Our Therapeutic Approach

The Center for Optimal Living offers therapy for the full range of substance use and mental health issues. We believe that effective therapy “starts where the person is” and honors their values, personal preferences and cultural background. Our therapeutic process begins with a comprehensive initial evaluation designed to help us to determine our clients’ unique needs, strengths and goals, which informs our therapeutic plan that enhances motivation and positive change.

Our services are provided by psychologists and other practitioners with expertise in substance issues, other risky and addictive behaviors, and a wide array of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and trauma. Our approach is a combination of evidence-based science and mindfulness-based traditions tailored to each client’s needs.

Daytime, evening, and weekend appointments are available. Some clients also benefit from our additional “field coaching” therapeutic services provided outside the office setting to support them in meeting their goals. We work very collaboratively with and value our relationships with outside providers. Clients with outside providers are welcome to work with us individually, in groups, and in couples and family therapy. Please call 212-213-8905 x2 or email info@cfol.org to request additional information, make a referral, or set up an initial consultation. You can begin your change process now by working through The Positive Change Pathway, a free six step guide developed by Dr. Andrew Tatarsky.

The Center for Optimal Living will help you to figure out whether moderate, less harmful substance use, or abstinence is best suited for you, and tailor our services to help you pursue your chosen goal. Our approach utilizes Integrative Harm Reduction Psychotherapy (IHRP), developed by our founder and director, Dr. Andrew Tatarsky. Our team members have expertise in Integrative Harm Reduction Psychotherapy and work collaboratively to address issues related to substance misuse, other risky and addictive behaviors, and mental health issues. We also help clients address their relationship to food, sex, gambling, work, the internet, gaming, and other behaviors that may be problematic for them. Our team members have training in a wide array of therapeutic techniques and areas of specialization, allowing us to provide treatment that meets a range of unique needs and is individually tailored to each client.

The cornerstone of IHRP is a collaborative therapeutic relationship that “starts where the person is.” This relationship supports the development of practical skills and strategies to manage urges, cravings and difficult emotions, based on mindfulness and other empowering self-management strategies. IHRP also focuses on increasing clients’ insight and capacity to reflect on the meanings and functions of problematic behaviors and work towards developing alternative, healthier solutions.


Our Treatment Options

Comprehensive evaluation

We believe the initial evaluation process should itself constitute the starting point of each client’s treatment. We evaluate each individual sensitively and respectfully, seeking to learn about their unique set of needs and perspectives. Our goal is for both client and practitioner to emerge with a framework for the journey they wish to take together, and the basis of a healing, collaborative relationship.

Individual psychotherapy
The majority of our clients, whether adults or adolescents, work with a member of our team on a one-to-one basis. This provides the opportunity to develop a truly individualized, collaborative therapeutic relationship.

Group therapy
We offer group therapy to support individual psychotherapy and create a more intensive level of care, if needed. Group therapy can also be utilized in conjunction with services from providers outside the Center. All of our groups are mixed, with some members pursuing moderate drinking or substance use and some abstaining from substances. Read more about the groups that currently meet at the Center.

Couples and Family therapy
Relationships are a tremendously powerful vehicle for change. Family and couple relationships in particular offer history, meaning, and opportunities for powerful motivation. Problematic behaviors around substance use and other mental health issues can often directly or indirectly relationships, and relationships often impact problematic substance use and mental health. We provide families and couples with the chance to work together in a therapeutic, healing environment. Several of our team members have extensive experience of helping families and couples to address a range of issues.

Holistic Health Services
Acupuncture, yoga, and holistic health can complement traditional psychotherapy to provide a truly integrative approach to healing from substance misuse, problematic behaviors and other mental health issues. We offer a range of individual and group-based acupuncture, meditation, yoga, and holistic health services to address a wide range of issues including: anxiety, depression, cravings, withdrawal symptoms, insomnia, chronic pain, trauma, headaches, smoking cessation, reproductive and menstrual issues, and other common conditions. Learn more about our programs.

Yoga Therapy
Yoga therapy sessions bring the mind-body connection into substance misuse treatment and are designed to meet the specific needs of each client. The combination of relaxation and movement in yoga helps cultivate a greater capacity for emotional regulation and self-acceptance and can reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. Yoga sessions included gentle yoga, restorative poses, and meditation and are 55 minutes. Contact info@cfol.org for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Psychedelic Education and Continuing Care Program
The Psychedelic Education and Continuing Care Program is designed to assist people who have had psychedelic experiences and are seeking support in connection with those experiences, as well as people who would like to learn more about psychedelics but may not have had personal experiences with these substances. Our overarching intention for the program is to increase awareness and reduce risks of psychedelic use. Learn more about this program here.

Please call 212-213-8905 x2 or email info@cfol.org to request additional information or set up a consultation.