By Ellen Edwards, Board Member of The Counseling Center
The Counseling Center has added a new staff member—its third new arrival this fall. Virgil Roberson, Executive Director, and Jennifer Naparstek Klein, Clinical Director, are delighted to announce that Natalie Ryder Redcross, a candidate for certification as a Marriage & Family Therapist (MFT) at Iona University, is beginning an internship at The Counseling Center. She joins recently hired therapists Janice Moore and Tara Brennan.
In addition to three years of coursework, candidates for the MFT are required to complete 500 hours of clinical experience. Natalie will be carefully matched with clients and will receive extensive supervision from The Counseling Center staff as she puts into practice the skills she has learned in the classroom, at a previous internship, and through on-going clinical work at Iona.
Natalie is interested in working with individuals, couples and families, and people of various ethnicities and experiences. She has a particular interest in “culture-focused therapy.” In this increasingly important area of mental health care, therapists working with clients from diverse cultural backgrounds must learn to identify their own cultural points of view and innate biases that might interfere with their ability to accurately assess their clients. By being aware of her own unconscious responses, Natalie can better understand her clients’ feelings and behavior and more accurately identify areas where they are being challenged.
Natalie comes to The Counseling Center after having pursued career paths in journalism and education. After majoring in journalism and communications as an Iona undergraduate, she taught in a private elementary school for several years before realizing she would prefer teaching college students. That led her back to the classroom for a masters’ degree from Iona and eventually to a Ph.D. in Communication & Culture from Howard University. She is now in her thirteenth year on the faculty at Iona, where she serves as Associate Professor of Public Relations and Communications. She expects to complete the Marriage & Family Therapy program and become a certified Marriage & Family Therapist in the spring of 2024.
She came to this point unexpectedly. During the tumultuous summer of 2020, soon after the murder of George Floyd, Iona University faculty were invited to help form the “Anti-Racist Teaching and Learning Circle” from a desire to raise awareness and have open, healing discussions about race on campus. Natalie and a colleague, Christiana Awosan, a professor in the Marriage & Family Therapy program, decided to volunteer and serve as the point people of the group.
Christiana, a newcomer to the faculty, had extensive experience in racial trauma, and shared that everyone in what became Iona’s Anti-Racist Teaching and Learning Circle should have training for the type of work that lay ahead. She believed it was important that group members recognize their racial biases and learn ways to respectfully guide others toward awareness and recognition of their own biases for meaningful changes to occur.
For Natalie, receiving this training and engaging with this group, in which she remains active today, were transformative. She found the work fascinating; more than that, she found value in what she was doing. “We were making change before our eyes,” she said.
Since then, Natalie has completed almost two years of course work and an internship at a private practice in New Jersey, where she learned the Gottman method of client assessment. She is comfortable with both teletherapy and in-person therapy. Ultimately, what works best for the client is what will work best for Natalie.
Natalie was particularly drawn to The Counseling Center because of the opportunity to work in a nonprofit setting that offers fee subsidies for services to people who could not otherwise afford a therapist. The Counseling Center is equally thrilled to have Natalie on its staff. Clinical Director Jennifer Klein says, “Every handful of years, The Counseling Center decides to take on a very special trainee because of their evident natural ability, talent, intuition, and intellect. Natalie has all that and more. Her expertise in communication and culture adds value to what The Counseling Center can offer. Her impressive academic credentials make her a uniquely qualified individual to have on our staff.”
The entire staff and board of directors welcome Natalie Redcross and wish her well at The Counseling Center!
The Counseling Center is a nonprofit group of therapists located in Bronxville and serving its surrounding communities. Learn more at https://counselingcenter.org/. Or, if at any time you feel in need of comfort and support, please call 914-793-3388.