October 19, 2022

Therapy for Children, Adolescents, and Adults Is Available from Nomad Center For Counseling

HELP AND HOPE: “We are grateful to be able to have a positive impact on a person’s life, help them to develop resilience, and give them strength and confidence. It is so important to give them support and hope. They have more inner strength than they realize.” Josée Graybill LCSW, founder and director of The Nomad Center For Counseling, left, and her colleague Magdalena Zilveti Manasson LAC, ATR-P help clients who are struggling with anxiety and depression, and other difficult conditions.

By Jean Stratton

These are troubling times for many people, especially, according to health care studies and mental health professionals, adolescents and young people.

Stress is on the rise due to a variety of reasons, particularly since the advent of COVID-19. Uncertainty in so many areas of life today adds to the overall unease felt by so many.

More people, including young people and children, are seeing therapists who can help them understand their problem and its causes, and hopefully guide them to a positive outcome.

The Nomad Center For Counseling at 166 Bunn Drive, Suite 108 offers help for children, adolescents, and adults, and also for the expanding French population in Princeton. In fact, 60 percent of the practice is focused on French clients.

Helping People

Founder and Director Josée Graybill, a licensed clinical social worker  and psychotherapist, opened the practice in 2013. after previous work in psychotherapy in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Manhattan.

Born in Montreal to a French Canadian family, she moved to the U.S. to pursue her studies. “At first, I wanted to study theater,” she recalls, “but then I became more aware of human suffering, and I wanted to find ways to alleviate it. I wanted to help people.”

She received a master’s degree in social work from New York University, and continued post-graduate training, earning a Certificate from the New York Institute For Psychotherapy Training in Infancy, Childhood, and Adolescence.

Before coming to Princeton in 2006, Graybill worked in school-based mental health programs and mental health clinics in Brooklyn. She also maintained a private practice in New York City, while caring for patients at Brooklyn psychiatric centers. In Princeton, she worked at the Carrier Clinic in an in-patient psychiatric setting, and then joined the clinical team of Alexander Road Associates as a psychotherapist while establishing her private practice.

She has dedicated the last 15 years to her private practice working with children, adolescents, and adults, serving the French and American community of New Jersey.

Having gone through the acculturation and adaptation process herself helped shape her identity, enabling her to gain a deeper understanding of the “nomadic” experience. This was also instrumental in naming her practice.

Mental Health Crisis

Initially, the name of her solo practice, was Josée Graybill Psychotherapy, she explains. ”In December of 2021, the surgeon general issued an advisory report, declaring a youth mental health crisis, which already existed before the pandemic, but was being brought into devastating focus during COVID-19.

“His report and the increased need both in the New Jersey population and the Francophile expatriate community in New Jersey were the main inspiration for my decision to expand the practice and create the Nomad Center For Counseling, Inc., which is now formally a group practice.

“Magdalena Zilveti Manasson joined me this year. She has a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the University of France, and received a master’s of counseling, with a specialty in art therapy, from  Caldwell University when she came to the U.S. Her credentials are a licensed associate counselor, also known as an LAC-ATR-P.”

After working in California, including as a life coach, for 13 years, Manasson moved to the East Coast, and completed post-graduate training. She received certificates in multiple therapeutic disciplines, including Gottman Method for Couples Therapy and Tech Addition and Digital Health.

She has worked as a coach and therapist in day care, school-based programs, hospitals, and corporate fields in France and in the U.S. While in California, she founded her coaching company, Intelligence Nomade, to support individuals in overcoming life transitions and crises. She gained extensive experience providing therapy services and coaching to international populations in French, Spanish, and English.

In addition to a book, she has written many articles on adaptation and emotional management during expatriation. As a child of South American refugees in France, then an emigrant to the U.S. with her family, Manasson has a firsthand understanding of the complexity and challenges of living in a new country.

Root Causes

Both Graybill and Manasson have seen extraordinary increases in the numbers of people seeking therapy, especially since COVID-19, and it’s not just in the U.S., they point out. “Rates of anxiety and depression have doubled globally since COVID-19. Overall, in our practice, we are seeing many, many more cases of mental health problems than in the past.”

The toll it is taking on younger people is striking, adds Graybill. “Young people increasingly struggle with feelings of helplessness, depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide. These rates have increased over the past decade. Some of the root causes of this increase have been attributed to the state of the world — more specifically, climate change — racial injustice, the increased use of social media, and academic pressures.”

The pandemic exacerbated existing problems, and caused new ones, she reports. “In our practice, since the pandemic, as I said, there has been an increase in anxiety, depression, and also feelings of isolation and loneliness. The focus of my work has changed in that the state of the world has become more prevalent as part of the therapy of the young people and adults I see — although it is affecting young people in a more powerful way.”

There can also be family problems, peer pressure, and self-esteem issues, she observes. Children and young people are dealing with so many issues, both environmental and personal. Parents may be divorcing, causing anxiety and depression for the children. Sometimes, they blame themselves for the breakup.

When a client arrives seeking help, it is very important to gain the individual’s trust, explain the therapists. “We help them to feel safe and comfortable, and our focus is on psychotherapy, which can include conversation, play therapy with children, and art therapy.

“Our approach is based largely on the foundational principles of psychodynamic psychotherapy, Jungian thought, relational and attachment-based theory, as well as mindfulness, and art therapy. Our modalities are individual, family, and couples therapy. All therapies are offered in person or virtually through our secure telehealth platform Simple Practice.”

Group Therapy

Individual sessions are more appropriate for some patients, but others can do well in group therapy, they note. “With group, there is a common denominator — all have the same type of problem. They realize that others are having similar problems, and they are not alone. That can be helpful and comforting. There are typically four in a group.”

Graybill and Manasson do not prescribe medication, but if psychotherapy alone is not providing enough progress, access to a psychiatrist, who can prescribe medicine, can be offered.

“We can refer the patient to a psychiatrist, and we will collaborate,” explains Graybill. “If medication is prescribed, this can be coordinated with the psychotherapy.”

Regarding the therapy for the French population, she says that this is an important part of the practice. “They can have special situations as expats. Perhaps they have just come and need to learn English, trying to deal with this in a new school setting. It could be a marriage between one American and one French spouse. There is the need for cultural adaptation to a new country, and this can lead to anxiety and depression. Sessions in English, French, and Spanish are available.”

Nomad sees clients of all ages, although with a focus on children and adolescents. Patients as young as 4 years old have been treated, and the therapists point out it is never too soon to seek help.

Positive Outcome

How to determine when anxiety and depression are cause for serious concern and not simply part of a bad day or worry over an upcoming test at school is also important.

If an individual’s daily life is affected, it is time to be concerned, note the therapists. Not interacting with friends or colleagues, not sleeping or eating, and being afraid to leave the house are all signs to be taken seriously.

“What schools and parents can do to help is to empower youth and families to recognize, manage, and learn from difficult emotions,” explains Graybill. “The need for increased mental health screenings in schools and pediatrician’s offices can be a huge positive predictor of positive outcome for young people’s mental health.”

“De-stigmatizing mental health can also be a big step in allowing young people to feel more comfortable coming forward with their need for help,” she continues. “Unfortunately, even though it is more openly discussed today, there is still a stigma about mental health. Patients realize this too, and think there is something wrong with them.”

Sessions at Nomad are typically 50 minutes for one-on-one therapy and 60 minutes for couples and family. Clients are usually seen once a week, and the overall number of visits depends on each individual case. There is not really a specific timetable.

Graybill and Manasson look forward to helping more clients gain confidence, belief in themselves, and the ability to move forward with their lives. As they say, “Our mission is built on the belief that each person has an innate ability to heal and that all individuals, regardless of country or culture, deserve someone to help light the path forward. Our goal is to provide a compassionate, creative therapeutic setting where a trusting relationship can be established between therapist and client, allowing for the journey of growth and healing to unfold.”

For more information on pricing and appointments, call (609) 293-6399. Visit the website at thenovadcenterforcounseling.com.