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Featured Articles

» Mental Health Library » Featured Articles
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Susan Wolfson, LCSWThe Anger Trap - Rapid Resolution Therapy to Break Free From Anger
By Susan Wolfson, LCSW
Getting angry may seem like a normal reaction to frustrations in life. When you get stuck at a red light, or when the credit card bill is higher than expected, of course you get angry. Doesn't that make sense? You may know that your angry reactions don't change the situation, but what choice do you have? It's not that you choose to get angry, it just happens. You often think that the events that go on around you cause the anger. But when you realize that two different people can have two completely different responses to the same situation (think of the guy who yells at the waiter for serving him cold soup, while the guy at the table next to him simply asks the waiter to heat it up), we can see that it's something much deeper than the situation which is causing the anger. See full article

Maxine Sushelsky, LMHCLawyers and Depression
By Maxine Sushelsky, LMHC
Do you neglect your own needs in the service of your work? Do your personal relationships take a backseat to obligations of the job? Do friends and family complain that conversations with you feel more like cross examination? Practicing law requires time, effort and dedication. It is easy to lose track of your self and your life. Lawyers, as a profession, are at a high risk for depression, suicide and substance abuse. The behaviors required for success in the law can be contrary to those that contribute to mental health, a sense of well-being, and satisfying interpersonal relationships. In broad terms, legal work often calls for suppressing oneís emotions, involvement in relationships imbued with conflict; pressure to perform coupled with unrealistic self-expectations; and repeated exposure to the crisis and tragedy of others, all behaviors that tend to contribute to depression, isolation, stress and anxiety. See full article

Terry Tempinski, PhDThe ABC's of Psychotherapy
By Terry Tempinski, PhD
Deciding to pursue therapy, finding a therapist, making that first call and keeping that appointment are, from my perspective, huge and courageous steps. Moreover, these initial steps are usually taken partially in the dark, so to speak. You do not know this person, you have no clue as to whether they can help you, and here you are deciding to lay out for them intimate details about your personal life and struggles! People typically have all sorts of questions and concerns in beginning psychotherapy. Here I will attempt to address some of these. See full article

Sandra W. Froese, Ed.D, LPC-SHelp! My Teenager Has Gone Wild!
By Sandra W. Froese, Ed.D, LPC-S
After listening to the litany of complaints by parents these days, one would think that our teenagers are never going to grow up and take responsibility by getting an education and a good job to provide for a future family. Our culture reinforces the ideals of freedom, but rarely do we talk about the need for "freedom with responsibility" or about consequences for our actions or lack of action. So how do we raise todayís youth in a culture that is bombarded with sex, violence, drugs, and financial irresponsibility? I am here to tell you, it isnít easy! Here are some suggestions to help you get through the difficult times... See full article

Rachel Fleischman, MSW, LCSWSlow Down and Be Here Now
By Rachel Fleischman, MSW, LCSW
Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And today, today is a gift. That's why we call it the Present. ~Babatunde Olatunji. Studies have shown that Americans are more miserable now than ever. With the challenges that we face economically, it can feel as though we are just hanging on by a thread. This is not so. We all underestimate our need to slow down. If we are not careful, we live as if our schedules are our lives. At the end of the day, we havenít necessarily been present to our own experience. Mary Pipher, psychologist says: "I have never seen people as rushed and distracted as we are now. We have become a nation of multitaskers." I am incredibly fortunate to work with my counseling clients. Seeing such a rich and intimate side of people has helped me identify what elements are essential to slowing down and being here now. See full article

Susanne M Dillmann, Psy.D.Common Reactions to Psychological Trauma: Understanding Avoidance and Other Reactions
By Susanne M Dillmann, Psy.D.
Reactions to trauma follow a cyclical and often perpetual pattern, flowing from intrusive and arousal to avoidance reactions. Intrusive and arousal reactions bring the traumatic experience into oneís awareness. But being exposed to elements of the trauma is frightening, overwhelming, terrifying and at times socially embarrassing. Therefore, one often tries to bury anything connected with the trauma. These attempts at erasing aspects of the trauma are called avoidance reactions. All avoidance reactions prevent an individual from integrating the traumatic event into her or his life and thereby impede healing. Avoidance reactions can take on many unique forms; however there are several common ways by which people attempt to avoid elements of their traumatic experiences. See full article

Katy Golbar, MFTDon't Panic... It's only Panic
By Katy Golbar, MFT
Have you ever felt as though you are suddenly losing control and the only way to escape this horrible feeling is to run away and get as far away as you possibly can? Your heart is racing, you can't catch your breath, you don't know what you're running from and you don't know where you're running to. It's a horrible feeling that everyone can relate to, and it's called a "panic attack" or "anxiety attack." What is a panic attack? In simple medical terms, it is a period of intense fear or discomfort, typically with an abrupt onset and usually lasting no more than 30 minutes. The classic symptoms of a panic attack include shortness of breath, palpitations, chest pains, chills, and an overwhelming fear that one's life is in dire jeopardy. Many people who suffer through panic attacks frequent the emergency room--only to learn that they are perfectly healthy and have just experienced a panic attack. See full article

Jennifer Lehr, MA, MFTTelling the Truth in Relationships
By Jennifer Lehr, MA, MFT
Sometimes it is hard to tell the truth because: We don't trust our perceptions; We are afraid of hurting the other person; We are afraid we will make them angry or they will reject us; We don't realize that relationships are about relating; We have been taught to take care of others by not being ourselves; We assume that we are 100% responsible for the relationship; We are afraid of being transparent, real and seen; We are afraid of our power. If we don't tell the truth, the other person has no way of knowing who we are, how they are impacting us or what we are thinking or feeling. We assume (perhaps unconsciously) that they do not have the ability to navigate through their own feelings in response to us. By not telling the truth, we rob them of the opportunity to rise to the challenge of relating to who we are, of having a truly authentic relationship with us. See full article

Jennifer Lehr, MA, MFTSafety and Reactivity in Relationships
By Jennifer Lehr, MA, MFT
How many times have we begun a relationship, full of hope, only to have it crash and burn, or one party flee? Many of us have relational injuries from the past. This often manifests as a "fear of intimacy." Beneath this phrase, lurks not feeling safe in relationships. Our fathers may have had tempers, or our mothers may have been intrusive. A past partner may have been abusive, or perhaps their neediness or jealousy was a burden. A multitude of possibilities exist. Whatever the case, we found that relating to another could be costly. We learned to defend ourselves, to shut down, cover up, disappear, attack, or protect ourselves in some other way. We learned to not be too vulnerable, to only let the other in so far, or to run if we got scared. We learned to make ourselves safe by controlling the depth of the relationship in a variety of ways. See full article

Gwen Gruber, LCSWAre Eating Disorders Really Increasing in Middle Age?
By Gwen Gruber, LCSW
We live in a time where there is a tremendous obsession among many people to be thin. The aim of this article is to elaborate upon various aspects of this obsession, especially relating to my experience as a therapist. Carolyn Costin, MFT who is a well known author and practitioner poignantly illustrates in her book The Eating Disorder Source Book (2007) that eating disorders can strike at almost any age. Costin talks about how mothers used to call for treatment for their daughters; now she gets calls from daughters seeking treatment for their mothers. She talks about how Eating Disorders in midlife are becoming a growing area of concern. According to Costin, in the last few years cases of woman over 30 seeking treatment for an eating disorder has increased "400 percent." In my opinion an increase of "400 percent" is remarkable. See full article

Ondina Nandine Hatvany, MFTHelping Couples to Get Out of Negative Cycles
By Ondina Nandine Hatvany, MFT
I am often asked how I work with couples. This is probably as varied as the couples that I see, who are queer, alternative and traditional. However, if I had to pick a common area of focus, I would say it is to help couples free themselves from the claws of the negative cycles that they get caught in. In the first session, I usually ask the couple how they have tried to solve their problems. A typical response at this point is for each person to give me a long laundry list of what they think is wrong with their partner and what the partner needs to change. I call this the "The Blame/Shame Game.Ē It's a BIG trap and it keeps things very stuck! The 3 Steps to Get Out of the Blame/Shame Game: Step 1: Identifying the negative cycle... See full article

Gerald M. Stein, Ph.D.What to Expect in Your First Therapy Session
By Gerald M. Stein, Ph.D.
Going to therapy for the first time takes some courage. You are about to talk about some very personal things to someone who is a complete stranger. What can you expect? 1. First of all, expect to be at least a little bit nervous at the beginning. But even before you get inside the therapistís office, you will have to fill out some paper work. You will also receive a written description of the therapistís practice, including such details as whether the therapist accepts your medical insurance and how he handles that. Additionally, he will give you information about how your medical records are safe guarded and the extent to which those records are confidential. 2. The therapist should greet you, bring you into his consulting room, and sit face to face with you. Therapists generally want to convey "openness.Ē It is therefore rare for a therapist to sit behind a desk, with you on the other side. See full article

Kelly Romirowsky, PsyDTalk Therapy for Happier People
By Kelly Romirowsky, PsyD
Psychologists have made great strides in the assessment and treatment of all types of psychological disorders that cause distress and impair normal functioning. But what about those of you who are still functioning Ė you're going to work, doing the laundry, taking the kids to soccer practice Ė but you're just not as happy as you would like to be, or you're not on top of your game at work. You might not qualify for a diagnosis of a psychological disorder and probably wouldnít even think you should talk to a professional. After all, you're not in crisis Ė youíre dealing with LIFE. Although the field of psychology will always be researching and discovering ways to treat the usual distressing stuff that brings someone into a therapistís office, some psychologists are really switching their focus. See full article

Kelly Romirowsky, PsyDThe Sunday Night Ritual: Paying Attention
By Kelly Romirowsky, PsyD
What is Sunday night like in your house? Do you spend it trying to pretend tomorrow isnít Monday? Do you make an endless to do list for the coming week? Do you get a stomachache just thinking about tomorrow? Do you pace your house because you canít fall asleep? Or do you stay up until youíre bleary-eyed watching TV or surfing the web to keep your mind occupied? How ever you spend your Sunday night, for many of us, our Sunday night ritual could use a little makeover. Many people are spending lots of time and energy worrying about the economy, their bank accounts and how they will pay their next bill. Some are even feeling helpless and depressed as they go to a job they hate but canít leave. See full article

Kelly Romirowsky, PsyDThe Sunday Night Ritual Part 2: Talking Back
By Kelly Romirowsky, PsyD
We are all familiar with that dreaded Sunday night ritual many of us have developed in response to knowing tomorrow is Monday. In part 1, I asked you to take notice of what you were feeling physically and emotionally and what thoughts were racing through your head on Sunday night before bed. The reason for doing this is we can't change what we don't recognize. As uncomfortable as it is to imagine or pay attention to what it feels like, it's important to get to know the ways in which you're handling the stress. Is your usual reaction to sit in front of the TV for hours to distract yourself, to busy yourself with housework, or to talk to your friend about your woes until you're blue in the face? Many people choose to avoid focusing on what it is that bothers them about this time. See full article

Roberta Rachel Omin, LCSWThe Place of Money in Our Lives: Addressing the Economic Crisis with Our Children
By Roberta Rachel Omin, LCSW
This economic crisis is unprecedented in our personal history. This is a period of precarious security, lost jobs, mounting foreclosures, dwindling retirement accounts, and overextended credit. Although Westchester is one of the wealthiest counties in the country, we are still affected. People are being laid off in many businesses. All of us are re-evaluating and modifying the way we have been living. We have less disposable income and have to be more cautious about how we spend it. For many of us, nothing is too far. However, forecasters state this deep recession will be here for a while. Parents have spoken with me about their concerns regarding talking with their children about the economy and its impact at home. See full article

Karen Rose Molenda, M.A., LMFTRe-Commitment in Midlife Marriage: A Letter to Couples, Part I
By Karen Rose Molenda, M.A., LMFT
So often it is the very qualities that in the beginning you love in your partner that later appear as their largest limitations and are the focus of constant resentment and bitterness between you as a couple. Perhaps he was so wonderfully laid back and had such a relaxed attitude about life that he beautifully complemented your anxiety and need for a fast-paced life. Perhaps it was he who soothed and comforted you when you were distressed, but now you find yourself describing this quality in him as unproductive, non-aggressive, or apathetic. Remember when you loved her outgoing, positive, confident sense of herself--how thankful you were that you had a woman who could take some of the pressure off of you in social gatherings when you experienced difficulty and discomfort at conversing in large groups? Perhaps now you experience that same quality as flirtatious, insincere, and sometimes evasive. These qualities within your partner have not changed. What has changed is your perception of the value of that quality within your life. See full article

Karen Rose Molenda, M.A., LMFTRe-Commitment in Midlife Marriage: A Letter to Couples, Part II
By Karen Rose Molenda, M.A., LMFT
Now that you have dedicated yourself to reflecting on the past and have resurrected some of those early memories and feelings, it is so important, even in this time of grave indecision and emotional turmoil, to look closely and carefully at your partnerís strengths. It is so easy yet so damaging to focus on a limited piece of your partnerís character that seems to be causing difficulty in your marriage. It is human nature to want to ignore any facts that may contaminate or dilute oneís desired outcome. It is so natural to want to come to a decision and therefore to select only those facts that will contribute to a quick and emphatic conclusion. There is always the temptation to eliminate as quickly as possible the stress inherent in decision making as well as to bypass the grief that often follows by making rapid determinations in order to put it behind and get on with life. See full article

Karen Rose Molenda, M.A., LMFTRe-Commitment in Midlife Marriage: A Letter to Couples, Part III
By Karen Rose Molenda, M.A., LMFT
If you and your partner decide that having reflected on your past and having developed plans to reconstruct your present you wish to commit to re-envisioning your future together, my heart and my respect reach out to you. One of the greatest tasks for individuals in midlife is to re-envision their marriage. I want you to understand that you and your partner will feel at times like a small boat being tossed about on a very large sea--seeing neither the land you left nor the land you hope to settle. I want you to understand and accept that you are far from being solely responsible for the burdens weighing on your marriage at this time of your life, and to value that in critical ways you and other contemporary couples face more challenges than ever before experienced in marriage. See full article

Patti Geier, LCSWThe Dark Side of Prescription Drugs
By Patti Geier, LCSW
A great deal has been written about alcoholism and drug addiction over the last two decades. However, information regarding prescription drug abuse and addiction only seems to surface when someone famous has a problem and needs treatment or dies. Historically, prescription drug addiction has been the most underreported drug abuse problem in the nation (National Institute of Drug Abuse). It is also the least understood. Addiction to and withdrawal from prescription drugs can be more dangerous than other substances because of the insidious nature of these drugs. Two types of the most commonly abused drugs are opioids and benzodiazepines. Opioids are generally used to control pain. Benzodiazepines, or tranquilizers, are used to manage anxiety. See full article

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