Ayah Issa

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Ayah Issa“Ayah Issa is a therapist who works with trauma, spirituality issues, identity issues, depression, anxiety, and relationship conflict. She works through a trauma lens with an understanding of community, spirituality, intersectional identities and a holistic view of the self. She received her social work degree from Columbia University School of Social Work.”

Contact Information:

Email: ayahissatherapy@gmail.com | Instagram: @sincerely_ayah | Website: https://ayahissatherapy.com/ | Practice Location: Queens, NY 11106

Practice Information

About Ayah Issa

Most of my clients have experienced some sort of trauma – parental abuse, physical abuse, war and separation, and/or sexual violence. These clients often come into therapy feeling stuck. Something isn’t working within their relationships, work, life goals, family, etc., and they are unable to figure out why. Sometimes they come due to a severe and recurrent depression or anxiety and a general lack of interest in living life. My work with them is slow, filled with compassion, and a space in which they come and talk, re-understand traumas, make decisions to improve their life, and have a new relationship with their trauma. In my practice, I use a mix of mindfulness, CBT, DBT, internal family systems, and narrative therapy in therapy.

My Interest in Working with Survivors

I am a survivor and I also just enjoy this work. I understand survivors and I understand their desire to be well and also how heavy trauma can be and the struggle of being able to deal with the trauma, move past it, and live the life they want. I am able to work within the complexity of healing from trauma. Healing from trauma doesn’t happen in a small amount of sessions nor does it have easy answers. I understand that and can help clients delve deeply within themselves to heal and sometimes be away from it to heal as well.

My Understanding of Trauma-Informed Care

Trauma-informed care is understanding how trauma works, how it affects the person in every aspect of their lives, how it is something inherent and not just something that can be easily separated, and how it often makes clients live reactionary lives. I practice it by understanding all this so as to work with the client and not against them. I have the client gain this understanding of themselves as well. Then, we work together to compassionately understand what is happening and make change that is appropriate to the client.


Internal Family Systems: Often times, clients who experience traumas have parts within themselves that split. We call these splits parts. The parts then work together to keep the person protected but the way in which they protect the person isn’t always what the person wants and their internal conflict gets very challenging to deal with. I help clients identify their parts and access them so as to learn more about why they are reacting in the way that they are, understand that why, answer it, and then work together.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): I use CBT to help clients identify their inner voice in order to change it. Changing the inner voice is an important practice to change our general mental wellness.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT): Grounding skills and crisis skills in DBT are very helpful to clients who are experiencing out-of-body experiences, excessive disassociation, or intense anxiety.

Mindfulness: Mindfulness is helpful to ground a client. It’s also helpful for clients to get connected with their emotions when they can’t find words.

Narrative Therapy: I use this to bring the client into consciousness of what’s going on within themselves. Writing down answers to questions that come up within therapy helps a client gain awareness of why they react in the ways that they do. By gaining this awareness, they begin to gain the ability to react in more intentional ways.

How My Practice Holistically Addresses the Impacts of Sexual Trauma

I think the root of healing from sexual trauma lies within reestablishing a connection with oneself after being fractured by harm. This reconnection happens on all levels – psychological, spiritual, and physical. My background as an art therapist is incredibly helpful in addressing the nuanced, layered, and profound aspects of surviving and healing from sexual trauma because art making allows us to enter these kinds of deep explorations with a sense of control and safety.

I use different modalities within therapy so that I can meet the needs of the survivors. Some of my clients can’t ground using their bodies and so we use external sensations such as temperature or scents to help them.

How My Practice Holistically Addresses the Impacts of Sexual Trauma

Survivors have unique experiences and it shows up differently in their lives, bodies, reactions, so I alter my modalities to understand best what’s going on with the client and address issues as they come up. In the beginning of therapy, I focus on emotional regulation (depending on how they come in), and then we focus on understanding issues surrounding the trauma however not the specific trauma. Then, the client is able to bring up the trauma when they are ready. I have noticed it’s best to do it this way as that it’s often the issues surrounding the trauma that make it worse. I don’t discuss the trauma with the client before some of the issues surrounding it are dealt with because that risks re-traumatizing the client.

Modifications for Survivors

I ask clients about their sleep, their physical pain, their reactions often within therapy and depending on that, my approach will change.

Additional Areas of Expertise and Interest

I work with People of Color, people with low socioeconomics, and clients with a spiritual background. All of these experiences affect the way clients experience the trauma and are very important to bring into the therapy room to help the client deal with the trauma.

Payment Options

I offer sliding-scale, however, I currently don’t have spots available. My fee is $180/session and for clients with insurance, I send clients a superbill and I help them understand how to send it to their insurance for reimbursement.