By Danielle Sullivan
Psychotherapist Denise Levine might call herself just a regular Brooklyn gal, but to her patients and students, she is so much more. Levine grew up in Midwood and attended Lafayette High school. From there, she studied early childhood education at Kingsborough Community College, and then earned a Bachelor of Arts at Hunter College, then a master’s degree in social work from the Hunter College School of Social Work. She has lived and worked in Bergen Beach as a psychotherapist. In private practice for close to 30 years, and is also an artist, skilled in painting, drawing and sculpture, who uses arts as a therapeutic instrument.
“My main goal in life is to support people in their healing process” Levine says. “I try to accomplish this as a psychotherapist and as an artist. As an artist I share my paintings on social media a few times a day along with a positive, life-affirming message.” Throughout her career, Levine has volunteered and worked for a variety of community efforts. In the 1970’s, she led a successful protest to help restore funding for The Brooklyn Public Libraries, became president of the Ryder Community Library Friends Group, was a delogate to the Governor’s Conference on Libraries, and ran as a volunteer , a children’s art program on the Public Reservation in Taos, N.M.
She has also worked as a New York City public school teacher, a school based social worker, and as a program coordinator for the Mother Child Home Program for Project Even Start. Levine is the co-founder of The Healing House, an experimental learning and meditation center in upstate New York. Currently, Levine is a volunteer teacher in the Aging Mastery Program at Kingsborough Community College, where she met 88 year old Vince Blazewicz, who has taken classes at the college to stay busy since his wife died five years ago. He says he was immediately impressed by Levine’s positive spirit.
“I loved hearing her speak. She is a very funny lady and we had an instant chemistry.” Blazewicz said. “She has helped so many people in the borough.” This Woman of Distinction’s giving attitude was shaped, in part, by personal tragedy. “I had a great deal of adversity in my youth,” she said. “I had cancer at a very young age, in addition to losing three close family members to sudden death. I was determined to make my life e meaningful one and to help others.” Now, Levine helps her patients take adversity in their lives and transform it.
“I provide psychotherapy and art therapy in a safe and soothing environment,” she says. “My home is a healing center.” Levine’s art will be on display in a solo show The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Gallery, starting on May 6th and running for two months.