I have been co-leading this group for over 30 years. Initially a group for survivors of incest, the mission of the group expanded over the years to provide support to women who have experienced a variety of types of interpersonal trauma, including childhood emotional, sexual, and/or physical abuse; developmental trauma, such as growing up in an unsafe environment or an environment with severe neglect or a mentally ill parent; experiencing sexual harassment, date rape, racism; and traumatic loss.
Members are expected to be in and remain in ongoing individual therapy with the therapist of their choice for the duration of their time in the group. We ask for a minimum of a one-year commitment, as members slowly develop trust and safety. While the group is interactive and supportive, the therapists utilize and teach the latest tools in trauma treatment. including the practice of Mindfulness, regulating the nervous system when triggered, and noticing and appreciating strengths and survival strategies.
A two-part consultation is required to assess readiness and fit for group.
Shelley Messing is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Manhattan. She has over 30 years of clinical experience and has a wide range of clinical interests and areas of specialization, including the treatment of Trauma and Complex PTSD, where she works with survivors of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, rape, and developmental traumas, such as neglect or growing up with a mentally ill or substance abusing parent. She works with all kinds of couples, with college students and young adults "launching" into the next chapter of life, and with people struggling with symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. She treats people dealing with relationship and work challenges, as well as those dealing with grief and loss.
Shelley has developed a varied tool kit to help individuals and couples explore their inner and outer realities, and to support the hard work of change and transformation. She frequently incorporates mindfulness practices, experiments, EMDR, and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy ( a body-focused, mindfulness-informed, empowering therapy) into talk therapy to help people learn to notice when they are being triggered, to regulate their own nervous systems, and to explore various avenues for meaningful change.
Shelley respects her patients' boundaries and honors the relationship she develops with them. She is always aware of the power imbalance inherent in the relationship and knows it takes a lot of courage to seek out treatment and be vulnerable. She values the inner resources and survival strategies that have gotten each person to the present moment. She hopes to expand awareness of new skills and patterns of relating that might better serve each person in current day life. She helps people notice how they respond in their bodies as they talk about certain experiences before suggesting experiments with new tools and strategies. Shelley works creatively and treats each person and situation as unique. She involves her patients in creating a treatment that is meaningful and moves at a pace that is tolerable.
When working with couples, Shelley utilizes many techniques that are designed to help couples get underneath endless conflicts and disappointments to understand each other better and communicate more effectively. She helps couples learn to become less reactive, to slow down, and to feel more compassionate towards themselves and their partner.
Shelley continues to learn from and incorporate the latest research in neurobiology, mindfulness, and trauma in her sessions. She tailors her work to the individual, not to one particular model. She enjoys both the art and the science of being a therapist.