Analyze this! W’burg gets first therapy center, shrinking commutes to Manhattan

Analyze this! W’burg gets first therapy center, shrinking commutes to Manhattan
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Williamsburgers need not schlep to mom’s neighborhood to sit on the couch and talk about their mothers.

That’s right, North Brooklyn is no longer a therapy desert — potentially bringing an end to a long Upper West Side–bound caravan of therapy seekers who leave their native borough to visit psychologists or psychiatrists.

It’s all because Dr. Daniel Selling and three partners opened the Williamsburg Therapy Group — which they describe as the first psychology and psychiatry practice in North Brooklyn.

“I’ve lived here for eight years and there were no psychology offices here. Everyone was traveling to Manhattan,” said Selling. “I think people thought there wouldn’t be a clientele here.”

The six-month old practice is so popular that in August, the partners opened a second office in the neighborhood — a sign they are providing a much-needed service.

“It’s obviously an integral part of a cosmopolitan area,” said Selling, who is also the director of mental health for the New York City jail system.

Williamsburg already rivals or bests Manhattan in almost every category — so it’s about time to add therapy to the list, patients say.

“Any neighborhood that’s not served by a private practice isn’t giving its citizenry what it needs,” said Stephen, a patient who declined to give his last name because of the “stigma” still attached to going to therapy.

The new Williamsburg practice joins a smattering of individual psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers practicing in North Brooklyn — but it’s the first collective offering a full range of mental health services in the area.

Having neighborhood-centric practices is particularly important when it comes to optional medical care, which patients often ignore if it’s inconvenient.

“It’s harder to dedicate time when there’s not something close to where you live,” said Williamsburg resident Cynthia Summers, of the Guttmacher Institute in Manhattan.