Jennifer Eng-Thakker LSW
I lean away from the sitcom stereotype of the therapeutic echo chamber, which reflexively asks, “Well, what do you think?” Instead, I am here, rooted in the shared project of our work together – an authentic presence and a compassionate witness to both your struggles and your growth. My hope is that the struggles that now seem uninhabitable to you will become habitable by virtue of our having braved them together.
Back in the spring of 2003, I was walking through midtown Manhattan when I came upon a hand-lettered sign that read, “TALK TO ME.” Two people had decided to devote a year of their lives to sitting on the sidewalk and listening to strangers speak about whatever was on their minds. I remember talking about my first year as a high school English teacher, what it was like to wander around New York with The Great Gatsby roaring through my brain, and how I was on my way to meet up with my ex, with whom I had not spoken for about two years. And I remember how, even then, I could feel the simple, subtle sorcery of being listened to. When I started, my feelings were tumbling around inside of me, like loose change. But as I spoke, they became something else: something shared, something malleable, something valuable.
A full sixteen years later, I started my career as a therapist. It sounds like the point of this story is to demonstrate how I was always destined to enter this profession. But, to me, the main takeaway is this: Life is long. Sometimes it takes a while to figure things out.
In my mind, there are two main paradoxes to therapy. First, the therapist and client have a contractual relationship, but also a deeply personal one. Although it may feel haunting and even lonely to share so much of yourself with someone who is technically providing a service, the connection is personal for me, too. In my practice, I lean away from the sitcom stereotype of the therapeutic echo chamber, which reflexively asks, “Well, what do you think?” Instead, I am here, rooted in the shared project of our work together – an authentic presence and a compassionate witness to both your struggles and your growth.
Second, the therapeutic alliance constitutes a safe but challenging space. It is safe because our partnership allows you to be seen, understood, and cared for in profound ways. Because, somehow, the intimate distance of our relationship will enable us to consider your flaws and missteps with warmth, rather than heat. But it is challenging, even uncomfortable, because in our work we will come to navigate previously uncharted and perilous terrain. My hope is that the struggles that now seem uninhabitable to you will become habitable by virtue of our having braved them together.
My clinical interests include identity development; attachment conflicts; trauma; grief and loss; the conundrum of womanhood (including body image issues, sexuality and sexual subjectivity, infertility, and motherhood); the intersection between moral conscience and despair; and experiences of oppression, marginalization, and invisibility.Schedule a Meeting with Jennifer
- Identity Development
- Attachment Conflicts
- Grief and Loss
- Women’s Issues
- Body Image Issues
- Maternal Mental Health
- Sexuality & Sexual Subjectivity
- Oppression, Marginalization & Invisibility
Education & Training
- MSW, Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research
- Ed.M., Harvard Graduate School of Education
- BA, English Literature, Haverford College
- Member, National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
- Member, Philadelphia Society of Clinical Social Workers (PSCSW)