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Erica Gardner-Schuster, PhD

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Erica Gardner-Schuster, PhD 

Director, Find Your Way Home Group Psychotherapy Services, New York

Dr. Erica Gardner-Schuster is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Group Psychotherapist in New York City who supports people in making meaningful, lasting changes in their lives and relationships.


She has served in multiple roles in group therapy and mental health professional organization leadership and scholarship, including as President of the Eastern Group Psychotherapy Society (EGPS), Instructor of Group Therapy at the New School for Social Research, and Associate Editor of GROUP journal. She specializes in working with adults on themes of relationships, intimacy, life transitions, family issues, stress management, self esteem, identity, interpersonal stressors, workaholic tendencies, perfectionism, social anxiety, depression, and trauma (complex trauma/PTSD; childhood trauma; relational trauma; bullying trauma; cultural trauma; intergenerational trauma; collective trauma)

Professional Philosophy


Through group psychotherapy, sometimes in combination with individual psychotherapy, Erica accompanies people on their journey and helps them transcend loneliness, heal from wounds and trauma, and find their unique vision for their life. Erica's mission is to help her patients use the practice of group therapy to foster greater connection, growth, and purpose. Erica takes an integrative, trauma-informed approach drawing from psychodynamic, relational, attachment, social justice, liberation psychology, existential, Jungian, and spiritual traditions. Erica is committed to using her specialized training in group psychotherapy and interpersonal process to help people cultivate the belonging, love and intimacy they desire and deserve.




Erica holds a PhD in Clinical Psychology from The New School for Social Research. Her doctoral clinical and research priorities included effective psychotherapy, the therapeutic relationship, the training of therapists, childhood trauma and complex PTSD, and community, global and anti-oppression mental health. She was awarded a Master’s of Arts in Psychology from The New School with a concentration in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling, with a focus in harm reduction. She was Lab Manager of the Mount Sinai-Beth Israel Psychotherapy Research Program. She served on Faculty at the New School for Social Research, The New School for Public Engagement and Eugene Lang college, where she has taught personality psychology, clinical psychology, and group psychotherapy.


Erica received a Bachelor of Arts at Columbia University, with a dual major in Psychology and Comparative Literature and Society. Her scholarly pursuits focused on how storytelling traditions in different cultures (including literature and film) explored themes of psychological and relational growth, with a particular focus on loneliness, belonging and love. Erica's studies and engagement focused on psychological aspects of activism, social justice learning, and community empowerment work around mental health, homelessness, refugee support, inequity, and disenfranchisement due to aspects of identity (gender, race, sexual orientation, class, age and immigration/refugee experiences). 


Training & Professional Experience


Erica has pursued advanced group therapy training through the Eastern Group Psychotherapy Society’s Training Program, the Center for Group Studies, and the American Group Psychotherapy Association. She has also participated in extensive ongoing clinical training in various group therapy modalities, including Modern Analysis, Attachment Theory, Interpersonal, Jungian, Lacanian, Group Relations, Systems-Centered Training, and Racial Literacy/Anti-Racist Whiteness Learning training and process groups.


Erica has participated in trainings related to social justice, anti-racism, identity and social location in therapy and groups, including at the People's Institute for Survival and Beyond, Undoing Racism, Racial Literacy Groups, A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems, Columbia University, Harvard University, The New School for Social Research, the Northeastern Society for Group Psychotherapy, the Mid-Atlantic Group Psychotherapy Society, the American Group Psychotherapy Society and Affiliate Society Assembly, the Ackerman Institute for the Family, and the Cultural Somatics Training Institute for Embodied Anti-Racist Education.


Erica has pursued clinical training and professional healthcare positions at the following settings: New York University Medical Center/Bellevue Hospital Center; New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center; Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research; Maimonides Medical Center; The New School Counseling Center; Madison Park Psychological Services; Mount Sinai-Beth Israel; South Beach Psychiatric Center; Boston University Medical Center; Harvard Medical Center-Massachusetts General Hospital; Germaine Lawrence Residential Treatment Center; and McLean Hospital.

Liberation Psychology & Social Justice Commitment

In order to best serve group members, I commit to actively pursuing life-long training to stay abreast of the latest developments in the field, in science, and in the culture at large. I believe in continuing to study the impact of my own background and privilege and understand my blindspots. I believe that issues of oppression, difference, and identity need to be approached with honesty, humility, love and a strong understanding of trauma and societal dynamics. I embrace a liberation psychology lens to consider the impact of dominant power structures that oppress, marginalize, exclude and "other" on mental health.

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