February 2019

Mara Hirschfeld, LMFT

Mara Hirschfeld, LMFT

Owner & Supervisor at Holding Hope Marriage and Family Therapy 

29 West 36th Street, 5th Floor, Suite N

New York, NY 10018


Tell us about your practice.

I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice in midtown Manhattan (near Herold Square) and another location on UWS. I primarily specialize in individuals and couples going through relationship distress as well as those struggling with anxiety, depression, and past trauma to unburden the negative narratives keeping them stuck. As a certified EFT therapist, I use systemic models to inform my work while helping couples improve communication and increase safety and trust in their relationship with one another. I started the practice in January 2016 and recently expanded into a group practice by hiring two associate marriage and family therapists with a mission to create a safe space to learn and grow from one another.

What made you decide to open your own business?

Since high school, I always wanted to be an entrepreneur and have my own business. I graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in marketing so business was always in my background as a passionate point for me. Then when I graduated my Masters and started working in a couple group practices in the city, I learned first-hand the ins and outs of running a business (i.e. the boundaries, compassion, and strong ethical and moral compass) that is required to help clients feel safe and secure in your care. I felt determined to create a safe space for others to share their deepest vulnerabilities and found comfort in being able to exercise my own professional and clinical judgement.

What has been the most challenging aspect of building your business?

Honestly, I think one of the hardest things about building the business is having faith and trusting in yourself. That might sound strange but listening to my inner voice/personal confidence has been crucial in helping to guide me through difficult decisions when they have arisen. I think another challenge is learning how to find the balance between holding firm boundaries as a business owner and having empathy for clients’ situations especially when the therapeutic alliance is something you want to preserve and respect.

What has been the most rewarding part of building your business?

The most rewarding part of building my business has definitely been the positive impact I’ve had on my clients and that they have had on me. I can’t begin to explain how grateful I am for each and every client I work with because they have challenged me to grow both personally and professionally in ways I could have never imagined. Secondly, it has given me the opportunity to make and set my own schedule, which has been transformative in giving me the ability to prioritize self-care and socializing with friends/family/more networking for the business.

How has Private Practice Studio helped you in achieving your business goals?

I attended Private Practice Studio a few months before I quit my group practices and it was so incredibly helpful! I think one of the scariest things when you want to build a practice is that large question “where do I begin?” Liz Morrison helped me to operationalize my dream of owning a practice and proved to me it was possible which was very inspiring. I also have felt comforted by the Private Practice Studio network of people/professionals all trying to help one another out. It’s a beautiful collective effort.

Anything else you would like us to know?

Thank you all for your support and encouragement throughout this process. This field can be so isolating, but I am a big believer that communities of support like this one makes the difference between feeling connected to others and not. Plus, the more we nurture ourselves in this way, the more it trickles down to our clients.

Mara Hirschfeld, LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice in midtown Manhattan as well as the upper west side.