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Mark Lacava Licensed Clinical Social Worker in New York
Mark Lacava

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Online & In-Person

Accepting new clients

About me

I am a licensed clinical social worker with over 25 years' experience. I have a specialty in trauma, adoption and LGBTQ+ issues.

Hello I am Mark Lacava, I am a licensed clinical social worker who practices therapy in New York and does coaching and lecturing across the country. Knowing a little about me can help you decide if I am the right fit for you as your therapist. I have been practicing social work for over 30 years. I came to NYC to be an actor. That was my childhood dream! After a few years I started to reevaluate my life and purpose. Was acting my adult passion or a childhood fantasy? I had a lot of questions about myself but not a lot of answers.
After a few disastrous acting tours, I took a job working for the city of NY as a case planner in their newly developed Kinship foster care program. I initially took the job just to make money. It was quite a learning experience and I was surprised at how fulfilling I found it. Initially I tried to keep up my acting career but I realized I liked this job better. One year turned to two and then three etc. I enjoyed interacting with my clients. I learned a person is the sum of their experiences. It is their families, their neighborhood, their opportunities or lack of and their individual life’s stories that determined who they are. I began looking for positives when mostly my clients only felt or heard negatives. When you see yourself as negative it is hard to make positive changes. It became ingrained in me as my way to approach people and help initiate change.
When I decided to get my masters in social work, I knew I wanted to work with individuals in direct service.
Sometimes you plan one thing and life provides you something else. While learning how to practice therapy at a community mental health clinic an opportunity presented itself. A not-for-profit organization approached me for some private practice work after numerous residents in their adolescent group home who went to my clinic for services stated they did not mind seeing me. Quite a compliment in a world where most clients were mandated. Once again, I thought I wanted one thing but found myself moving in another clinical direction. Eventually this part time work turned into a full-time job. I learned a lot about trauma and how it negatively affects a person. There are different types of traumas but when it happens to a child it can change the course of a life. It changes how we see and how we react to the world. It is often mistaken for oppositional defiant disorder, attention deficit disorder, depression and disruptive mood dysregulated mood disorder in children. When you know child and adolescent development and trauma it opens doors to adult behavior, and feelings. It helps explain why we make the choices we make even when we know they are not helpful or keep repeating the same patterns hoping for a different outcome.
Eventually I did break into a private practice which I enjoyed but missed working with people in an organization. I began to do clinical contract work for not for profits. One contract working for an adoption agency led to a position as director of their mental health program and then VP of pre and post adoption services. This was another detour but a great experience. Adoption was the missing link in my child welfare career. This gave me the opportunity to teach and lecture at many national conferences on adoption and child welfare issues. Adoption in the public specter is long, painful and does not provide a much education on trauma, loss, grief and identity. These are all issues an adoptive child or adult and family will have to deal with in varying degrees whether in a public or private adoption especially in transracial adoptions. I also was able to work with the LGBTQ+ family who were formed through adoption. This was a special treat to share a live time of work with them.
As a gay man seeing the LGBTQ+ community change and grow over the last 40 years has been both amazing and challenging. I came to NYC during the Aids crisis. It changed my life coming out into such a scary environment, as much as I wanted a family, staying healthy became my major personal goal. How do you trust a person to put your health in their hands, how do you trust someone if you have lost more than a person your age should? These were the realities of the time, with a backdrop of hope and fear. My work in this area is to bring intergenerational experience with all I have learned clinically. The struggles of today may look different but the core issues remains and that is you are good enough and it is worth trying for everything you wish. Sometimes our families and society have a way of closeting us even when we think we are out.
I have been practicing therapy for over 25 years. I learned many different techniques and approaches. The ones that work for me are relational. There needs to be some sense of trust in the space for you to feel comfortable enough to reveal what brings you to therapy and safe enough to explore it. It takes time. Integrative therapy we will be discussing you in your family, social and culture. Trauma informed since much of what makes life more difficult has roots in trauma. Change takes time through a series of corrective actions and realizations. My work in not-for-profit organizations has taught me many short-term therapeutic models. I regret to say I have never seen them work. Lasting change takes work.

I also do a type of therapy called walking forward where we can meet in central park to walk and talk. Movement and nature are a great way to heal and help a person open up, also you might feel confined to meet on zoom all the time.
This is who I am and how I approach therapy if any of this resonates with you, please call we can talk.



Fees and insurance

Specialties and clinical interests

Therapy types

Community specialties

Licensed to see clients in

Years in practice


Types of clients

  • Adolescents (13-17)
  • Adults (18+)
  • Older Adults (65+)
  • Individuals
  • Couples


  • English