Sarah Saffian


The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.
—Carl Rogers


Imagining what it is like to be someone other than oneself is at the core of our humanity. —Ian McEwan

Empathy isn't just listening, it's asking the questions whose answers need to be listened to. Empathy requires inquiry as much as imagination.
—Leslie Jamison


VIDEO: Adoption and Narrative, interview with Barbara Freedgood, LCSW
ARTICLE: Putting Your Feelings on Paper, Adoptive Families, Spring 2015

Sarah approaches her work as a therapist with empathy, clarity, and humor. She maintains a hybrid psychodynamic, cognitive style that draws from techniques including client-centered therapy, rational emotive behavior therapy, and dialectical behavior therapy. She regards herself as another person in the room, not a blank slate, and the client and herself as a team, working together collaboratively toward the client's goals. If you are interested in learning more about individual and/or group work with Sarah, you can reach out to her here.

Sarah counsels individuals, couples, and groups in various locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, in private practice settings and through Spence-Chapin Services. Her clinical experience also includes counseling undergraduate and graduate students and facilitating CBT (cognitive behavior therapy) and DBT (dialectical behavior therapy) groups, at New York University's Counseling and Wellness Services; and counseling adoptees, birth mothers, and adoptive parents and facilitating support groups for all members of the adoption constellation, at Spence-Chapin.

Blending her two main areas of interest and expertise, Sarah has created a model called Therapeutic Writing, using memoir prompts as a frame through which to examine experiences, in an effort to encourage deeper, clearer self-reflection, processing, and discovery. When appropriate, she uses Therapeutic Writing with individual clients, in session and through take-home exercises discussed in session, as well as with groups. In these intimate groups, participants explore their internal experiences through short writing exercises in the room, alternated with discussion and optional sharing (submitting your writing and reading aloud are not required).