Therapy costs about $75 to $150 per session, sometimes $200, which is why even though millions of people could probably benefit from it, in between the electric bills and car payments, it just isn’t very practical. But Matthew Chavez, better known as Levee, started Subway Therapy to give New Yorkers a much-needed outlet, free of charge.
Although he isn’t a licensed therapist, Levee sits at a table and listens to whoever wants to talk. Most of his clients participate by writing their thoughts on Post-it notes and sticking them up on a wall.
With the 2016 election just wrapping up, there’s a lot that people want and need to let out. Some people couldn’t be more ecstatic to have Donald Trump as the President-elect while others are devastated. In a nation divided, Subway Therapy is a simple and peaceful way to not only process feelings on an individual level but to start to come together as a community.
Continue reading for more details and photos.
Meet Levee, the subway therapist that is offering the people of New York a chance at healing.
This is how he does it. He sets up a table and two chairs at a subway stop. He also brings a few frames to hang up on the wall. He sits and listens. He hands out Post-it notes and pens, which people use to process their feelings.
He started Subway Therapy six months ago.
Levee told the NY Daily News that he was “curious about how people feel better about the things they feel bad about.”
His services were well received the Wednesday after the election.
An estimated 1,500 commuters stopped to participate. One person wrote “I feel like love lost.” Others wrote promises to protect anyone who felt unsafe.
Here’s just a glimpse of what post-election Subway Therapy looks like. Who knew that Post-its could be so powerful?
There’s something special about human connection and pen to paper, something you can’t get from unloading your emotions onto your Facebook page.
Though everyone is responding differently to the election results, Levee revealed, “I think the vast majority of [people] are actually very hopeful.”
“They’re about keeping the community together. They’re about not being crippled by fear. They’re about hope and moving forward.”
One woman was walking through Union Square after a protest Wednesday night and found comfort in the Post-it wall.
“Exhausted and with a headache that hasn’t completely gone away since Tuesday, I stumbled upon this wall of post-it notes in Union Square, where New Yorkers grieved, raged, and loved in pastel colors on the subway wall,” she wrote on Instagram.
“I added mine: ‘You matter. I love you. I am with you.'”
Beyond the election, Subway Therapy has been helpful for people stressed out about other issues.
Levee was delighted to see this young participant write, “I will become president one day.”
These twin boys didn’t really need any advice, they just wanted to chat with Levee about third grade life.
We can only imagine that therapists receive their own version of therapy by giving it, especially when you’ve got clients as hilarious as these two.
Levee introduced his social media followers to David Terry, an HIV positive artist.
“Everything that came out of his mouth was poetry,” Levee said of the Terry, who is a singer and dancer.
Terry told him, “People look outside themselves for meaning, and you have the power to validate yourself, but you do it in how you give back. How you pay it forward in terms of being human. Having some sort of humanity. We don’t have much left if any.”
“I want to make people smile, and laugh. If someone wants to get something off their chest, or get some friendly advice, I am happy to be here for them,” Levee writes.
If you’re in the New York City area and want to participate, make sure to check out the official Subway Therapy Facebook page where Levee posts his availability.