About Joan Lavender

  After many years of practice, I am still astonished by the power of a good psychotherapy experience. It is            gentle, deep and beautiful work, long-lasting and of great practical value. 

I am a licensed clinical psychologist, certified psychoanalytic and psychotherapist with over 30 years experience. My earliest training in movement and music serve as a unique perspective that unifies all of my psychotherapy work. In the 1970s I met Eugene Gendlin and began studying his work, teaching it to others and writing about it.   I  received my doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Hahnemann University/Widener University in Pennsylvania. One highlight of my training includes a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Psychotherapy Process Research at the University of the State of New York in Brooklyn. I am on the faculty of The Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy and the Experiential Psychotherapy Project. My written publications includes such themes as life as a therapist, envy, loneliness, aging, experiential focusing, and the process of symbolization in therapist/patient dyads. As a therapist I am inquisitive, responsive and compassionate, with a droll sense of humor.

On a personal note

I was born in New York City and have lived here most of my life.  But recently I spend many weekends in northern Connecticut, where my husband and two petfinder pooches teach me about the joys of country life and living in a slower lane.  I find that this sharpens my listening skills and keeps me sane.

My private practice is on the upper west side of Manhattan but during Covid 19 I am offering phone and video services only.


Joan and I have known each other since her PostDoctoral Fellowship years in the 1990s.  What I respect most about her as a therapist is her approachability and adaptability combined with an impressive range of clinical experience.  She is comfortable with herself,  doesn't need to hide behind a stiff stance, and this gets conveyed to her patients, whether they are young or older, male or female, new or returning to treatment.  She has the emotional courage that it takes to be a good therapist and a good sense of humor, so necessary when helping people go through the ups and downs of a real treatment process.                                                                      

Joel Mausner, PhD, Leadership Psychologist, former Assistant Professor, State University of New York, Brooklyn.  workplacepsych.com                                                                                                      

Dr. Lavender and I trained together in graduate school in Clinical Psychology and, right from those early days, I was impressed with her insight and understanding.  Joan is one of the first people I call when I want a consultation on my work with a patient because I know she will help me think through delicate issues with great warmth and sensitivity.  I'm sure she brings these qualities into her own work with patients.  

Kari Carstairs, PsyD. Director, Carstairs Psychological Associates, Ltd., drkaricarstairs.co.uk

Joan and I learned Gendlin's groundbreaking philosophy and method (Experiential Focusing) decades ago and have stayed in touch ever since.  Her latest concept -  the Experiential Environment - is such an interesting contribution for therapists and focusers alike that I wanted to make sure to mention it in my new book, Focusing in Clinical Practice, The Essence of Change.

Ann Weiser Cornell Ph. D. President, http://FocusingResources.com

Dr. Lavender is a highly accomplished professional who has the rare ability to relate to the whole person of each patient while staying responsive to symptoms and diagnoses.  She makes rapport easily with a wide variety of individuals, uses down to earth language and raises delicate issues tactfully yet clearly. 

Cheryl King, M.S., Administrator, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Selected Publications

Want to read some of my writing?  
How could this have happened to me? 

(Forthcoming) One Therapist’s Travel Log. in Beyond the Talking Cure: Advances in Focusing Oriented Therapy, Jessica Kingsley London. 

The Phenomenology of the Relational Void: Probabilities and Possibilities. in Willock, B., Bohm, L. C. , Coleman Curtis, R. (Eds) (2011) Loneliness and Longing: Conscious and Unconscious Aspects. Routledge Mental Health, London. 

Some Thoughts on Focusing and Aging: Losses and Gains, in The Focusing Folio, A Journal for Focusing and Experiential Therapy, (2010) Vol 22. 

Lavender, J. & Freedman, N. (2002) On Desymbolization: The Concept and Observations in Anorexia and Bulimia, Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought 25:2. 

If you would like a free 15 minute phone consultation with me, please be sure to leave your name and email on my website and I promise to get back to you soon.  

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