susan friedberg


In Brief:

Susan Friedberg has had a long and successful career in the field of psychotherapy. She is currently Assistant Director of the Gestalt Associates for Psychotherapy, a post-graduate training program in Gestalt Therapy, and is the former Director of the Gestalt Institute in New York. Her background includes teaching, supervising, and many years of direct service with individuals, couples, families, and groups.

Professional Credentials

• New York State Licensed Social Worker

• New York State Licensed Psychoanalyst

• Full Member American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

• Certified Group Psychotherapist

Recent Academic Positions

• Assistant Director of Gestalt Associates for Psychotherapy

• Director Gestalt Institute

• Teacher in Family Studies Program at Bronx State Hospital


• Certificate of training in EMDR from EMDR Institute

• Graduate of Gestalt Center

• Graduate of Ackerman Institute, Postgraduate Training Family Institute of Westchester, Family Studies Program with Salvatore Minuchin

• Group Therapy Training with Jay Earley and Laura Perls

• Trained Divorce Mediator

• Certificate in Critical Incident Stress Management

• MSW, University of Michigan

• BA, New York University

About Susan

My primary goal in doing psychotherapy is for my clients to have more choices and spontaneity in their lives as well as greater satisfaction. I want to help alleviate suffering, whether generated from past traumatizing experiences or from current experiences. I believe that we all have many answers and great potential inside us, but often are blocked from accessing our own wisdom so that we only function on a modest amount of our potential. It gives me great joy to help my clients find their own answers and discover problem-solving abilities.


EMDR therapy is an effective, often short-term therapy that targets and addresses past unresolved issues with the goal that these past issues no longer have the ‘hold’ on the individual that they have had. It examines and treats current situations that trigger these painful unresolved emotions, memories, and physical sensations.

During treatment, procedures and protocols are used to deal with these past experiences. One key element is “dual stimulation” which uses bilateral eye stimulation, tones, or taps. In the process, healing often takes place in the form of the emergence of insights, perspective, changes in memories, or the formation of new pathways of association.

Other Modalities I Integrate Into My Work

Gestalt Psychotherapy

Created in the early 1950s by Fritz and Laura Perls and Paul Goodman, Gestalt Therapy developed from its roots in psychoanalysis, Gestalt psychology, existential philosophy, and field theory to create a novel mode of psychotherapy that unites and transcends its constituent elements. Gestalt therapy's emphasis on the here-and-now, the unity of body, mind, and environment, and its focus on the co-creation of experience was a revolutionary departure from intrapsychic psychotherapies, making it a precursor to contemporary psychotherapeutic modalities. The primary goal of Gestalt therapy is to heighten awareness—the quality of being in touch with oneself and the environment. In doing so, old and habitual patterns that constrict spontaneity are discovered. Now more aware, we experience a fuller range of possibilities and make more creative choices.

Couples and Family Therapy

My approach is based on a mixture of family systems and Gestalt therapy.

Family therapy is a branch of psychotherapy that works with families and couples in intimate relationships to nurture change and development. It emphasizes family relationships as an important factor in psychological health. What the different schools of family therapy have in common is a belief that, regardless of the origin of the problem, and regardless of whether the clients consider it an "individual" or "family" issue, involving families in solutions is often beneficial.

Using Gestalt tools, I am always looking at the present moment and bringing into awareness the current interaction and the blocks to contact and connection. I work with the assumption that the observable interactions in the present mirror what happens outside. I look closely at the “between”, the interaction patterns that have evolved over time, continually assessing with the client the usefulness or destructiveness of repetitious patterns. When I work as a couples and family therapist, I am most interested in what goes on between clients although also cognizant that the present moment is made up of many past moments.

Interactive Group Psychotherapy

The group can be an alternative and effective vehicle for growth and awareness. Instead of talking about how you function in relationships, you will actually be in relationship in the present to other members of the group. This allows you to look at your reactions to specific people, to being in a group, and to also get feedback about how you are perceived. For example, maybe people who are outspoken are a trigger for you.

In the group you can look at what happens to you in the moment and how you feel in the presence of an outspoken person. Your issues may involve competitiveness and control. This will emerge during the course of the group. Perhaps this relates to your history and you can explore that. There may be some communication skills you need to develop. Group is a good safe place to try something new and expand your behavioral repertoire.

The group also offers support, understanding, and compassion; over time it forms a community, something many people crave.

Divorce Mediation

Divorce mediation offers an alternative to the more traditional divorce process. It is advantageous in that it is less costly, depends more on cooperation than conflict, and helps you to work together as parents after the divorce. Another big advantage is that it keeps the two parties in control of the divorce. In an adversarial divorce others often make the decisions. By working together you can often lower taxes, save on legal fees, and have more rapid resolution. People generally recover much more rapidly from the mediation process than from the adversarial divorce process.

I work with a lawyer to prepare separation agreement papers which automatically result in a divorce in a little over a year.

Supervision and Consultation

Supervision and consultation are available for any of the above modalities. Through my work with post-graduate students at the Gestalt Associates for Psychotherapy and in various work settings, such as Bronx State hospital and, the Bridge and Children’s Village, I have gained considerable supervisory and teaching experience and have learned to tailor my input to the particular challenges of each work setting.

John Dzwonar
917 282 7603
West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036

Susan Friedberg
917 715 3776
213 West 70th Street
New York, NY 10023

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