Huilin Lai, LCSW-R,CST
Founder & Executive Director
Tier IV Therapist/Coach
With a deep passion for psychology, I embarked on a transformative journey from China to the US, where I enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh in 2008. Fast forward over a decade, and I have devoted myself to empowering and supporting the Asian mental health communities. As an experienced therapist with expertise in cross-cultural issues, Asian sexuality, and complex traumas, I hold a license as an LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker), allowing me to practice psychotherapy in New York, New Jersey, Florida and Vermont. Additionally, I am recognized as an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist (CST) and an EMDRIA certified EMDR therapist. Furthermore, I am a licensed psychotherapist in China, enabling me to provide therapeutic services across different cultural contexts.
With over ten years of clinical experience, I firmly believe in the significance of the therapeutic relationship and the importance of honing professional skills. I have unwavering faith in the potential and strength of each individual, and through counseling, my goal is to assist clients in discovering their own ability and motivation to overcome challenges. Ultimately, my aim is to empower them to share the power of healing with others in need. In my practice, I integrate evidence-based interventions that have been proven effective in clinical settings. I strive to translate complex psychological theories into everyday language or warm and humorous stories, enabling clients to engage with their bodies, absorb, and internalize the concepts on a deeper level.
My goal is to assist clients in discovering their own ability and motivation to overcome challenges.
While my primary focus is on my work as a therapist, I also actively engage in education, research, and community outreach. I have had the privilege of facilitating numerous psycho-educational workshops and therapeutic groups on topics such as relationships, sexuality education, and trauma healing. These initiatives have taken place in various clinical and community-based settings. Additionally, I serve as a field instructor at New York University, where I provide training and guidance to master-level social work and mental health counseling students in their clinical practice. As the founder and director of Ally Counseling and Therapy, I offer supervision to emerging therapists and consultations to seasoned psychotherapists. I believe in creating an inclusive and welcoming space for individuals of all abilities, ages, genders, national origins, races/ethnicities, religious affiliations, and sexual orientations.
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
Degree: University of Pittsburgh/Master of Social Work
License: New York State/LCSW-R081942
License: New Jersey State/LCSW-44SC06116900
Registration: Florida Out of State Telehealth Provider
Registration: Vermont Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker - Interim Telehealth Registration
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
Advanced Training: Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy ( AEDP) Immersion Course
Advanced 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: "Well, when I was a kid, I had this intense curiosity about the human mind. I even considered becoming a spy, but secret service training wasn't readily available, so I settled for psychology instead. Turns out, being a therapist is just as rewarding!"
Q: What do you think about the 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! Well, yes, I do sit and listen, but I promise it's with genuine interest. I'm not just a 'nodding robot.' I actively participate in our work together. So, no worries, it won't feel like you're talking to a programmed professional."
Q: Is hypnotherapy the same as mindfulness? I'm a newbie
A: That's a really good question. Hypnotherapy and mindfulness are both incredibly therapeutic and helpful in their own ways. Mindfulness, as described by Kabat-Zinn, involves paying attention in a particular way, with no specific goal in mind, fully present in the moment, and without judgment. It teaches you to slow down and engage with your experiences, fostering a sense of stillness and clarity that is vital for healing and problem-solving. Mindfulness is all about being present and not actively trying to change anything.
On the other hand, hypnotherapy is a similar experiential process but doesn't necessarily focus on the present moment. It can be more goal-oriented and directed toward specific outcomes. In hypnotherapy, I often guide clients to explore their past experiences by metaphorically traveling through time or even to a different imaginative realm. It involves being receptive to suggestions, which allows us to work towards specific goals and desired behaviors. So while there are similarities between hypnotherapy and mindfulness, they have distinct approaches and purposes.
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 your 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 a 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 beings 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: "Ah, retirement dreams! Well, I've always had a fascination with farming. So, I've been toying with the idea of purchasing a therapeutic farm. Imagine using it for farming, as a therapeutic retreat, and even for animal rescue. The possibilities are endless!"