Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev LCSW-R, CASAC, is a social worker, family therapist, educator, and writer whose work addresses the unique therapeutic needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. She is the Founder and Clinical Director of Choices Counseling and Consulting providing individual and family therapy and the Training Director of TIGRIS—The Training Institute for Gender, Relationships, Identity, and Sexuality, a post-graduate training and consultation program housed in Albany, New York. Her expertise is in issues related to sexual and gender identity issues and the unique therapeutic needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. The focus of her work includes traditional psychotherapeutic modalities, within a feminist and family systems framework, as well as holistic and psychospiritual approaches. Arlene has worked for over thirty years addressing trauma, addictions, and recovery issues. She has dedicated her professional practice to the sensitive and respectful treatment of people dealing with sexual related concerns, including issues related to sexual orientation, gender expression, sexual functioning and performance, and “coming-out.” She is especially excited to work with parents and alternative families of all kinds.
Arlene is a part-time lecturer at the State University New York at Albany, School of Social Welfare and is the Project Director of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Project (SOGI). She is also an adjunct at Smith School of Social Welfare, Empire College, and Alliant University. Arlene has authored numerous journal articles and essays including authoring two books: The Complete Lesbian and Gay Parenting Guide and Transgender Emergence: Therapeutic Guidelines for Working with Gender-Variant People and their Families winner of the American Psychological Association (Division 44) Distinguished Book Award, 2006.
Arlene is the Founder of Rainbow Access Initiative, a training program on LGBT issues for therapists and medical professionals in the Capital Region and the Clinical Supervisor for Center Support: Counseling Services, a low-cost therapy program at The Pride Center of the Capital Region. She serves on the editorial Boards of The Journal of GLBT Family Studies, and The International Journal of Transgenderism. Arlene is a member of the National Association of Social Workers, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, the American Psychological Association (Division 44) and is on the Board of the American Family Therapy Academy, where she was the 2011 Conference Chair. She is a member of the Standards of Care Work Group (WPATH) and the Founder of Professionals Concerned with Gender Diagnoses in the DSM. She is a previous Board Member of Family Pride/The Family Equality Council and the previous Board Chair of the New York State NASW Lesbian and Gay Issues Committee. Additionally, Arlene is the mom of two growing boys.