ABOUT Justin Lioi, LCSW - Brooklyn, NY

About Justin Lioi

justinlioipictureMy first word: “Why?”

From a young age I have been interested in why people do what they do. Being born to two Italian parents the importance of family is embedded in me. I was one of those kids that was constantly (some would say, ‘overly’) intrigued by why people did the things they did–in fact the first time a teacher called my parents to complain about my behavior was due to my asking “Why?” too much in science class. It seems that my curiosity was disruptive to the others!

Therapy Cred

Now I’m a Licensed Clinical Social Worker which means that I completed a Master’s Degree (NYU) and have had at least 3 years post graduation (I’ve had 6) providing psychotherapy and have passed two exams. We in New York know just what passing exams proves (see: Common Core, right?), but my experience has given me a lot of practical, hands on time to apply that knowledge to real life people. Past clients have expressed that I was able to provide them with a comfortable space to reveal their sadness, anxiety, shame and fears along with their triumphs and joys. I am also a supervisor to other social workers. I’ve worked at Good Shepherd Services and the Jewish Child Care Association (as well as know plenty of Buddhists with whom I facilitate a local mindfulness meditation group!) I am a board member at the National Association of Social Workers and a published Topic Expert on GoodTherapy.org.

How I Work

My passion has always been supporting people in discovering what’s already present in themselves. I thrive on watching an individual learn how to get out of his or her own way by helping them to discover patterns–patterns that were once extremely helpful for survival, but today provide only “stuckness.” The most effective way I know to do this is within the counseling relationship. I’m not here to tell you what to do–you can go down the block to Barnes & Noble to find step-by-step guides to happiness. My job is to support you in solidifying what’s right and support you in undoing what doesn’t work so well. Feel free to laugh at me too–I hope it’s apparent by now that I think a sense of humor is essential to this process–and I want the same for all the people who walk into my office. If getting to an office seems too daunting and scheduling seems like a challenge, I offer online sessions from your home, your office–even your car if you’re not driving!

The Road to the Counselor’s Chair

Following that elementary school science class I followed my interest in becoming an actor. I was able to sing and dance in various parts of the country (from NYC to LA to even the Badlands of North Dakota!) and studied in London with members of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Studying acting at a young age gave me a particular insight into what makes us all tick. Years of learning how to get inside someone else’s skin provided–unknowingly at the time–lots of information regarding the choices we make (and the choices we don’t realize we are making.) I’ve never been one who believes we are supposed to accept the cards we’re handed (I’m also terrible at poker), but a firm believer in the possibility of happiness (and parentheses apparently.)

Work with Families

My interest in working with parents came from 9 years as a Music Together instructor in Park Slope, Bay Ridge and Soho. During this I was able to observe and musically help fathers and mothers connect with their children as well as confront some of their own insecurities in being their child’s first music teacher. It was during that time that I became especially interested in finding ways to work with parents in a deeper way and spent the next several years as a therapist providing counseling for families. While the amazing resilience of children has always impressed me, it is the willingness and bravery of parents who dive into the world’s hardest job, sometimes not even having positive modeling during their own childhood, that has fueled my interest. I choose to work with parents with or without their children because I believe they are the major change agents for themselves and their children.

When Leaving the Office

I’d be no good at my job if I didn’t fill my non-working time with enjoyment as well. With a subscription to BAM and weekly sitting with a local meditation group I am able to feed my passion for movies and a deep connection with good friends and family. I spend as much time in Prospect Park as I can and look forward to the Celebrate Brooklyn season each summer (especially the silent films, of course!)