In a recent interview, Woody Allen, perhaps the world’s most famous neurotic, wondered aloud whether he could have achieved artistic success without regular psychoanalysis.
“People would say to me, oh, it’s just a crutch,” Allen told Adam Moss in New York magazine. “And I would say, yes. It’s a crutch, and exactly what I need in this point in my life is a crutch.”
Author and researcher Richard Florida recently pegged the nation’s epicenter of neurotic personalities at New York City. We need not forget, then, that it was once a great New York pastime to have one’s problems doted over by a psychoanalyst, seated cross-legged in a sexy position of authority.
With the profusion of psychopharmaceuticals, however, this practice fell to the wayside. It was a perfectly reasonable question to ask: Why should I go through such trouble to uncover trauma or detangle my complexes with a therapist I may not even have sexual chemistry with? Instead, using a method far less invasive than old-fashioned lobotomy, they could simply affect their brain chemistry and live in dreamy psychological stasis.
But give talk a chance, New Yorkers. Before you swallow the blue pill and say good-bye to your problems forever, spend some quality time with them. New York is, after all, still a bastion of psychotherapy—as well as neurosis.
“You do have people that just want to see their psychopharmacolgist and get prescribed medication,” says Kristene Doyle, director of clinical services at the Albert Ellis Institute, a world-renowned psychotherapy institute located in the Upper East Side. “But in terms of more long-term effects, coming in to have psychotherapy plus medication, you have an additive effect.”
To help in that pursuit, here’s a roundup of local psychotherapeutic centers, each of them approaching your psyche from a different perspective. If you’re not ready to hit the (pill) bottle yet—or if the drugs simply aren’t working—consider giving one of these organizations a call.
Albert Ellis Institute
45 E. 65th St. 212-535-0822,
Albert Ellis’ legacy is Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. Its main premise is that human neuroses stem from irrational beliefs (“I was abandoned, so I must be worthless.”), which they need to discover and rectify. The theory assumes that as long as you rightfully understand your reality, you’ll be happy. How optimistic. The method is also touted as a boon for highly intelligent people, according to the institute’s website, with a propensity for analytical thinking.
Besides offering treatment sessions and professional training, the institute invites New Yorkers, one Friday a month, to view a live demonstration of rational emotive behavior therapy on an audience member.
C.G. Jung Foundation for Analytical Psychology
8 E. 39th St., 212-867-8461, cgjungny.org.
“In each of us, there is another whom we do not know,” Jung observed. “He speaks to us in dreams and tells us how differently he sees us from the way we see ourselves.” If other forms of psychology seem dry or unimaginative, you might want to check out the C.G. Jung Foundation in its mid-Manhattan brownstone office. With seminar titles like “Music and the Symbolic,” “Mystery of Eleusis” and “Divine Androgyny,” visitors to the institute can delve into their dreams and understand the psychological relevance of classical myths. The foundation’s partner, the C.G. Jung Institute of New York, offers a referral service that connects the afflicted with Jungian psychologists throughout the New York City area.
The Gestalt Center for Psychotherapy and Training
220 Fifth Ave., Suite 802
The Gestalt Center was founded by Marilyn Rosanes-Berrett, a friend of Gestalt therapy founder Fritz Perls. Gestalt methods include objective observations of the client’s behavior and environment, without imposing a hierarchy of importance, and the development of a humanistic relationship between therapist and client that doesn’t limit those two individuals to their contextual roles. Gestalt is also known for moving beyond talk therapy into behavioral experimentation, inciting the client to try out new methods of engaging life. Baby steps into the elevator, baby steps down the hall…
A Psychotherapy Group in the Village
160 Bleecker Street, 9C East
212-673-4618 or at
This collective unites therapists from Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens and emphasizes compassionate relationships with its clients. Being in the East Village, the group does have a seemingly arty bent. Among the mental conditions it specializes in, the group’s website lists “writer’s block” and “psychological impediments to acting.” For more information, visit or call founder Andre Moore at the number above.
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