Grad Alumni Spotlight: Sarah Bess Edelman

Sarah Bess Edelman is a May 2012 graduate from the Master’s in Mental Health Counseling program at Steinhardt. She is currently a supervisor and therapist for the FFTCW PICHO Program at New York Foundling, and developing her private practice as a therapist.

How did you find your current job and what Wasserman services or programs did you use, if any?
I was a counseling intern at the New York Foundling when I was in graduate school getting my Masters’ in Mental Health Counseling. I had previous experience working with kids and conducting assessments and the internship coordinator thought it would be a great match. As graduation started to approach, I applied internally and was lucky enough to get a job as a therapist before I graduated. I sought help with a Career Coach at Wasserman when I wanted to make sure my resume made me stand out. It worked! I have been working at New York Foundling for over five years!

What’s your favorite part of your work?
For almost two years, I have been supervisor in a program that I am passionate about. The PICHO program helps reduce risk of hospitalization for kids, teenagers, and young adults with severe mental illness by providing evidence-based family therapy. I supervise four dedicated wonderful therapists and get to provide therapy myself. I find joy in seeing the program grow and succeed as well as in seeing my client families feel empowered.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
As a therapist, you hear heartbreaking stories and you are with your clients through many ups and downs. This is a rewarding, yet draining part of my job. I find it important to make space for self-care, which for me includes meditation, friends who make me laugh, and long vacations.

What classes or projects did you work on in school that helped prepare you for the work in your current position?
The most incredible classes I took in my program were the experiential classes where I was able to provide therapy and receive therapy from my classmates. We were paired with partners and watched live through a video and then given critiques. As I have advanced in the field, I have learned that in vivo instruction is rare and powerful. I grew so much as a therapist and a person in my first year of grad school thanks to these classes, my peers, and my instructors.

What advice do you have for current students looking for jobs in your industry?
Don’t be afraid to reach out to your peers for help. I was able to help someone who graduated with me land a job at New York Foundling and we still work together. I recently reached out to classmates to help me start my private practice and they have been gracious with their time and knowledge.

What are some common misconceptions about your work?
Therapists are not always analyzing the people they meet. So many people have met me and said, “Are you analyzing me right now?” The answer is no!

Also, you don’t have to have everything in your life figured out to be an awesome therapist. Fun fact: Therapists often have their own therapists!