It's a new year, and for many of us a resolution will be to take better care of ourselves. For some moms, this may mean seeking therapy as a means to a healthier 2020. Meredith Carlisle, a licensed Clinical Social Worker with over a decade of experience and a mom of two young boys, has just opened up her own practice in Manhattan to help support moms during difficult transitions in their lives. Through supporting your personal growth and self-awareness, Meredith can help empower you to take that next step. Let's learn more about her and her new practice in this month's interview!
SSP: Can you please tell our South Slope Pediatrics families about the range of services it is that you provide as a licensed clinical social worker?
My focus is women’s mental health across the life span, with a speciality in maternal mental health and the transition to motherhood. I work to support women during significant life changes, but especially women experiencing distress or symptoms of anxiety or depression during pregnancy and postpartum (aka postpartum depression). I provide individual and group therapy where I support women to increase concrete coping skills while also processing all the changes they’re facing.
SSP: We'd love to learn a little bit more about you, and how your experiences led you to this new exciting venture. How did you get here?
I’ve been a clinical social worker for a decade and have learned so much during that time! My background working with kids really taught me the importance of supporting the whole family and how taking care of kids actually means helping parents take care of themselves. I loved designing and running parent groups more than I expected and was surprised how it supported my work with my child clients. Once I became a mom and experienced first hand all the challenges moms face during this delicate time I felt even more committed to helping moms as a route to supporting the whole family. I feel so privileged to work with moms during this unique time in their lives.
SSP: What made you decide to open up your own practice?
Opening a practice is something I’ve always hoped to do since getting my masters in social work and I am so grateful for the opportunity to grow as a therapist and - now - as a business owner. I also work at an amazing organization called The Motherhood Center, where the work I do with moms is short term (6 weeks). My private practice work compliments that by providing the opportunity for me to support women and moms for a longer stretch of time.
SSP: If you had a mission statement, or a philosophy central to your practice, what would that be?
Central to my practice is a concept based in a model of therapy called dialectical behavioral therapy: the idea of integrating both acceptance and change into our daily lives. More broadly, it’s the idea of finding balance between (which doesn’t mean 50/50 most of the time) all the competing demands, feelings, and expectations of our busy lives.
SSP: Many of the maternal mental health services would be of particularly of interest to our families - challenges with pregnancy, postpartum and miscarriage. One challenge listed is rather universal to most moms - the loss of identity in motherhood. Can you tell us how you address that?
New motherhood is a time of enormous transformation in a woman’s identity, sense of self, and relationships. Often times women think this transition is supposed to be either natural or instantaneous, but the reality is that it's something that happens over a much longer period of time than expected. I work with women to grieve the tangible and intangible losses that come with new motherhood which makes space for the newness each of us face.
SSP: What are your ultimate goals when you are helping a client?
My goals are always what a client brings into therapy as their priority, but I also aim to help them feel comfortable and supported while arriving at more awareness and acceptance of themselves. Ideally, through our collaboration, my clients also feel more equipped to manage the difficulties and stresses of daily life and parenting in NYC.
SSP: When do you recommend someone to come speak to you, when is the right time?
Anytime is the right time. Starting therapy is a big step, and it can be daunting for women who already have a lot of demands on their time. However, if you’re finding that you haven’t been feeling like your usual self for more than a few weeks it might be time to speak with someone.
To learn more, you can contact Meredith at firstname.lastname@example.org.