This month’s featured provider is Tara Merchant, LMHC.
Tara is a person-centered, non-judgmental, relationship-based LMHC (licensed mental health counselor) who recognizes the intrinsic value of all people and holds positive regard for all her clients. Tara views counseling as a collaborative effort by providing psychoeducation and coping skills for the obstacles with which clients may be struggling, and clients provide insights as the experts on themselves. She believes that all thoughts, feelings and behaviors are interconnected, having valid underlying factors. Tara seeks to help clients connect the dots, from both past and present, to have a greater understanding of themselves and their environments. She also fosters a safe space for clients to identify and embrace their feelings toward emotional catharsis.
Tara received her Bachelor’s Degree from Purchase College, State University of NY, and her Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Long Island University. She has an eclectic style that utilizes Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy and psychodynamic modality. Tara aims to uphold cultural humility for ongoing learning and awareness that supports racial and social equity. She is experienced in working with relationship issues, anxiety, depression and child development.
What podcast or book are you currently reading/listening to?
“Brene Brown’s Unlocking Us podcast. She is one of my favorite voices in the field and has sparked helpful consideration of what it means to be vulnerable in order to connect with others. And if I’m not watching TV or listening to my girl, Brene, I am absolutely reading the one and only Harry Potter. (I think my letter to Hogwarts or Ilvermorny got lost in the mail, but that’s okay, I’ve accepted muggle life…) ”
What is on your bucket list?
“I have to say that should we ever get out of this pandemic, I would love to travel more and see other countries, mostly to eat their food!”
What do you love to do when you aren’t seeing patients:
“When I’m not seeing patients, I love to hang out with friends or family because despite being an introvert, I’m a person who needs people – none of us can go it alone. Also, I love watching TV shows, probably an unhealthy amount, but I count it as self-care.”
Best advice for navigating 2022:
“Don’t touch anything! We don’t need any more germs. Just kidding. My advice is that there are no “should”s. There are so many culturally imposed timelines, standards and internalized messages we live by, but if some of those aren’t working for you, it’s okay to challenge them.”
Most memorable moment of 2021:
“The most memorable moment of 2021 was when I found out my husband and I were about to become three! It was all rainbows for about five seconds and then reality sunk in and it was terrifying, but now it’s less terrifying :)”
Lesser known facts about you:
“Some lesser-known facts about me include that I love to sing! My original dream was to be on Broadway, but now I’m just one of those people who tries to actually sound good at karaoke. I also haven’t eaten meat in 13 years! My husband and I went mostly vegan in 2017 – people think it’s healthy, but we eat the Impossible sliders from White Castle.”
What would you like to say to potential patients:
“So if you want to have someone to talk to, please book an appointment! There are many benefits of therapy to consider. For one: being able to process thoughts and feelings with someone who is trained in how to respond therapeutically. Two: having a compartmentalized outlet to release opinions, anxieties, irrational thoughts, etc. without fear of judgment or impact on your inner circle. And three: there’s a magic to saying words out loud. Hearing yourself say a thought can either take away its power or reinforce your belief in it. The goal is to figure out which you want to do with it.”