Survey Response: Liz Wallenstein, LMHC

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This survey was last updated in November 2011.

Contact Information:
Liz Wallenstein, LMHC
Private Practice Psychotherapy
1389 E. 18th St., Suite 1B, Brooklyn NY
19 W. 34th St., Manhattan NY
Tel: 917-727-3549

Degrees/Licenses Held:
Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC)
MA, EdM- Masters in Psychological Counseling from Columbia University

Number of years in practice: 8

Number of years in practice with patients who have TMS: 6

What is your association to the TMS community?/ Have you ever suffered from TMS?
I recovered from TMS (mainly chronic back pain) in 1997 by reading Dr. Sarno’s Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection and then attending his lecture. What I learned about the subconscious, personality types and how the way we manage our feelings can affect our health and daily living, was a significant part of what inspired me to become a psychotherapist years later. There were a few points over the years that I would feel a twinge of TMS pain and would use psychotherapy myself to identify and work through what I was repressing, as a way of warding off a relapse of pain. Now as a psychotherapist, I help people to identify if they are suffering from TMS, and engage them in psychotherapy work to free them of their pain. I work with people who are new to the TMS approach, as well as others who have episodes of “relapse” or find their pain moving instead of going away.

Are you able to conduct therapy sessions over the phone?
Phone sessions are okay once in a while when a patient cannot make it into the office but are not the preferred mode of treatment.

What insurance plans do you currently accept?/ Do you have a sliding scale of payment for people who are not covered by insurance?
I am not in-network for any insurance companies. I can provide the necessary documentation for out-of-network insurance reimbursement though. I also accommodate patients with a sliding scale fee.

What have you done to educate yourself about TMS, and what plans do you have for further education about TMS?
I have read all of Dr. Sarno’s books on TMS, attended two of his lectures, and read other professionals’ work on the subject as well. I also consult with other TMS practitioners on a regular basis to ensure I am up to date on the latest research and effective forms of treatment.

As we are going to post your answers on the TMS Wiki, feel free to write some text to introduce yourself:
I'm a licensed mental health counselor with a Masters in psychological counseling from Columbia University. I work with general mental health/ life issues, but have a specialty in helping people find relief from chronic TMS pain by gaining greater insight into themselves and how they function in their lives and in their relationships. I offer both professional and personal understanding of what it’s like to live with TMS pain and what’s necessary to recover from it. I treat each person as an individual, using insight, the therapeutic relationship, and support to facilitate growth and healing. It's important to me to give each client of mine the attention and care they deserve.

I know first-hand how excruciating and debilitating TMS pain can be. But I also know it’s possible to become pain-free, and even grow and thrive as a person because of it!

I treat TMS pain as your psyche’s way of trying to communicate something to you. It could be a long repressed part of you begging to be expressed, a reality that needs to be confronted, disconnected feelings wanting to be engaged, a belief system being challenged, or a way of being that has stopped working for you. But until you give it your mental attention, it will continue to try to grab at your attention through physical expression.

As a TMS therapist I facilitate self-awareness through guided conversation in a caring, safe environment. I help clients connect with repressed thoughts, feelings and parts of self in order to find relief and healing physically, emotionally and mentally. Compared with general psychotherapy, my TMS work is guided by an understanding of common dynamics, personality structures and thought patterns that lead to TMS pain. Once I help clients gain awareness of what’s at the root of their TMS, they can choose how they want to respond to it, though even just the awareness itself can be helpful and healing.

There is a common misconception that people should be able to rid themselves of pain and TMS psychotherapy is only for victims of abuse or people in particularly difficult life situations. THIS IS NOT TRUE. My clients are mostly well-adjusted, competent people with normal lives, but are holding onto a belief or way of being that is not serving them and need expert help in identifying it. Many have successfully found relief of pain just by educating themselves about TMS, but experience relapses of pain or are frustrated at not being able to eliminate it completely from their lives.

What inspires me towards TMS work is, what began feeling like a curse can become a tremendous blessing. TMS can be way more than a pain syndrome; it can be a calling. Your TMS is trying to help you- it’s telling you that you are not living your whole truth. There is a part of you that is being denied that is begging to come through. My clients often start out very hesitant to come for treatment, but they usually end up saying they are very grateful that they did. By wanting to bring relief and healing to their physical body, they brought relief and healing to parts deeper within them they didn’t even know were hurting.

Before beginning treatment with me, clients need to have met with a medical doctor to rule out serious disease and illness. Since I am in NY, I recommend seeing Dr.’s Sarno’s successor at NYU, Dr. Ira Rashbaum, for an evaluation (office #: 212-263-6477). Clients should also have already educated themselves about TMS through reading one of Dr. Sarno’s books.

The majority of treatment must be in-person. I can do Skype when needed with someone I already have an in-person relationship with.

I have office hours in Brooklyn and Manhattan, NY. I offer a low-fee, in-person consultation session before beginning treatment. I work on a sliding scale to accommodate most people and can provide the necessary documentation for out-of-network insurance reimbursement.

I do not take insurance. If you have out-of-network mental health benefits (you can ask your provider- usually it’s a percentage back after reaching a deductible) I can provide you with the documentation needed to receive them.

You can learn more about me and the work I do at my website:

DISCLAIMER: The TMS Wiki is for informational and support purposes only and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. See Full Disclaimer.