Erica Smuckler, LCSW
Erica Smuckler profile picture

Erica Smuckler

Psychotherapy, LCSW

Erica Smuckler believes it’s a profound privilege to provide therapy for children and their families. Each time she receives a call for help from a parent, she is humbled by their bravery and courage to open up and trust her with their story. It is an honor to share in the growth and development that is uncovered through working together.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders
Trauma & PTSD
$ $ $ $ $
Sliding Scale
A sliding scale is a range of out of pocket fees that providers accept based on financial need.
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“My training has given me strategies and solutions but, ultimately, I lead with humility, empathy, and compassion for my clients.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I trained to become a social worker at Rutgers University where I specialized in childhood issues. I completed advanced training in treating anxiety disorders, depression, and trauma. I later pursued a master’s degree in school psychology. After graduating from Queens College at the City University of New York, I worked as a school psychologist for eight years in elementary, middle, and high schools in urban and suburban areas. I learned a lot about special education and I saw how certain issues kept coming up, including frequent school refusal, anxiety, and symptoms of depression. In my practice, I continue to help children and families find solutions that address these challenges. When I engage with a child in their world, I remember what it’s like to be lost and scared and how it feels to search for answers. My training has given me strategies and solutions but, ultimately, I lead with humility, empathy, and compassion for my clients.
What should someone know about working with you?
When I meet with your child, I understand that they are at their most vulnerable state and may not share in words the pain they are enduring. I will gently ask questions to learn of your child’s unique qualities and what brings them to see me. I will paint a picture of what therapy entails and talk about the steps I take to help. During the first intake session, you and your child can share with me as much as you feel comfortable sharing. As our relationship strengthens, they will learn helpful strategies for meaningful and lasting change. The goal is to use the skills your child acquires during therapy out in the real world. Just like school, they will receive homework assignments but, don’t worry, there is no official grade. If it turns out a strategy needs to be tweaked, we will talk about it and discuss possible changes to our therapy sessions. Many of the children and families I’ve worked with have told me things start to get better within three months.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
I am always learning new techniques that will help my clients grow. Trainings are great because I can learn from the best in the field. I’ve studied many topics, including how anxiety affects the brain, trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy through play, and pediatric hypnosis and I’ve happily incorporated new strategies and knowledge into my work. I also attend supervision to reflect on my practice and learn new skills. My goal is always to become the best clinician I can be so I can have a positive impact on the children and families I support.
How do your own core values shape your approach to therapy?
My inspiration to help children came from my own childhood experiences. Back when I was a teenager, I sought therapy to overcome my challenges (and it wasn’t easy to do at the time). Having moved a great deal, I found it hard to make friends in new schools. Believing this was more than shyness, I found myself in need of strategies to alleviate my anxiety. I “diagnosed” myself with social anxiety and sought the help of a professional in the field. After hours of research, I found a therapist who specialized in this dilemma. I then convinced my parents to take me to an appointment. Therapy was successful in leading me toward lasting relationships. In fact, I’ve actually found that it was the greatest gift I’ve ever received.
What other training or experience do you have that informs your practice today?
Having worked in education for the past ten years, as both a social worker and a school psychologist, I have an insider's perspective into the academic and emotional challenges children and their families face. If a child struggles in school, it often affects their self-esteem and feelings of worth. If they are having difficulties handling their emotions, they are likely not motivated to perform in school. Because both are so important, I help parents advocate for their child’s learning needs while ensuring the emotional needs are addressed as well.
“When I meet with your child, I understand that they are at their most vulnerable state and may not share in words the pain they are enduring.”
Interested in speaking with Erica?