About Me

I am a “family therapist”, yoga instructor, and massage therapist. I put family therapist in quotes, because sometimes people get confused, and think that if what I offer is family therapy, maybe they need to come in with their family in order to be qualified as a client. That is not quite how it works.

Donna Dallal-Ferne

As a family therapist, I will of course see clients individually, but I always consider and think about my clients in the context of their lives, which has a lot to do with the families they come from. Therefore, even as I see people individually, I like to at some point see my clients together with the important people in their lives. The important people/”family” includes those they are currently living with or have lived with for any extended period of time, a partner or long-term relationship. If bringing some of these others in is not practical or for some reason too difficult, the others will eventually be elicited from a client because, like it or not we all carry our families around with us all of the time.

My personal training for family therapy started in my own family of origin, which I was born into on June 11, 1958. I am daughter of a small town central New York mother, and a Palestinian peasant immigrant father. I am also a middle child, sister of two brothers, which places me well to be a diplomat and peace-maker from my origins, a role that I have played on many occasions in my life. Long about my 23rd birthday I married a German Catholic man; during our marriage he completed medical school, and went on to become a radiologist, while I stayed home with house and children.

We have 4 children together, and did a very unskillful divorce together. Divorce was official by the summer of ’99. Over the years since then, our children have complained to us about our unskillfulness. Despite ourselves, our now adult children have overall done quite well. The magic, people sometimes ask me, “What do you attribute your children’s successes to?” I hesitate to respond with the first thing that comes to mind, which is that they have been genuinely loved. Why do I hesitate to respond this way? Primarily because it sounds too easy, and also because too many people genuinely love their kids and still have all kinds of issues and serious difficulties with them. So, I am still working on a good answer to that question. Likely it is some magic combination of love, luck, and just enough pain mixed in to their lives to offer them both humility and incentive.

My official training: