From left, Michele Burrell, Jeff Robinson and Nadine Mass
The recent London bombings reminded many New Yorkers of times of not feeling safe in their own city. "Patients are still talking about [9/11], especially in light of the London attacks," says Jeff Robinson, a therapist in the Lower Manhattan psychotherapy practice of Robinson, Mass, and Burrell PC. "They feel that they can't go through their day without having those memories, whether it's the smell or the visual horror that they saw."
As a by-product of the London attacks, Robinson, Mass, and Burrell will offer workshops in August that address trying to feel safe internally. "Yes, we are living in difficult situations, but we need to keep moving forward," Robinson says.
Robinson and his colleagues, Nadine Mass and Michele Burrell, have a history of helping New Yorkers cope with the horrific events of September 11. Following the attack, they participated as providers for Project Liberty, a program sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Center for Mental Health Services that offered free crisis counseling to disaster survivors to help them grapple with the tragedy and alleviate the psychological distress that many New Yorkers experienced at that time. To date, more than one million New Yorkers have benefited from the program and more than 100 mental health providers, as well as many other community service organizations, have participated.
"One of the reasons why we incorporated here is that after 9/11, as colleagues fled to midtown, we felt so invested in Lower Manhattan that we decided to stay," Robinson says. In August of 2003, Robinson, Mass, and Burrell opened up their practice on John Street to offer counseling to individuals, couples, families, and groups. They treat both adults and children and offer their own personalized approach to therapy.
Robinson, who has post-graduate training in working with groups, likes to use guided imagery and self-mediation in his work with patients. But he recommends that those seeking counseling begin with individual therapy sessions before moving on to group work. "Once you've established that feeling of safety with your therapist, you can go into the group setting and almost face the world," he says. "The group experience brings up so many different emotions that you need to be ready to get in that setting." Robinson also encourages his clients to keep journals. "We have so much stuff in our heads at any given moment, and journaling can assist us in determining what is the reality and what is faulty learned behavior," he says.
Robinson's colleague Burrell has 10 years experience providing individual counseling for children, adolescents, and adults. While seeking therapy may be a difficult step for many people to take, Burrell advises that it will help with problems in relationships, feelings of anxiety, ongoing sadness, or anger. "Therapy is one way we can begin to gain control over these feelings or problems," she says. "The psychotherapy relationship is unique because the relationship exists in order to help you learn about yourself and to develop insight into patterns of behavior, which lead to the good and bad choices we make in life."
With almost 10 years experience in the mental health field, Mass has helped all kinds of people achieve the same goal: to feel better. Though all her patients want the same thing, her approach is based on recognizing their differences and counseling them by focusing on their individual needs. For those skeptics wondering how therapy can help, Mass says, "Most importantly, it is an objective ear. Therapy provides you with a set amount of time each week in which you can be devoted to you. This is your time away from the demands of work, home, and school."
Robinson, Mass and Burrell PC
90 John Street, Suite 633