Jessica Lief, M.S.W., LCSW

Practicum Faculty Adviser

Pronouns: she/her


Jessica Lief smiles at the camera wearing a black top.

B.A., Sarah Lawrence University
M.S.W., New York University 
M.S.L., University of California - Hastings College


Jessica C. Lief, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist who specializes in the treatment of substance use disorders, eating disorders, body image issues, trauma and grief and loss. Lief completed psychoanalytic training through the William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis, and Psychology in the Eating Disorders, Compulsions and Addictions (EDCAS) Program. She is trained in eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy by the EMDR Institute and is trained and licensed through The Body Positive Institute to facilitate group and individual work with The Body Positive Model. She also completed foundations-level training in narrative therapy through the Vancouver School for Narrative Therapy.

As a therapist, Lief has experience in many levels of care, including residential, partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient. She brings with her a wealth of experiences, particularly from working at a residential, dual diagnosis facility where she worked as a primary therapist for five and a half years. She also supported the licensed professional services program for nurses, lawyers and physicians struggling with substance use, eating disorders and mental health issues.

Her approach is primarily psychodynamic but combines aspects of self-psychology, dialectical behavior therapy, seeking safety, mindful self-compassion and mindfulness. She is particularly interested in the treatment of body image and identity issues as they relate to addiction, as well as treating eating disorders through a social justice lens, as they relate to people of color and the LGBTQ+ community. She is also adept at treating individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and OCD.

Her grief and loss work is broad, but focuses on motherless daughters, maternal grief and wounding and emotional abandonment. Lief also works with individuals who have experienced miscarriage, fertility related issues, postpartum depression, anxiety and psychosis, as well as postpartum PTSD. She also works with individuals undergoing IVF and who have struggled with women’s health issues, such as endometriosis and PCOS, as well as individuals who are pregnant and struggling with an eating disorder.

Lief’s favorite part of being a therapist is guiding each client in their personal transformation and witnessing each step as it is achieved. She will work with the client to identify what is deeply meaningful and important in that person’s life. The client will develop concrete skills to get their needs met directly. Lief will help the client to develop powerful, inner resources, including self-compassion, emotion regulation techniques, radical self-acceptance and confidence. 

Lief earned her undergraduate degree from Sarah Lawrence College with a concentration in literature, nonfiction writing and French.  She earned a master’s degree in advanced clinical practice in social work from New York University.  She also earned a master of studies in law with a concentration in health law from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. She is an adjunct faculty member at Smith College School for Social Work

LCSW# 87286