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About Me

I didn’t always see myself in the role of a therapist. I was initially introduced to therapy in college when a professor could see I was having difficulties with balancing my life and suggested that I might benefit from talking to someone. I was fortunate enough to find a warm, caring therapist who provided a non-judgmental space where I could share the things I didn’t necessarily feel comfortable talking about with other people. It was a very positive experience for me and I appreciated the opportunity to have a space where I could process my thoughts and feelings in a healthy manner with someone who had an outside perspective on my situations.

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I had never considered a career in the mental health field and in college chose to focus on pursuing a degree in fine arts. I completed a BFA in Graphic Design from Ohio University and several years later completed an MFA in Visual Communications at Virginia Commonwealth University. For 15 years I worked as a graphic designer in a variety of industries in LA, Chicago, and New York. I also taught graphic design courses at Virginia Commonwealth University, Pratt Institute, and the Fashion Institute of Technology.

 

Although I was very invested in my design career, and my work in academia, I always felt something was missing in my professional life. And so after many years in the design field, and with the support and encouragement of my therapist at the time, I decided it was time to explore a new professional direction, and I applied to the Master of Social Work program at the NYU Silver School of Social Work. During my first semester, I participated in a field placement that allowed me to see how working in the therapeutic field could be a new career direction and I felt an almost immediate shift in my professional aspirations. 

 

My experience in the mental health field has been diverse, and I have worked in a variety of environments with a vast range of individuals presenting with unique issues. After ten years of working in primarily community clinic environments in Philadelphia, PA and the Greater New York City area, in 2021 I transitioned to my own practice on a full time basis. My practice currently consists of a diverse group of individuals ranging from adolescents to seniors of different ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, and sexual and gender orientations. Given my personal and professional experience, I often work with individuals in the creative industries, career changers, or individuals looking to address their life direction. In addition, I also work with a large clientele of LGBTQAI+ individuals and people who participate in alternative sexuality (i.e., poly, kink, etc.), and I am very supportive of these communities. I believe in accepting everyone for who they are, where they are, and who they might want to become, and I look forward to the opportunity for both of us to learn together.

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INDIVIDUAL PSYCHOTHERAPY SERVICES

As a New York State-Licensed Clinical Social Worker I can only see clients who currently reside within New York State. I am offering in-person appointments in my office in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn, and for those not located within the area, or for those who prefer remote video sessions, I am also currently offering virtual sessions.

 

My primary modality of treatment is psychodynamic psychotherapy, or traditional “talk therapy,” utilizing a relational perspective. More information about my therapeutic process can be found in the FAQ section. I only work with individuals in treatment; however, I am happy to provide referrals to therapists for other services such as couples, family therapy, or group therapy should they be better suited for your treatment goals.

 

Individual therapy starts at $175 per session, and I offer a sliding scale for self-pay clients. I am currently in-network with the following insurance plans: Aetna, Optum (United Healthcare, Oscar) and Cigna (Wellfleet, MVP). I sometimes cap the number of insurance clients I accept, so although I may be in-network for the aforementioned insurance plans, I may only periodically accept new insurance clients. 

 

For all self-pay clients, I will provide a Superbill for taxes and reimbursement purposes. If you plan on submitting claims to your insurance company for reimbursement it will be important to understand the terms for out-of-network mental health coverage. This information can best be accessed by contacting your Member Services for your specific plan.

 

It is also important to note that although I am an approved Medicare and Medicaid Provider, I do not accept these plans in my practice, but I can offer referrals to providers who may currently be accepting new clients.

 

Please note that I only provide weekly therapy sessions, ranging from 40 to 55 minutes. I do not offer bi-weekly or less frequent sessions unless someone has seen me for an amount of time, or if there is a conflict in scheduling availability and I am unable to provide consistent weekly sessions. If, after a consultation call, we decide to work together, I will provide further documentation on policies, billing, and other terms of service.

SUPERVISION CONSULTATION FOR LMSW/LCSW

As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of New York, I also offer supervision services to those seeking licensing hours. I completed SIFI Training at Hunter College and have experience in providing clinical supervision to other clinicians. I believe that supervision should be affordable and understand the process of licensing so I offer supervision at $75 per 45-minute consultation session, but this fee can also be negotiable.

 

I am also periodically involved in a group supervision with fellow practitioners that I coordinate and anyone participating in individual supervision is welcome to join this group.

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TREATMENT EXPERIENCE

• ADHD

• Anxiety

• Body image

• Chronic illness

• Compulsive disorders

• Depression

• Disordered eating

• Gender issues/questioning

• Grief and loss
• LGBTQIA+
• Male issues

• Poly, kink, alt sex

• PTSD

• Relationship issues
• Sexual issues​

Please note that based on the prevalence and significance of these issues I may offer referrals if I feel specialized treatment may be more effective to a client, or if different types of treatment may be useful in addition to our sessions.

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LICENSURE

• New York State Licensed Clinical Social Worker (087342)

EDUCATION

• New York University: Master of Social Work (2012)

• Virginia Commonwealth University: Master of Fine Arts/Graduate Fellowship (2005)

• Ohio University: Bachelor of Fine Arts (1999)

CLINICAL EXPERIENCE

• Private Practice: Michael A. Gray LCSW LLC: Brooklyn, New York | Psychotherapist (2019-Current)

• Brooklyn Center for Psychotherapy: Brooklyn, New York | Psychotherapist (2018-21)
• Union Settlement: New York, New York | Psychotherapist (2016-18)

• The Wedge Recovery Centers: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | Mental Health Therapist (2015-16)
• PATH: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | Child & Youth Services Mental Health and Drug & Alcohol Therapist (2014-15)
• Washington Square Institute: New York, New York | Clinical Intern and Clinician (2011-14)
• Gay Men of African Descent: Brooklyn, New York | Clinical Intern (2010-11)

MEMBERSHIPS

• AASECT: American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (2023)
  *AASECT Member c
urrently pursuing requirements for Sex Therapist Certification

CERTIFICATIONS

• Seminars in Field Instruction (SIFI) (2017)

• Pennsylvania State Drug & Alcohol Services Provider (2014)

SPECIALIZED MENTAL HEALTH TRAINING

• Child-Parent Psychotherapy

• Complicated Grief

• Dialectical Behavior Therapy

• Harm Reduction and Motivational Interviewing

• International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals Symposium

• Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs certification

• Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

• Trauma-informed treatment: The Body Keeps the Score with Bessel van der Kolk, MD

• 60+ training hours in providing sex therapy treatment

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The following are some questions I periodically am asked by clients and potential clients:

I’ve never been in therapy, so what can I expect, and how can I know if I’m doing it right?

As a provider, I believe in empowering you as a client. Therefore, sessions are self-directed, meaning you lead the direction of sessions. While I can guide discussions, I want to ensure that you know you’re in control of your sessions. Therapy isn't always quantifiable; it's about how you feel and what you gain. There is no such thing as doing therapy “right,” although as clients we might question this frequently. I always encourage individuals to give it time to see where treatment leads and to determine if our relationship is a good fit for your needs, since these are things that are difficult to assess immediately.

It's normal to feel challenged emotionally, but communicate any concerns with your therapist for your well-being. Our goal is to reduce issues and help you understand yourself better for a fulfilling life.

What type of therapy might be best for me?

There are numerous different types of therapy, but I recommend individuals consider their therapy goals and what they want to gain from treatment. I find this resource to be a good explanation of the different types of treatment you might consider.

 

I practice psychodynamic psychotherapy, often referred to as “talk therapy,” utilizing a relational approach to my work with clients. My sessions tend to be relatively informal and conversational since this is how I feel most comfortable in the room. This might be altered though, depending on the issue someone is addressing. Sometimes I might also encourage a supplement to individual therapy, such as a group or skills-building program, to address issues that I may not specialize in. During a consultation call I can better determine if I feel my modality of treatment is appropriate for your goals.

Are there any things you, as a therapist, feel uncomfortable discussing?

For the most part I feel most issues are not off limits with treatment. With my background in community mental health, and working with a diverse clientele, I feel well-versed in most things people would like to address in treatment. If I do not feel comfortable with a specific issue that is important to you I would likely recommend other types of treatment I feel might be more appropriate.

Also, it’s important to note that should you feel uncomfortable with sharing specific information at any time just let me know so those are topics I might not return to in sessions in the future or until you’re ready to share them with me. 

Does therapy ever end?

That is totally up to you. My belief is that therapy is open-ended, and I feel comfortable meeting with clients as long as they find it beneficial to them. Some people choose to “graduate” from therapy after they’ve accomplished their goals, if they feel they have resolved some issues that prompted treatment, and/or if they have determined that they have improved insight into other ways to manage any issues that surface. Sometimes people will also take a break and return to treatment when they feel they have something else they would like to address, or if they would just like to have a place to process and explore their thoughts. I'm always receptive to someone resuming sessions as long as we both feel treatment was effective and the appropriate match for you.

 

I feel one of the most ineffective things in treatment is to maintain involvement in sessions because you feel guilty for leaving the therapist or disappointing them. This likely reflects other behaviors and would be valuable to discuss with your therapist. Likewise, if you feel your therapist is not the right fit, that’s okay too. This is another conversation that is best to have with your therapist instead of avoiding the situation or disappearing from treatment and being unresponsive to outreach. 

Do you prescribe medication?

While most therapists, LCSWs (like myself), LMHCs, and other mental health professionals are State-Licensed providers, we are not doctors unless we have a terminal degree, such as a PhD, or an accompanying medical license. Since I am not a medical provider, I am not licensed to provide medical services, including psychotropic medication, but I am happy to make referrals to other providers.​ If you are specifically seeking medication services without therapy I would recommend searching for New-York State Licensed Psychiatrists or Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners.

Would you see two people who know each other? 

Generally, I would not see two people who know each other. This would include two members of a family, individuals in a relationship, friends, roommates, coworkers, or other close acquaintances. My decision not to provide treatment to people who know each other is because it could become a conflict of interest and an ethical issue

 

Occasionally, after starting sessions with someone, I might find out that they are speaking about someone I may know (personally or professionally) and in this case I would likely terminate sessions. I try to be aware of potential conflicts during my consultation call or an intake session, but unfortunately this happens sometimes. If this were to happen I would discuss this issue with a client without sharing any identifying information and recommend some referrals of other providers. If you are referred to me by someone please let me know when you initially contact me so we can discuss whether sessions might be a conflict of interest.

Why is therapy so expensive?

As an individual in private practice we have many professional expenses we have to consider, not limited to professional services, continuing education requirements, technology fees, professional supervision, and even our own therapy services. 

 

I provide ​​services to self-pay individuals and I accept a small number of insurance plans. I try to balance the amount of people I see on insurance plans because there can be challenges with being an insurance provider. As a contractor of the insurance company, sessions are paid at a pre-determined rate that is non-negotiable, and therapists can be audited by the insurance company which requires submitting individual documentation to a review committee to assess need of services. If you are an insurance-based client seeing me please know that your confidentiality is of utmost importance and I personally review any information with you prior to disclosing it during an insurance audit.

I believe that all therapists would like to provide services in an extremely affordable manner, and I personally accept a number of clients in my practice who I see at no charge or on a sliding scale based on financial need.

How do therapists cope with hearing about everyone’s problems, and especially listening to really bad things? 

Therapists do hear a lot of heavy things and often we hold a lot of intense emotions for clients, but our job is to be able to handle and manage these feelings and anything that surfaces for the clients and for ourselves. Through our education and our extensive work with clients and supervisors, therapists learn how to manage any situations that arise in therapy that we might find challenging.

I consult with a trained supervisor who helps me better manage any issues that I might experience with a client (counter-transference) and who helps me by providing guidance towards treatment approaches and an outside perspective on my work with a client. I am fortunate to be part of a supervision group with colleagues where I can process my work with clients and gain additional insight and support if needed. I also am involved in my own personal therapy, which is another environment to process my feelings. My goal is always to process my feelings and anything in my personal life outside of sessions to avoid impacting my work with a client or having this content enter our sessions. 

If you have any further questions don’t hesitate to send me a message or ask me during an initial call or in future sessions should we decide to continue working with each other.

SEND A NOTE:

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For therapy services:

If you do not receive a response within 48 hours please send another message, email, or text.

In general I am more responsive to text and email. Thank you.

141 South Fifth Street

Office West Suite 1 (Basement)

Brooklyn, New York 11221

Tuesday-Saturday, by appointment only

929-359-3914

michaelgraylcsw@gmail.com

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