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Artist Paints Therapy Patients' 'Psychological Portraits'

By Meredith Hoffman | August 1, 2012 10:43am | Updated on August 1, 2012 11:15am

BUSHWICK — The reclined couch, empathetic ear and melodic voice of "Dr." Lisa Levy await patients in her new office — along with her oil paints and canvases.

The artist turned amateur psychotherapist is offering free "therapy" sessions at an art gallery at 56 Bogart St. — and, after you've spilled your worries and inner torments, you can pay her to paint your "psychological portrait."

"It's so gratifying to combine both the painting and the therapy together," she said.

Levy, a Bushwick resident who studied fine art at Syracuse University, fused art and therapy to create "Dr. Lisa." She has taken the role to the stage, on video and on a web show called Gallery Beat TV.

Though she has no therapy training, she's built up a list of clients.

Over the years, various media outlets have spotlighted her performance-therapy. But Levy's project at 56 Bogart — called "The Thoughts in Your Head" after her recent oil painting series "The Thoughts in My Head" that reveal the workings of her mind — is her first chance to combine visual art and counseling in her own studio.

Levy also plans to create artwork in the gallery space between sessions with clients.

Levy said she has always had a "passion for therapy as a hobby" and said her patients can pay nothing for a 50-minute session.

"My interest in therapy began in high school when my father was hospitalized for depression," recalled Levy, who then tried therapy for her own depression in college and said she has focused energy on understanding herself as well as helping others since that time. 

"At this point, after ten years, I've probably had more different patients than most therapists have in a career, so I have actually learned quite a bit through practical experience.

Levy said patients can take her advice as seriously as they want — she only hopes they will buy a portrait, which cost $150 for a color print or $500 for a larger oil painting.

Levy asks visitors to call her at 917-273-0177 before stopping by to see the office, or to email her at imahomemaker@yahoo.com to make an appointment for a 50-minute session.