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Portait for Esther Lee, New York, anti-oppressive therapist helping individuals with therapy for trauma and systems-impacted individuals

Esther Lee, LMSW

Individual and Couples Therapist

I work with adults and couples who feel a lack of connection with themselves and are seeking a sense of belonging by providing trauma-informed radical acceptance, increasing mind-body-spirit connection, and collaboratively creating safety and liberation from the mindsets, institutions, and systems that prevent you from thriving.

Pronouns: She/They

Location: New York,Online

Language: English and Korean

Fee: $160

Sliding Scale: Available

Insurance: Can provide superbill for PPO plans

Accepting New Clients: Yes

Populations:

  • Adult
  • Couples

Specialties:

  • Anxiety & Stress Management
  • BIPOC & Asian American Experience
  • Burnout & Perfectionism
  • LGBTQIA
  • Navigating Cultural, Gender & Religious Expectations
  • Trauma & PTSD

Hi, I’m Esther. Let’s walk together.

Something feels off and you’re trying to find balance in your life. You wish to live your authentic
truth, where you’re able to make decisions that are intentional and aligned with how you want to walk in
this world. You wish to prioritize yourself and communicate your needs while taking care of those around
you. You aspire to break out of the mold of what an Asian-American “should be.” You desire to belong.

Don’t worry. You’re not alone. Together, we can explore and give voice to your various
interwoven identities to paint a full picture of who you are and see you for all of the beauty you bring to
the world. With compassion and curiosity, I want to understand each aspect of what makes you unique,
and I want you to know that you are whole and enough as you are. I encourage transparent
communication about what’s working for you and what’s not, because therapy is a place for you to feel
safe and seen. Therapy with me means we’re going to work together to return you to a state of being
grounded and rooted in the things that make you.. You.

Therapy for Anxiety and Depression

You’re an intellectual, and you make sense of the world by rationalizing and over-rationalizing
everything. Sometimes, the anxiety becomes too much to the point you’re forced to shut down. Other
times, the sadness and loneliness from depression feel unbearable and like there’s no way out. Whether
it’s your intellect taking over or your emotions holding the reigns, you feel disjointed and disconnected
and your anxiety and/or depression get in the way of your confidence and self-satisfaction. What if you gave yourself permission to feel? What if you allowed the anxiety and depression to serve as information
to guide and define your needs? Through somatic awareness and reintegration of your soul and body
connection, we’ll collaboratively create a safe space for you to feel all of your feelings and release all that
you’re holding in your body. With intention and mindfulness, we’ll work to rewrite the story you’re telling
yourself to return to you the ability to choose to respond to external circumstances and internal
messages.

Therapy for Trauma and Systems-impacted Individuals

Trauma comes in all shapes and sizes. It can creep up on you when you’re least expecting it and
take over your sensations like a hurricane. First, take a breath. You’re safe here.

Through our work together, we’ll pay attention to the sensations in your body when you’re feeling
stressed, uneasy, and triggered. Our bodies understand what we’re going through in a way that our
brains may not be able to articulate. Let’s tune into that by increasing your mind-body awareness and
connection to let your inner wisdom lead. We’ll make space for the negative thoughts as well as the
moderate and positive ones, exercising your reframing muscle to help you see the bigger picture and
reiterate what safety looks and feels like in your body and relationships.

As a New York City public defender, I’ve seen first hand the re-traumatization the legal system
can enact on those who need additional support, and the power of compassion and creative exploration
to access healing through safe relationships both individually and within community. Whether you’re
impacted by the criminal legal system, family regulation system, or other forms of state-sanctioned
indignation, this is a space for you to release all of the harm you’ve received at the hands of the systems
and structures that have held/continue to hold power over you. You are more than the sum of your
mistakes. Through an anti-oppressive, anti-carceral, and affirmative form of therapy, we can begin to
unpack all the layers of trauma you’ve had to carry in your home, household, and community.

Therapy for BIPOC, Immigrants, LGBTQIA+, and Activists

You often feel as if you’re living in the margins of society. The boxes you’re expected to check off
simply don’t encapsulate who you are whether you’re a multi-cultural, gender-fluid, and/or a justice-
minded person. Human beings simply are not meant to be squeezed into one category over another. I
believe that gender and sexuality are on a spectrum, and we’re all impacted by racial and ancestral
trauma. Let’s create space for the journey of defining your identity. Who are you, really? What kinds of
generational trauma do you carry in your body? What are the life experiences that have molded and
shaped you to the form you are now? Together, we’ll utilize radical acceptance to release the shame and
stigma of shifting and recreating yourself. Allowing yourself to be a story that’s continuing to unfold and
liberate yourself from the idea of stagnancy. Journeying with me means creating space for all the small
details and intricacies, whether delightful or painful, to paint a more whole and complete picture of who
you are.

Therapy for Professionals, Burnout, and Boundary-setting

You feel a lack of control, there’s insufficient support, and your workplace feels unstable or even
dysfunctional. You constantly feel exhausted and are overtaken by cynicism towards your job and self. Or
maybe you often find yourself feeling flustered and there’s no time to breathe?

As members of the Asian diaspora, many of us are taught to seek professional success and the
“American Dream.” When your personal success is representative of your family’s success, it’s easy to
lose sight of what balance can look like in taking care of yourself while tending to all your responsibilities.
There’s good news: your feelings of burnout can teach you what you need in order to regain harmony and take care of yourself. Boundaries and self care allow you to build healthy relationships and set realistic expectations for the people around you. And trust me, I get it. It’s difficult to set boundaries when your family comes from a collectivist culture. Boundaries can sometimes feel selfish and even like a betrayal, but they’re also only established with people that you care for and wish to continue to build and maintain relationships with. They allow for you to maintain your sense of self by clearly establishing and
communicating your needs and allowing others to support your well-being. Your needs are as important
as anyone else’s. You are worthy of taking up space too.

My Approach: Balance through Mindfulness, Compassion, and Curiosity

Part of being human means creating balance as you navigate the curveballs of life. Therapy with
me means we meet you where you are and you are at the helm of your healing journey. I believe you are
your own healer and already possess the wisdom you need to make the best decision for you. I am here
to support you at your guidance. With a culturally-sensitive, trauma-informed lens, I hope to be able to
create a safe space to be vulnerable and look inward.

How, you ask, are we going to achieve this?

Through:

  • Mindfulness and somatic awareness to reconnect and strengthen your mind-body-spirit
  • connection
  • Values and radical acceptance as tools to help guide your decision making
  • Building healthy coping mechanisms uniquely tailored to you and your needs
  • Rediscovering your inner child by tending to their needs and the things that brought them joy

I understand that healing is cultural, political, spiritual, and intergenerational. It is found in nature,
connection, and relationships, and can be accessed through the breath and mindful interactions. I believe in decolonizing mental health by humanizing both/all individuals in the room, and understanding that each individual (including myself) brings with us our own stories, joys, and pains that will influence our therapeutic relationship. In each interaction I seek to be anti: racist, sexist, fatphobic, transphobic, ableist, and capitalist to unlearn and reconnect the pieces of ourselves that we’ve had to utilize or forgo in order to survive – to get each person to a place where they can thrive.

Together, we explore all the pieces that make you authentically you and work to bolster your
unique strengths. We can redefine what it means to be a “__-American,” create space to be as bold,
loud, and opinionated as you need to. You are beautiful and strong in your own way. Allow yourself the
privilege of identifying and facing the things that are holding you down and free yourself.

With gratitude, it’d be a privilege and honor to journey with you.

Registered by New York State Education Department Office of the Professions: LMSW 103373