to people struggling with anxiety or depression. Instead, I sit with clients’ pain and listen to their struggles. Depression is an isolating illness, so my first priority when doing this work is to help clients feel less alone. While anxiety and depression can overlap, they can also be distinct. I think people with anxiety often underestimate their competence in the face of life’s demands. I use this belief as a starting point when working with anxiety, and I try to help clients bring more “objectivity” to their experience.
Is inner peace real?
Inner peace may be real, but I have not gotten there yet, and I am not evolved enough to tell others how to work towards it. I think most of us are plagued by what Buddhism calls “monkey mind”–the annoying chatter and buzz that seems to take up occupancy in our brains. I do believe, however, that we are capable of well-being. We can get there by effectively processing our emotions, learning to be honest and authentic with the people in our lives, and treating ourselves with greater compassion.
What is one piece of advice you would like to give people who may be struggling emotionally and would like to seek counseling but may not be ready?
Only you know when you’re ready to make the call (or send an email inquiry). So, you should never feel rushed or pressured to see a therapist. Therapy can be painful and difficult. However, it can also be surprisingly uplifting. People sometimes report feeling lighter after a session!
Tracey Tanenbaum., M.Ed, MFT
215-382-6680 ext. 7083