Laura A. Pontrelli, PhD, SEP, ISPP




I believe that people are always doing their best even when they are at their worst.  I believe we are built to be healthy and that all we do is an attempt to reestablish a basic state of well being.  Sometimes we find ourselves trapped in patterns of behavior and relationships that do not serve us.  It can be difficult to see clearly, it can be difficult to move in a different direction.  I see therapy as a relationship and a practice that offers the potential to see more clearly, do things a little differently and reestablish a sense of health and vitality.

My  BA is in Psychology and Women's Studies from Bard College.  I earned an MA in General Psychology and a PhD in Clinical Psychology from the New School for Social Research, now New School University. 

I completed a 2 year fellowship at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY engaging in both clinical work on the inpatient unit and psychotherapy process research.  At the same time, I was a visiting fellow at New York Presbyterian, Westchester Division where I studied self harm in Borderline Diagnosed women.  I spent the following 7 years at Harlem Hospital working in the Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Room (CPEP) as Senior Psychologist, Coordinator of Adult Psychological Services in Psychiatry, and Acting Director of the Crisis Residence Program operated by the CPEP.  In addition, I held an academic appointment as Clinical Instructor in Psychology, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons teaching within the residency program at Harlem Hospital.

These acute care environments provided rich opportunities to work in risk assessment, trauma and crisis response, substance abuse evaluation and treatment as well as the opportunity to work with people in acute psychiatric crisis.  This background has served me well in my private practice where I see people with depression, anxiety, suffering from the consequences of current or past trauma or abuse, people struggling to self regulate and relying on substance abuse  or self harm, people with chronic or catastrophic illness, including Cancer, Lyme Disease and other debilitating illnesses, pain management and, issues women experience through the life cycle.

My academic roots are in Psychoanalytic and Attachment Theory.  In thinking about problems and their evolution I am attentive to personal history- especially relationship history,  I have established other roots in a martial arts practice, meditation, making pottery and jewelry. In recent years I have been learning and practicing some alternative mind body approaches.  These alternative approaches include mediation, energy work, and somatic practices.  I am certified in Somatic Experience (SEP) and Integral Somatic Psychology (ISPP).