Dr. Hemisha Patel Urgola

Hello there! My name is Dr. Hemisha Patel Urgola, and I am a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in the State of New Jersey. I am also a PsyPact Authorized Provider, which allows me to provide telehealth services to residents of 40 states.  I identify as a South Asian cisgender woman (she/her).

I hold a specialized Master’s Degree in Forensic Psychology (2002; John Jay College of Criminal Justice) and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (2011; La Salle University).  In the last year of my Doctorate Program, I was one of four peers in my cohort who was chosen to be a “Chief Extern,” which was an academic honor given to high-achieving students who had the capacity to lead peers in their clinical work. At La Salle, through the course of my final years in the program, I was also asked to be the Program Coordinator of the school’s sex-offender treatment team and psychological assessment team.  Through my professional training and experiences, over the last 20+ years, I have been fortunate enough to offer individual and group therapy in various contexts, including high schools; outpatient mental health clinics; inpatient hospitals; prisons/correctional facilities; and university settings.  I also have extensive experience conducting psychoeducational assessments; IQ testing; and sex-offender risk evaluations (which included providing expert testimony in court). I am currently a professional member of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS) and the New Jersey Psychological Association (NJPA).

Currently, I work out of my private practice full-time and specialize in the treatment of anxiety, depression, trauma, South Asian cultural issues, and couples work.  I pride myself on developing a genuine, yet safe relationship with my clients.  The best clinical compliment that I have ever received is when clients tell me that I show up as a real person in the therapy room.  I am a human before I am a Psychologist.  I think the same way you do.  I feel the same way you do.  And, sometimes, I suffer the same way you do.  While I will always uphold my boundaries and professional ethics, I put humanity at the forefront of my approach, which I think allows me to connect with clients on a deeper level.

For leisure, my favorite thing will always be spending time with my family.  They are my people and doing anything with them brings me joy. The importance of that value domain comes from my South Asian culture. But, I also love exercising through running/strength training/aerial yoga; watching Monk on repeat (IYKYK!); reading books that satisfy my obsession with psychological thrillers and mysteries (Nancy Drew was the first book I read for fun as a child!); and exploring new restaurants and new foods!

Philosophy & Treatment Approach

In all aspects of my clinical work, I rely on the use of evidence-based treatments.  In simpler words, this refers to psychological treatment approaches that have been proven to be effective through research and science in treating various psychological disorders.  Science + Psychology?? Some of you may wonder how the two even go together. Take a second and think about it from a medical perspective.  If you went to see your primary care physician for a stomachache, you would probably want her to treat you with medication that has been shown to be effective in treating stomach pains.  Not some medication that only works sometimes or is actually meant to treat headaches.  The same principle applies with your therapy sessions.  They should work.  Period.  Your time and money are valuable.  It is my responsibility to not only give you space to talk and process your concerns, but to also help you develop new ways of thinking (or maybe even “unthinking”) and relate this to the issues that are causing you distress.  This way, not only will you feel some relief in the moment, but you will be better prepared in addressing similar problems if they should arise again in the future.

I consider myself an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT, pronounced as one word) Therapist.  ACT is a part of the new “wave” of psychological treatments that focuses on helping clients change the relationship with their thoughts and feelings, while also helping them simultaneously pursue valued living.  My favorite way to teach clients about ACT is through the “Tug-of-War” metaphor.  Imagine you are stuck in a tug-of-war with some “Monster” on the other side of the rope.  This “Monster” can represent the suffering that is bringing you into therapy- maybe it represents your anxiety, depression, or trauma.  There is a deep pit in between you and the “Monster.”  You have spent a significant amount of time and effort trying to get rid of  your “Monster” – your hands are firmly on the rope and your feet are planted on the ground.  You are not going to move away from this rope.   You don’t want to think about your anxiety; you don’t want to feel sad and depressed; or you don’t want to be triggered by memories of your trauma.  All you know is that you need to make this “Monster” go away quickly.  Meanwhile, life is going on around you.  All the things that you value keep moving forward without you because you are stuck in this tug-of-war.  What if, as your therapist, I asked you to “drop the rope?”  What if I said leave the rope alone, let the “Monster” be there, walk away from him and, instead, walk towards the things that matter and allow you to create a meaningful life for yourself?  This would mean learning to co-exist with your “Monster.”  In other words, recognizing that you may feel anxious, depressed, or triggered every now and then; uncomfortable thoughts and feelings are a natural part of life.  But, that therapy can teach you how to co-exist with your “Monster” through the use of mindfulness, awareness of your feelings and thoughts, and learning to not over-connect with your inner experiences

With regard to couples therapy, I rely on my training in the Gottman Method and infuse ACT principles. The Gottman Method is based on the work of Drs. John & Julie Gottman, who have studied couples for over 40 years.  In this therapy approach, the goals are to “disarm conflicting verbal communication; increase intimacy, respect, and affection; remove barriers that create a feeling of stagnancy; and create a heightened sense of empathy and understanding within the context of the relationship.”  ACT naturally lends itself to these goals, and it will help us understand how certain processes in the relationship may “drain” the intimacy between you and your partner and how, instead, we can approach our partner with “love.”

16 Pearl Street, Suite 112
Metuchen, NJ 08840

(732) 902-0233

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