The Lukin Center: Psychologists in Hoboken, NJ
The Lukin Center for Psychotherapy is conveniently located at 223 Bloomfield St (between 2nd and 3rd avenues) in Hoboken. We are on the first floor in Suite #107.
Our psychotherapy services include:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), Couples Counseling, Neuropsychological Evaluations, Individual Treatment, and Adolescent services.
Our dedicated team of Licensed Psychologists work with clients to fit their busy schedules. We also offer virtual appointments via a secure, HIPAA compliant software system.
We are open Monday to Saturday, 8AM to 9PM.
Metered parking is available on the surrounding streets. There is also a parking garage within five minutes of the office located at 215 Hudson Street.
Hoboken Psychologist Spotlight: Dr. Jessica Larsen
What made you want to get into clinical psychology?
I’ve always been a good listener. I’m an empathetic person and naturally found myself in a helper role. In college at NYU, I was naturally drawn to psychology courses. I loved learning about theories related to people’s behavior and personality. Going on to graduate school was a natural next step.
I completed a master’s degree in counseling at Rutgers University. There, I became interested in how families recover from stressful events such as separation and divorce, death, displacement, and military deployment. I decided to further pursue these topics with a doctoral degree at the University of California, Santa Barbara. While there, I learned about evidence-based treatment approaches for individual and family stress, such as Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) and trauma treatments for children and adults.
There’s a lot of attention on kids and traumatic events these days. What people need to know is that trauma really doesn’t have to negatively impact the rest of their lives. Children have the innate ability to bounce back from adversity. They’re resilient. Therapy can certainly help to facilitate this process. I’ve found that I really enjoy working with families, kids, and parents in this process.
You see a wide range of patients and practice from an integrated perspective, drawing from cognitive behavioral, systems, and multicultural theories in your work with your clients. Could you explain what that means?
Sure, so there are different theoretical foundations that underlie conceptualizations and interventions in psychotherapy.
Cognitive behavioral theories pay attention to the relationships between thoughts, behaviors and emotions. In therapy, we address symptoms by altering automatic thoughts and behaviors to improve the client’s emotional state. Over time, small changes in thoughts and behaviors can result in large changes in underlying core beliefs. Through this process, we see reductions in symptoms of mental illness such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
“Systems” is essentially seeing an individual as part of a larger whole. In family therapy, we don’t just look at an individual in a vacuum, but the system they’re living in. For any individual, I assess their family context, their social supports, and their community supports and conceptualize their presenting concerns within these larger systems. So for instance, when working with a child, I find it’s most always imperative involve the parents. I can affect more change while working within the system than just working with the child in isolation.
“Multicultural” means I am affirming of people from all different backgrounds and affiliations, and I aim to be sensitive to how a client’s multiple cultural identities play into their psychological functioning. So across multiple planes --- race, gender, age, sexual, ethnic, national, religious identity- I think about and talk to my clients’ about their personal identity. Perhaps a person presents with symptoms of anxiety. A good multicultural assessment reveals that they have recently had thoughts that they may be attracted to individuals of the same gender. But these thoughts conflict with their more traditional so upbringing. We would focus in on those conflicts in therapy to help reduce their anxiety. A multicultural perspective helps me to identify these issues from early on in the therapy process, so that I can help clients come to their own decisions in a warm and nonjudgmental environment.
How does your approach change when working with children vs. working with adults?
My approach is tailored to the client’s developmental level and presenting concerns. For school aged children, I may use a combination of play therapies to facilitate expressive communication and build skills. Children do not typically present to therapy with advanced verbal expressive skills as do adults. So play is a venue through which they can express their inner world- their thoughts, feelings, fantasies, worries, etc. During play, I teach children core emotional expression and coping skills. Over time, as children are better able to communicate their inner states, we involve parents. I may coach parents on how to empathically connect with their child and respond to their worries and concerns. In CBT with kids, much like with adults, we aim to identify and alter unhelpful thought processes and behavioral patterns.
With adolescents, it’s a little different because they typically arrive at therapy with more advanced verbal skills. So, therapy focuses on helping them to explore their inner states, alter unhelpful thought and behavior patterns, build skills, and then communicate with their parents. With adolescents, I may coach them on how to communicate their struggles more effectively with adults in their lives, then invite these adults into session to facilitate the communications. As opposed to adult therapy, child therapy is always family therapy, in that the parents are always an integral part of the intervention.
You're working on a podcast. Can tell us what it's about?
Yes, a friend and I are working on a podcast where we answer people’s burning questions about pop culture psychological things. The content is somewhat clinically focused and is in a Q&A format. My cohost is not a psychologist, so he has the opportunity to address the topics from a lay person perspective. Each episode has a driving question, such as “How do I know if my boss is a psychopath” and “Why am I so sad and what can I do about it?” What follows is a conversation that integrates science, pop culture, humor and some advice giving. We’re planning to do eight episode for the first season due out in Spring 2018. It's called Get Psyched with Dr. Jess and you will be able to find it on the iTunes store.
What drew you to the Lukin Center?
I think it was the center’s dedication to evidence-based treatment that drew me there. In my previous job, I worked on large federally funded studies aimed at developing or improving evidence based approaches to psychotherapy. Having truly lived the science behind them, I am very committed to using these effective therapies in my clinical work. When I met Konstantin, I saw early on that shared this perspective. It was a natural fit.