Free counseling available to Local 802 members

Musicians' Assistance Program

Volume 115, No. 10October, 2015

Siena Shundi, LCSW-R
Siena Shundi, LCSW-R

Siena Shundi, LCSW-R

Many musicians call our office for help because as life gets busy, it can sometimes get more stressful. We offer many free social services, including clinical case management, counseling and financial assistance. This month we will discuss what sorts of counseling services are available for active Local 802 members.

 The types of confidential counseling we offer include individual, couples, family and group. This includes counseling for children, adolescents and adults of all ages.

How much does it cost?

Our services are free to active Local 802 members.

How do we help?

Members call us with a variety of issues, including relationship problems, divorce or separation stress, mental health needs, work-related problems, career trouble, substance abuse, family disputes, personal trauma, accidents, medical illness, stress management and financial problems. We provide approaches based on the needs of individual members. The technical approaches we offer include supportive counseling, crisis counseling, goal-oriented and solution-focused therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and family systems treatment. We also offer assessment and referral for other services like medication evaluation, legal aid, or other professional community services.

Who provides counseling?

Our office is staffed by myself (a licensed clinical social worker) and a rotating intern from NYU or Hunter College. I handle assessments, short-term counseling and referrals. Our intern is a second-year graduate student who has had at least a year of clinical social work training. This intern provides the therapy care to Local 802 members who qualify for long-term counseling (i.e. up to a year). Our intern is always under my direct clinical supervision.

What is our availability?

We offer free counseling to Local 802 members while our intern is with us, which is generally every September through May. If you need us during the summer, I can meet with you to assess your needs and refer you out to therapists who specialize in working with musicians. We’ll find you someone who takes your insurance or who can provide low-cost treatment.

How does counseling start and how often can it be?

I or our intern will do a first meeting with you in our office or over the phone to assess what kind of services may be needed. Then sessions can then start as soon as you’re ready. Sessions can be as often as weekly, or they can be bi-weekly or less frequent. As stated above, our long-term therapy is provided by our intern.

What if I’m not sure I want to commit?

Maybe you want to give counseling a try, but you’re just not sure. You may not be sure that you’ll like your therapist or you may not be sure that you want to commit. In these cases, we often recommend Local 802 members call and ask us for a one-time consultation (or two) just to test the waters and see if it’s for you. You can continue should you decide it’s the right fit. We can help you come up with a plan about the best course for you moving forward.

What if I want longer-term help?

As a member of Local 802, you have the option of working with us for free for a year. During this time, our intern will be your therapist. After that, we can refer you to longer-term treatment at a provider in your community.

How do set up an appointment?

Our office is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:30 to 5. To get the ball rolling, call us at (212) 397-4802 to schedule a consultation (also called an “intake). If you get our voicemail, just be sure to leave your full name and phone number. We’ll get back to you as soon as we’re open. (If you’re experiencing a psychiatric emergency, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.) We look forward to meeting with you and giving you tools to help yourself feel better!

The office of the Musicians’ Assistance Program is your one-stop shop for musicians’ health. We offer counseling – both one-on-one and in groups – as well as information on all kinds of social services, including health insurance, food stamps and more. All services are free to Local 802 members. Contact us at or (212) 397-4802.