Interview with Dr. Deborah Serani

Dr. Deborah Serani is a psychologist and an award-winning author. She is a go-to media expert on psychological issues, with interviews in ABC News, The Associated Press, The Chicago Tribune, CNN, The Daily Beast, Newsday, The New York Times and radio station programs at CBS and NPR, just to name a few. She is a TEDx speaker, an American Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Specialist, writes for Psychology Today, the Ask The Therapist column at Esperanza Magazine and has worked as a technical advisor for the NBC television show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

A licensed psychologist over 25 years in New York, Dr. Serani is a professor at Adelphi University, teaching graduate courses in psychological diagnosis, psychodynamic treatment and multicultural diversity.

We had the pleasure of interviewing Dr  Deborah Serani and talking about her career and her field of study in general. We have the interview we did given below;

Q: What inspired you to pursue this line of work?

Ans: A long time ago, I struggled with depression and sought help. As I got better, I realized how meaningful psychotherapy was- and that I wanted to become a therapist myself. So, I headed to graduate school and got my doctorate in psychology.

Q: People are going to share their worldly problems with you, most of them irrelevant, confusing and out of standard conscious. Do you think you will be able to handle all of their transferable stress? If yes, then why do you think you’re capable? Share a similar experience.

Ans: I don’t find the issues patients share with me as irrelevant or confusing at all. Often, what a patient struggles with is quite relevant, important and powerful. It’s a privilege to have the trust of another person – and that he or she trusts me. I have been trained as a psychoanalyst, so you train many years to learn  how to balance personal feelings from interfering with psychotherapy.

Q: How will you help your patients to open up?

Ans: Setting up an environment where a person feels safe and comfortable helps a patient open up. This means making sure your office is quiet, warm and decorated nicely. This also means not interrupting sessions by taking phone calls or stopping the flow of psychotherapy with distractions. Another important thing is to be a good listener. Most people listen to respond, but a trained therapist listens to understand.   

Q: What piece of advice would you give to people who want to pursue this career?

Ans: If you truly want to pursue being a psychologist, you should really be in your own psychotherapy first. In this way, you get to learn about yourself, as well as what the process is like as a “patient.” Doing so prepares you to be a better clinician.

Q: How much indulged are you in physical activity? Any interesting hobbies such as sports?

Ans: I do yoga every other day and love to read, cook and travel. It’s very important to have a rich and active life outside of doing psychotherapy.

Q: Do you plan on having any future publications, books?

Ans: I have a suspense thriller book in the works as well as a children’s picture book about psychotherapy. I love to write and will likely always have something on the fire in that regard.

Q: What kind of challenges do you think lies in front of you in this career? Don’t tell us the solutions in mind, just tell us what you expect.

Ans: ‘I’ve been working almost 30 years as a clinician, so my biggest challenge will be how to slow my life down as near retirement!

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