Bachelor of Fine Arts, School of Visual Arts; Masters in Social Work, Yeshiva University
Joan Erskine has been in private practice for more than thirty years, offering psychotherapy to children, families, couples, groups and individuals in Brooklyn, New York and collaborating with professionals in the schools and other medical fields. During the crisis of 911, Joan joined with social workers, educators, school principals, guidance counselors, psychologists, and physicians to support each other and to offer assistance to the community. They set-up and staffed walk-in clinics in a physician's office and a neighborhood school.
Joan is deeply non-judgmental, compassionate and offers the seasoned wisdom and knowledge that comes from many years of working to help people to live in ways we all desire – feeling good about oneself and experiencing satisfying relationships, fulfilling work and a sense of wellbeing.
Joan approach is non-pathological (not based on the idea that a client has an 'illness'), and centers on the theory of positive intent, that is, that all living organisms have one primary instinct and that is the instinct for mastery. Mastery is our desire to be the best that we can be. In other words, to master each task we face in life.
How does this translate into personal issues and therapy? Current brain research has taught us that the brain is hardwired to protect us by using the method it first learned when we were faced with difficulties. In other words, throughout our lives, we use coping skills we learned as very young children. The problem lies in that we didn't always learn the best ways to cope.
This means that under stress (especially regarding relationships, parenting, self-esteem) when people most need their adult brain in charge, our earliest style of thinking and solving problems gets triggered instead. Although we seek satisfying solutions, we use our child's brain which often causes us to fail, resulting instead in self blame or a sense of failure.
The world of psychotherapy has now learned a great deal about what it takes to make lasting change. Joan combines this information with the best of traditional psychotherapy to help people replace the old, automated responses of childhood by learning more effective new emotional responses (responses that we already use in less emotional areas of our lives).
Joan uses this work to help people with issues such as finding fulfilling relationships, improving marriages, finding greater satisfaction in work, developing effective parenting skills, and coping with stress.
Other interests and modalities: Joan has studied many methods of psychotherapy, including Modern Psychoanalysis; family therapy; child therapy; and Gestalt therapy. Prior to earning her Masters of Social Work from Yeshiva University, Joan had earned a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts. Joan worked as an artist and community organizer in the early 1980's and helped to organize art exhibitions and Open Studio Tours. Joan has shown her work in numerous shows in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Woodstock, NY. Creativity – painting, writing, and more – has always been a driving force in her life. In 2006, inspired by the healing powers of storytelling, Joan created a small, independent publishing company, Everybody's Write, LLC.