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Huilin Lai (She/Her), LCSW-R,CST

Tier IV Therapist/Coach

With an early passion in psychology, I moved from China to the US and studied at University of Pittsburgh in 2008. I have been a member and mentor in the Asian mental health communities for well over a decade. I am an expert in cross cultural issues, Asian Sexuality, complex traumas.  I’m an LCSW licensed to practice psychotherapy by New York State, an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist (CST), and an EMDRIA certified EMDR therapist. I’m also licensed to practice psychotherapy in China. 
While my work as a therapist is my primary focus, I like to stay involved in education, research and community outreach. To this end, I have facilitated numerous psycho-educational workshops and therapeutic groups on relationship, sexuality education and trauma healing in a variety of clinical and community based settings. I am a field instructor at New York University, where I train master level social work and mental health counseling students through clinical practice. I'm the founder and director of Ally Counseling and Therapy. I offer supervision to emerging therapists and consultations to seasoned psychotherapists. I welcome people of every ability, age, gender, national origin, race/ethnicity, religious affiliation, and sexual orientation.
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Therapeutic Approaches 

My personal approach is warm, flexible and interactive. I also bring my multicultural perspectives into work. I have expertise in several therapeutic approaches and can work flexibly with you to figure out what works best. Some of the specific scientifically supported treatments in which I have expertise include: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Ericksonian Hypnotherapy, Sex therapy, Sexuality education, Internal Family System (IFS), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Attachment Based, Solution Focused, Mindfulness based, Psychoeducational, Life Coaching, Couples therapy, Family System and Spirituality.


Traumas (PTSD, attachment traumas, medical traumas etc), relationship issues, sex and sexuality related issues, women's issues, cultural adjustment, international students life coaching​​, ADHD, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem


  • License: New York State/LCSW-R081942
  • License: New Jersey State/LCSW-44SC06116900
  • Degree: University of Pittsburgh/Master of Social Work

  • Certificate: University of Michigan / Sex Therapy and Sexuality Education

  • Certificate: The EMDR International Association/Certified EMDR Therapist

  • ​Certificate: American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) /Certified Sex Therapist

  • Certificate: New York Milton H. Erikson Society for Psychotherapy and Hypnosis (NYSEPH)/ Clinical Ericksonian Hypnosis

  • Certificate: School of Social Work at New York University/SIFI Certified Field Instructor 

  • Advance training: Internal Family System (IFS) Circle 

More about me

Interesting Q & A with clients and supervisees over the years


Q: Why do you become a therapist?

A: "I was always curious about human minds ever since elementary school. I thought about becoming a spy back then, but I didn't have any access to secret service training, so I chose psychology instead. I found it really rewarding to be a therapist. "

Q: What do you think about diagnosis?
A:  " It doesn't matter. You matter more, You Are More Than Your Diagnosis. Diagnosis only matters to insurance companies! No matter whether you’ve been given a diagnosis and regardless of what you’ve been diagnosed with, to me, you are much more than your diagnosis. I’m not interested in labeling you, and I would encourage you to begin seeing yourself beyond any labels too "

Q: Do therapists just sit there and nod?
A: Haha, I do sit there and listen, but  I will listen with genuine interest. I’m also an active participant in our work together. You won’t feel like you’re just talking to a "robot" programmed with the professional answers. 

Q: Is hypnotherapy the same as mindfulness? I'm a newbie
A:  It's a really good question. Hypnotherapy and mindfulness are both very therapeutic and helpful. Kabat-Zinn described mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” You will learn how to slow down and tune into your moment-to-moment experiences with open curiosity, which may help you regain an inner state of stillness and clarity crucial for both healing and finding solutions to problems. Mindfulness is explicitly not directed at a particular goal

Hypnotherapy is a similar experiential process but not necessarily focusing on here and now, and can be very goal oriented. To process past experience, I often guide clients to travel back in time in hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy also involves being responsive to suggestion, meaning it is goal-directed behavior, unlike mindfulness. 

Q: What about homework?
A: Yes, I firmly believe that doing work outside of therapy will help you to build up  emotional wellness muscles, expand comfort zone, and solidify the gains made during our sessions together. Of course with permission from every single part of you, you may leave therapy sessions with homework assignment(s) tailored to you based on the great work you’ve done. You might be asked to work on self care, connect with more supportive being or tighten up your social circles to allow more time and space for yourself, reinforce an old skill, experiment with something new, write a poem, take a cooking lesson, etc…

​Q: What is the most important part of being a therapist and coach?

A: "Humility. I really appreciate the diversity of my clients.  They are my best teachers. "

Q: What will you do when you retire?

A: "I always want to be a farmer. I'm thinking purchasing a therapeutic farm and use it for farming, therapeutic retreat and animal rescue. "

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