Teresa Theophano, LCSW

Teresa Theophano, LCSW

Get to know me:

I’m a licensed clinical social worker in NYC, working in geriatric mental health. I’m also a freelance writer and co-editor of the anthology Headcase: LGBTQ Writers and Artists on Mental Health and Wellness (Oxford University Press, 2019).

What does affirmative psychotherapy mean to me?

Affirmative psychotherapy is a necessary and growing institution in which practitioners embrace an intersectional approach to clinical work. As we move beyond acceptance toward genuine competence in working with and celebrating a wide cross-section of identities, and examining our own internalized “-isms” and -phobias, we eliminate the need for our clients to ever have to educate us. We instead educate ourselves and each other, thereby helping to ensure the health and wellbeing of our cherished fellow queer, trans, and nonbinary community members.

What populations do I work with? What is my level of expertise (friendly, knowledgeable, expert) for each of those populations?

I have expertise in working with LGBTQ older adults, but I am also knowledgeable in working with queer and trans, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming young people. In addition to conducting psychotherapy with and providing case management to LGBTQ older adults, I have worked in settings ranging from an LGBTQ homeless youth shelter to a psychosocial clubhouse program for LGBTQ adults with psychiatric disorders.

What is my approach to healing?

I believe in the healing power of storytelling and of peer support—I particularly love facilitating support groups. LGBTQ+ people are the experts on our own lives, and I give my clients the space, respect, and support to tell their stories. My approach is a collaborative one, and I draw on my sense of humor and a wide range of clinical theories to strengthen my therapeutic alliance with clients.

What issues am I most skilled at addressing as a mental health professional?

I work primarily around issues related to aging and caregiving in LGBTQ communities. This can mean helping people problem solve around growing social isolation; navigating caregiver stress, especially when LGBTQ people are giving care to a spouse or partner with dementia; and connecting them with further community resources and supports.


Education: Master of Social Work
Years in Practice: 18
School: Hunter College School of Social Work
Year Graduated: 2004
License # and State: 087935 – New York
Additional Credentials: SIFI certified
Training Experience:

Doctoral student in social work, University at Buffalo, State University of New York; anticipated graduation May 2024

Certificate in Post-Master’s Studies in Advanced Clinical Practice, New York University Silver School of Social Work, 2016

Certificate in Holistic Health Counseling, Institute for Integrative Nutrition, 2006