By Carolynn Hillman
I have always been interested in what makes people tick. As a preteen I would watch TV dramas with my Mom, a homemaker, and she would explain dynamics to me: “that person is saying this, but is really feeling that, and the reason for that is..” This was fascinating to me. I was also always interested in hearing people’s feelings and was often the person to whom peers chose to confide their problems, even people that didn’t particularly like me. So when in 1960 I set off for college in NY from my home in West Hartford, CT I was sure that I would major in psychology. Then I took my first psych course and found out that the Barnard/Columbia psych coursework was heavily devoted to experimental psych (something I had never previous known existed). Having thrown up in tenth grade biology when I had to dissect a frog I knew that experiments with rats in labs wasn’t for me. I changed majors, but my love for the clinical remained.
I eventually turned to a Social Work degree and then, after 5 yrs clinical experience, to analytic training at NIP as the way to pursue my love of working with and helping people. During my analytic training, I also completed a two-year training program in Sex Therapy. (I had a lot more energy back then). Since graduating from NIP in 1977 I have maintained a private practice of individual, couples, and sex therapy, primarily in my office on the upper west side of NYC but also out of my home office in Teaneck.
Shortly after graduation from NIP my late husband Steve and I started a family. When my younger daughter started school I for some reason decided I wanted to write a book. Maybe I thought I didn’t have enough to do with only working and, along with my husband, taking care of a family. (I must have been out of my mind). Anyway in my “spare time” (mostly very late at night. Luckily I’m a night owl) I ended up over a period of many years writing two self-help books: Recovery Of Your Self-Esteem :(Simon & Schuster, 1992). (Excerpted in Good Housekeeping, New Woman, Fitness, and Beauty Handbook).and Love Your Looks: (Simon & Schuster, 1996) (Excerpted in Cosmopolitan, Self, and recommended in New Woman) . In the mid 90s, as my two daughters reached their mid and late teens, I took and completed the supervisory training program at Postgraduate Center for Mental Health and then went on to become a senior supervisor and training analyst there and at CCAPS. I also became certified in EMDR, and I am a Clinical Instructor in Psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center.
I enjoy working with both individuals and couples and am on the CPPNJ couples faculty. My orientation is relational and based in object relations, however I believe strongly in letting the theory fit the patient rather than making the patient fit the theory. I also love teaching and supervising, and find it very gratifying to see candidates grow and come into their own.