June 16, 2024
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Collaborative Minds Psychotherapy LLC Offers Virtual Group Therapy to Young Women Prepping for Seminary

The Orthodox Jewish Community has almost unanimously adopted the practice of providing their high school graduates with one to two years of study in Israel. Attending the numerous yeshivot and seminaries in Israel within an atmosphere that encourages “learning for learning’s sake,” surrounded by the special spirit of Israel is truly a “gift.” For the majority of students, this experience is anticipated with excitement and eagerness. For some students, however, the thought of leaving home for the year and entering a totally new and somewhat alien environment can be daunting and a bit frightening.

Enter Sara Schreiber, LCSW, therapist and practice owner of Collaborative Minds Psychotherapy LLC, serving clients in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Florida. A recent resident of Bergenfield, Schreiber founded the practice one-and-a-half years ago as “a practice dedicated to helping preteens through adults get unstuck, unlock potential, and start living a life aligned with their own values,” she said. “Through a collaborative approach which is warm and empathic and treatment informed by scientifically proven methods, we help you on your journey of living your most fulfilled life.” Sessions are conducted both virtually and in-person in an office located in Teaneck.

A native of Los Angeles, Schreiber grew up in Toronto, attended Darchei Binah in Israel and then Yeshiva University Stern College for Women in New York, where she earned a BA in developmental psychology. She completed her master’s degree in social work at Fordham University and earned her clinical license as a licensed clinical social worker. She served as the in-house mental health primary care therapist at SBH Health System (St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx) for over two years working with young people up to age 21 and their parents, through the Mental Health Service Corps program. Subsequently, she was the director of group therapy at a private practice in Westchester, as well as the intake director. Upon moving to Bergen County, she established her private practice where she conducts group therapy for preadolescents through adults, as well as seeing private clients.

In working with preteens and teens, Schreiber focuses on interpersonal and social skills and addresses issues of anxiety, depression, esteem and body image. Through her Teen and Young Adult Social Skills Groups, based upon the PEERS Curriculum, Schreiber focuses on conversational skills, friendship-building skills, social media and electronic communication, use of humor, get-togethers, dating etiquette, handling disagreements and confrontation, and handling rumors, gossip and bullying. Most of her clients in these groups have been from non-Jewish backgrounds and as such have had specific experiences and needs.

As word spread of Schreiber’s expertise in dealing with the issues confronting adolescent females in transitional situations, it was suggested that she offer a group to Orthodox girls graduating from yeshiva high schools who are preparing for their gap year in Israel. It became clear that there was a need for some of these young ladies to be bolstered socially and emotionally for this major transitional step in their education.

Responding to this need, Schreiber is offering a 16-week virtual group, beginning February 14, for high school seniors who will be attending seminary next year. In “From High School to Seminary” the attendees will learn and explore the following topics:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) skills to manage social anxiety

Social skills

Living away from parents for the first time

Staying organized and implementing healthy life and study habits

Navigating living in a dorm with roommates

Maintaining healthy boundaries and relationships (with peers, teachers and others)

Navigating mental health challenges as they arise in seminary

Facilitating the group, supervised by Schreiber, will be Teaneck native Eliana Schultz, LSW, who is very familiar with the target population, having attended Yeshivat Noam, Ma’ayanot, MMY in Israel, and Stern College. She earned her MSW from Hunter College, where she completed her fieldwork in Jacobi Medical Center’s Behavioral Health Unit and OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services’ Foster Care Unit. She currently works in the Intensive Outpatient Program at The Renfrew Center in Paramus, treating females impacted by eating disorders.

Cognizant of the issues facing the young ladies in Israel, Schultz hopes to cover these situations through role playing and interactive sessions. She feels that the key issue for them is their newly acquired responsibility for every aspect of their day, including academic as well as personal and social issues. Even the weekly scheduling of Shabbat arrangements can prove challenging to many. Schultz is delighted at the opportunity to help these young ladies make the most of their year away.

Currently on Schreiber’s staff is local resident Max Kirshblum, LSW, who treats individuals with anxiety, depression, ADHD, autism and trauma, and uses eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) in addition to psychodynamic psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Kirshblum is currently facilitating both the Young Adult Social Skills Group and the Teen Social Skills Group, which will have a new cycle beginning in mid-February He has also worked with male yeshiva students and will soon be making aliyah, where he will continue to see New Jersey clients virtually. In Israel, he hopes to continue working in this area with yeshiva students from abroad.

Schreiber offers four other groups geared to specific populations, which she calls “From High School to College” aimed at secular high school seniors going away to college, “Social Anxiety Process Group” aimed at adults in their 30s and 40s struggling with social anxiety, and two teen girls’ groups. Schreiber is excited to be presenting her virtual teen group methodologies at the American Group Psychotherapy Association annual conference in New York City this March.

For further information about the services provided by Sara Schreiber, LCSW of Collaborative Minds Psychotherapy LLC visit https://wwwcollaborativeminds.net/.

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