Local Business Update: Tribeca Therapy

I reached out to Matt Lundquist, the owner of Tribeca Therapy on Chambers, to see how a business like his, that provides therapy to a couple hundred, mostly local, clients (he has a team of eight therapists), was weathering this storm – both financially and emotionally. I also thought he would have some insight for the rest of us, almost as if he is crowd-sourcing our issues. And he does.

Matt offered to take readers’ questions here on the site. If you have an issue, comment here. He will select several (not all) and answer back in comments as well over the next couple weeks.

In the meantime, he answered my questions below, and his team put together a list of the most common questions and problems clients have put forth these past six weeks. I found just the questions to be a comfort in a way.

So, how’s business?
This is busiest I’ve have ever been, that’s for sure. But we are thrilled to be busy. We all really appreciate the opportunity to be useful. [The team shifted to remote sessions on March 12, using HIPPA compliant video conferencing platforms.]

Have you lost a lot of clients?
Believe it or not we’ve onboarded new folks — 10 or 15 couples, 8 to 10 individuals. I wondered how that was going to work without meeting in person, but it’s been going well so far. We have slid our fees and we are more flexible for folks who need it, but still, some clients are really scared about money and have no income, so a few have left.

To a person, clients have found the remote work meaningful and have found a greater need for the work. That’s gratifying. And some needed more frequent work at first, but a lot of that has dropped off.

What are the challenges to doing therapy remotely?
I was very curious how the couples work would translate over video conference — will the nuances get lost? If there’s conflict, are we in a less strong position when we work that through a screen? How do we know whose turn it is to talk? Does interruption become a factor? How does that all get navigated? But we have become experts at it in these weeks, and it has gotten easier.

Is there an upside?
It is not as good as in person for sure, but there has been some added value. We are in people’s homes, with kids and cats and partners walking across the screen. There are some opportunities there. And it shows you that we are all in this together. We are all locked up at home and we are all worried about getting sick and the impact on the economy. There’s a clear awareness that even the therapist is in the same boat. There’s something sort of intimate in a meaningful way about that.

How has the crisis changed people’s thinking?
Among our team, we have been discussing that there may be opportunities to look at how we organize our lives: our relationships with each other, with time and work, with bars and restaurants, with our communities. This is a chance to appreciate the institutions and local businesses that are meaningful to us. And I hope people have a greater appreciation for the meaning of gathering in person.

A lot of people are also thinking about what their values are. Some of my patients have surprised me. I predict some will leave their demanding, high-powered jobs and do something different. A lot of people are really reflecting on these things in this moment.

How will this change therapy in the future?
As a practical matter, I think a whole lot more work of all kinds will be done online, and I predict that will be true for therapy. And that can only be good, to be more accessible to more people. A lawyer working 80 hours a week might be more likely to steal away for a session in her office; people who travel for work could have more opportunities for sessions; and some people will feel more fluent with therapy in this format. In short, the more choice, the more access.

What seems to be the hardest thing for people?
For so many people, it’s just been really sad. People are dying. There are people I knew and cared about who have passed, and institutions that have folded, and we hear the sirens, and it’s hard not to absorb the impact of that. There are children who have lost school years, college students who have lost chunks of life, relationships that ended and relationships that never had the chance to get started — we have a lot of grieving to do. These are all kinds of grief, even if they are not all equivalent.

We also have to learn to grieve in new ways because we can’t do it together.

What do your clients seem to miss the most?
I think a lot of it is tactile: being in rooms filled with laughter, missing hugs and a pat on the back – all aspects of physical touch, not just the kind in romantic relationships. People miss dancing, live music, the joy of being at a party together. Or even missing how some people smell! I also didn’t realize I had so many co-workers who are huggers.

And kids are really missing other kids. Some of us adults are doing our very best job to play, but the 7-year-old is basically saying, “Y’all are a poor substitute for a kid.” We can now really appreciate the value of running around a playground, the simple pleasure of sitting next to friends at lunch time and the value of doing things as only kids can.

Why are we missing community?
There are formal relationships (meaning where you have people’s phone numbers) and for those we can make a phone call, or schedule a Zoom meeting. But a lot of people who are meaningful to us are not in that category. I know I am missing Heather and Mary and Jordan at Blue Spoon, but I am not going to do a Skype call with Blue Spoon. I only spent four and a half minutes a day with them, but I spent that time every day for 10 years of my life. I miss them! and I don’t know if I will see them again.

Where do we go from here?
The most frequent issue we are dealing with day to day is for folks who are impacted financially and are worried about how severe the recession will be. Initially the anxiety was more around the virus, but that has shifted. This is appropriately anxiety provoking, and we don’t really know when it will end.

But also, if you are doing well, it’s ok to say you are doing well — that’s a gift. I for one am incredibly grateful to have a job where I feel useful. It’s a fascinating moment. It’s tragic and it’s frustrating, but it’s an opportunity to think about the world and think about our lives in a way we never have before.



  1. stop calling it COVID please. That is literally the propaganda name dreamed up by W.H.O. to deflect from the Wuhan origin.

    The proper names are either coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, or The Wuhan virus.

  2. Wrong.

    SARS-CoV-2 is the name of the virus.

    coronavirus and COVID-19 are the names of the disease.

    No one except lunatic fringe hacks are calling it “Wuhan” virus.

  3. I’d love Matt’s perspective on how to deal with the anxiety of getting back out in the world after sheltering at home now for so long, especially the issue of seeing many people not wearing masks and/or wearing them correctly. We’re going to be at this for a long time in the city and I need to find ways to cope, realistically, that don’t turn me into “that crazy lady” confronting people on the street or at Duane Reade.

  4. I would like to supplement my therapy (talk therapy, not CBT please) with someone to talk to. I only “see” my therapist once a week, but am not coping well, even with that. The medication I take doesn’t work. I have tried everything. It’s like Corona Virus on top of Severe Clinical Depression. I am aware your first priorities are people who have lost their jobs, but as a self employed artist, who did run her non profit until Corona set in, I feel I fit in that category, since I can’t focus on my work without my partime high school student and young intern. My number is 212 3931182

  5. I’m please to see some responses to our article here. I’m recognizing that some of these questions are best responded to in private. I’d be happy to speak directly. You can contact me through our website’s “Contact Us” form on the bottom center of our homepage. (https://tribecatherapy.com/) and I’d be happy to respond/ speak about our therapy services.