Afua Forson, MD, LMFT
Locations: Beacon, NY
Hello! I am Afua Forson MD, LMFT. Although of Ghanaian descent, I was born and raised in Ontario, Canada. Originally trained as an internal medicine physician, I have spent most of my career as a board certified, supervising attending physician of medical residents in various New York City hospitals. I am currently a hospitalist and co-chair of the ethics committee of a tertiary care center in Hudson Valley. Women’s health issues and cultural influences on health delivery systems have been and remain particular interests of mine. In recent years- feeling the pull to work with people at a deeper and more personal level – I pursued additional training as a psychotherapist, specializing in couples work and family therapy. Writers and theorists who greatly affected my development and approach as a therapist include Murray Bowen, Salvador Minuchin, Sue Johnson (co-originator of EFT), Richard Schwartz (creator of IFS) and Francine Shapiro (creator of EMDR)
While continuing my full time work as a physician, I completed my master’s degree and attained licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist as part of my academic program. I completed my internship in Hudson Valley and New York City; during this phase of my clinical training, I also worked with many couples, often involving family stressors, communication challenges, infidelity, and cultural and racial differences.
Through a focus on interpersonal relationships, I bore witness many times to the damaging effects of trauma; I saw the ways in which disturbing experiences from my clients’ past could fully undermine their earnest attempts at loving connection in the present. Motivated to address the underlying substrate of emotional disturbances, I sought training in the direct treatment of psychological trauma. Now as both a couples therapist and a practitioner of EMDR intensives, my work today typically involves the reconsolidation of distressing memories. My aim is to help my clients remove distortions born of painful past experiences so that they can have healthy and joyful relationships.
I have wanted to write to you for some time now. I want to give you excruciating details of our (my internal family) progress. The work we did has helped me so much. I say a prayer to you daily. I love you, so deeply. There are no words—thank you.
I wish I could write something more elaborate. Something about how it was money best spent; how it gave not only me BUT MY ANCESTORS peace. My children. My cousin’s children.
I tell all my fellow children of war and immigrants to come; they are not ready. I was barely ready.
I wasn’t living before, I was merely reacting. This therapy has launched a whole slew of continued work, in a particular patch now that has been wild. But it had also made me connect with people and myself in such a real and authentic way. I am so grateful!!!!
I have felt huge shifts since my retreat.
First I finally feel in charge of myself and my choices instead of feeling like a small onlooker just responding to things that I encounter.
I have a good relationship with my mom, which I had written off before my retreat. I’m able to communicate with my husband more effectively even during more difficult discussions. When I’m in a bad mood I’m capable of moving through those feelings instead of letting the emotion control me.
I’m most proud of the quieting of my really harsh internal voice. I’m also incredibly proud of where I’m at with my binge eating work. It doesn’t consume my thoughts like it used to. I can grab a snack then realize I’m not actually hungry and I can put it back and not have a second thought about it.
All the anger I was carrying into my retreat is off my shoulders and I’m so thankful that I found y’all!
My 5 day Intensive EMDR retreat gave me a new and improved sense of self-awareness and self love by allowing me to look deep within myself. This office is a very safe and entirely accepting space. Bambi helped me walk through painful memories in order to process my trauma by gently nudging me to step out of my comfort zone, and giving helpful insights when I needed it most. The positive effects of this retreat continue to grow daily as my perspective on life has done a complete 360. If you are tired of living for others, being in constant survival mode, or are looking for caring and highly intelligent professionals, I 100% recommend this practice, as I will forever be grateful for the support and guidance they gave me.
So much has changed in my life! I feel free from so much trauma. I have more time In the day as I’m not bogged down with negative, self destructive thoughts. I am so grateful!
The best part of my 5-day retreat with Dr. Bambi Rattner is that she was able to reach my trauma in such a gentle way. Bambi is compassionate, healing, gracious, sensitive, honest and funny. My retreat went by so quickly, even while spending 7+ hours with Bambi every day. I loved how kindly she brings you back into painful memories and allows you to explore that space with such care and consideration.
I went to Bambi to work on my issue with rage. Five days later I had a solid handle on how and why my rage existed and coping methods to use if it pops up again. And I was able to unload a great deal of trauma memories that needed to be cleaned up. I feel much lighter having resolved many of these memories. It amazes me that I now have extra time in my day as I’m not protecting myself from those hurtful memories.
The best part of Bambi was how patiently she kept redirecting my thoughts and reactions back to the subject at hand. Bambi allowed my imagination to create alternative endings to such sad experiences in my life. Bambi has changed my life in such a positive way. I am forever grateful.
When your ego is breaking apart you can feel stuck with trauma and a lot of blocked emotions you collect through your life. You need to let all those emotions go to become your new self. Bambi with her kindness, love and knowledge was the person that helped me to become my new version of myself.
It could not have been another way. It was total purification. I was reborn.
Thank You Bambi for your love, kindness and knowledge with all my heart to help me in one of the most challenging times in my life.
At the very beginning of my intensive retreat with Bambi she told me that the process would open up my life to all the universe had to offer. That was a very nice thought but I had no idea that it would completely change my life. After struggling with chronic Lyme disease for 13 years and struggling to care for my disabled adult son I had lost my career, profession, and family. I believed that I would never be able to work again or be able to contribute to the world in any way. I had completely given up on my childhood dreams even before I reached adolescence.
After the first session I experienced a strange tingling sensation running from my brain all the way down through my legs to my feet. It felt as if my brain was reconnecting to parts of my body that had been disconnected all my life. I then had a series of quite severe Lyme die-offs and I lost a great deal of my anxiety and depression and I thought this is what she meant by “opening up my life”. It was wonderful but the best was yet to come. Just after the beginning of Covid and before our last retreat I received a phone call from the sister of a woman that I had worked for over twenty years ago which resulted in me acquiring my absolute dream job, the one I had abandoned in childhood.
I believe that the therapy removed the trauma-induced blockages in my brain so that its immune system could deal with the Lyme and I now have more energy than I have ever had in my life. I am not as anxious as I was and the depression has gone completely. My ADD is very much better and I regained my ability to count! Changes are still occurring as I deal with life’s usual challenges in different and more productive ways. Most importantly I am present in my own body, in my life and in my son’s life. Bambi is a highly skilled therapist and a warm, caring, sensitive and empathic person who has brought such incredible joy into my life. I highly recommend this process to anyone who has experienced trauma and especially to people who are struggling with chronic Lyme disease.
Dr Bambi Rattner worked with me doing intensive EMDR after my mother had passed. I was experiencing a reactivation of my PTSD from the sudden death of my father when I was a kid, that got reactivated from my mother’s recent death. It would have been a much longer road of healing without Dr Bambi’s support.
I will always be grateful for Dr Bambi’s kindness, expertise, and support as I was caught in a bad storm of suffering. She is a very gifted Psychologist with a big heart. I felt safe working with her as she brought me through some of my deepest healing work. She is a very bright gifted practitioner and I highly recommend her for EMDR therapy.
It seems impossible to describe the extent of the positive impact that Bambi’s intensive therapy brought to me. The first night after about 5-6 hours of her intensive trauma therapy, I experienced a new sense of serenity that I had not felt for close to 15 years.
Physically and mentally, it felt similar to when I came home from weeks of meditation retreat. My mind was calm, even when my then-teenage son started to insult his brother, which had been a significant trigger. (now I know that it was the trauma response) I did not feel the same knot in my stomach or the feeling of helplessness and fear. Instead, I felt a small annoyance about my son’s behavior. I gave him a warning, and that was the end of the story (well, for that night).
Things continued to improve not only regarding my emotional health but also my parenting skills and decision-making process because all the sadness, anxiety, and grief that I had occasionally felt for no particular reason disappeared. (Now, I know that the residue of unprocessed trauma memory caused such emotions) Sometimes, it felt as if they were wiped out during the intensive; other times, it felt as if they decayed like good homemade fertilizers.
Bambi was highly effective with her time with me, competent in providing the trauma therapy that I needed, and warm. I will forever be grateful that I was able to receive therapy treatment from Bambi. It was very different from other EMDR experiences that I received from therapists in the sense that the efficacy of treatment continued to work between sessions and even months (or possibly years) after sessions.
As someone who has struggled with suicidal depression since childhood, I have done important work with many therapists, counselors, and healers. But Bambi Rattner is the first to help me recognize, name, and face my deepest wounds, and to compassionately embrace the parts into which I broke myself to survive. Bambi has not only shown me that I have the strength to walk into the valley of the shadow I have always feared; she has led me into and through the valley and stood beside me there. Now, I can always hear her gentle, unwavering voice when I need to, no matter the roaring inside me, and I can always find the light she helped me kindle, no matter what storms are blowing, inside or out.
Along the way, Bambi has taught me so much about who I am and how my self – and selves in general – work, how they suffer and how and they heal. Her teaching has given me skills and understanding that help me every day, and have enabled me to be there for others. If you are looking for a therapist who can guide you on the journey from brokenness to wholeness, I hope you will reach out to Bambi.
I have participated in intensive therapy with Dr. Bambi Rattner on three different occasions. I had not done a therapy intensive before and was hesitant, but Bambi made me feel comfortable right from the start. She is warm, accepting, non-judgmental, and deeply kind. As a trauma survivor, it is hard for me to feel safe with people and yet Bambi created an environment where it felt safe to do this deep work. Bambi is a highly skilled psychologist who very obviously loves her work and cares about her clients. I would not hesitate to work with her again.
My life had become like ashes in my mouth. I felt nothing but fear, and maybe shame, but not even much of those because I was so shut down by a lifetime of “sucking it up” and “pulling myself up by my bootstraps” until, one day, those bootstraps ripped off in my hands. I was irritable, underemployed, joyless, easily startled, didn’t sleep much (and had nightmares when I did), deeply unsatisfied, lonely (despite work, family, and friends), and more often than not looking forward to the end of my miserable life.
All this came to pass despite 22 years of continuous sobriety as an active member of a 12-step program, plus years of talk therapy. And then a trusted person suggested I contact someone who could help me make the changes I needed to make. Bambi Rattner, Psy. D., engaged me in six solid days of a memory reconsolidation therapy called Progressive Counting (same principles as EMDR, but a different method, which she also knows well) and I put a past behind me that I barely knew I had. I slept a lot the next two weeks, then woke up a different person.
At 56, I was finally myself. Late, yes, but so much better than never. I was free of my intrusive memories from childhood and those gleaned from the dubious adventures that those awful childhood experiences caused me to seek as an adult. That’s what trauma really is: memories that won’t leave you in peace. In the years following treatment my marriage rekindled, my career changed (starting with a master’s degree at age 60!), my children forgave me for being so checked out for so many years, and I finally got to be a full participant in my life. I know joy now. And love. And sorrow—even anger and a useful amount of fear.
I can’t guarantee the same for you because this is my story. But I have since witnessed many people come through this treatment in far better shape than they went in. That much I can promise you. And Bambi knows how to get it done quickly, professionally, and discretely. I’d pick her again in a heartbeat for myself or anyone else I love.
I sought out Bambi’s help for my son when he was 5 years old and suffering from behavioral outbursts and PTSD from early childhood trauma.
I was impressed with Bambi’s abilities. She was always very calming and engaging. She was able to guide him through past traumatic memories in a way that allowed him to tolerate the pain and work through it.
After working with Bambi my son’s intense nightmares all but disappeared. After 2 years of not seeing her my son asked if he could work with her again. It was clear that he, as a 7 year old, could see the value in her work.
Bambi is a truly kind hearted person that I could not recommend enough!
Bambi was an integral part to overcoming issues I was still dealing with from my past. She is very kind, open, listens, and provides positive direction to her clients. I felt extremely comfortable working with her and had no trouble opening up and talking. She really helped improve my depression and anxiety in a short amount of time. I highly recommend using her expertise and help with any issue you are facing.
I knew I was in good hands… Bambi demonstrated just the right balance of abiding kindness and exceptional knowledge in her craft as a trauma therapist. She brought me through a week-long intensive EMDR retreat in a way that felt safe and productive. She genuinely cared and responded with attunement and warmth to the varied emotions and experiences that arose in me. I felt deeply understood by Bambi and was touched by her nurturing, wise reflections. She supported my journey of healing by processing difficult personal memories through the therapeutic lens of attachment and EMDR. Since my EMDR therapy retreat, I notice feeling better and better. I am aware of having more self-compassion, and lightness of heart as my sense of connection to others deepens.