Need treatment? Find help or get online counseling right now!

Children and Teens

‘Help Me Figure Myself Out’: The Paved Road to the Adolescent Mind

“What do I do? I don’t know what to do with him anymore!” This is one of the many scenarios of a frantic parent knocking on the therapist’s door. Teenage years are tough, let’s not kid ourselves. We have been there, we remember.

In my practice I’ve consulted numerous parents on teens’ presenting problems such as: indifference, apathy, resistance, verbal/physical aggressiveness, destructive behavior, mood swings and a complete emotional shutdown expressed by their teenage sons and daughters.
Continue Reading

Bipolar

How to Find Accurate, Evidence-Based Information on Mood Disorders


If I had to choose just one piece of advice to give to the person disabled by depression or any mood disorder, it would be this: Work with the right professionals and seek out accurate, evidence-based information.

In 2006, having spent years absorbing inaccurate information and working with amateurs, I needed a miracle. I was dangerously close to taking my life. I made an appointment with the
Continue Reading

Addiction

Repaving the Road

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” - Lewis Carroll
Yesterday, I spent 12 hours sitting in my therapy office as I worked with clients who brought with them, a collective steamer trunk of challenges, trauma history, pain, triumphs to celebrate, healing stories, insights, and wisdom. Thank goodness for those last few items, since if all I saw were the first, I’m not sure how I could have continued my career for the 38 years I have logged. If calculated in dog years, that would equal 342 turns of the calendar pages.
Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

All Roads Lead to Therapy

December 2016 arrived, and I had given the year all that was left in me. Most of the year was spent cycling in and out of depressive episodes, battling severe loneliness, and questioning if moving across the country was a grave mistake. The pains of the year brought one realization to light, I could no longer go through life’s journey alone anymore. I needed something beyond that motivational speech from a good friend. I needed more than the insight that a caring coworker could provide. I needed help… I needed professional help. It was time to return to therapy.
Continue Reading

General

How to Mindfully Fire Toxic Friends & Loved Ones: A Shrink’s Guide to Setting Boundaries

"Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it" - unknown 

As a Manhattan-based psychotherapist working with a high-functioning adult population, I am always surprised to encounter a repetitive theme in my office. People, no matter how smart, successful, and savvy, find it impossible to break up with their toxic jobs, relationships, and friends. Clients repeatedly walk into my practice frustrated with their life-draining, dysfunctional relationships or jobs.
Continue Reading

Bullying

Why Are We Still Labeling Children as ‘Emotionally Disturbed’?

I'm not perfect at my job, but I know my presence makes a world of difference

I proudly landed my first school counseling job at a public school in New York City. I had been warned by fellow counselors we can never be fully prepared to take on the enormity of our role.

I admit to feeling intimidated upon hearing the label given to children of whom I would be working. The term, "emotionally disturbed (ED)" also intrigued me, but painted a picture before I even met a single child on my caseload. Not learning specific special education classifications in graduate school, I read up as much as I could about this identification. The image my mind had created included children appearing older than their natural age, possessing negativity and a toughness about them; similarly, to the many Hollywood movies about inner city kids, and contrary to the children whom I grew up with in suburban schools. And then I arrived to work on my first day, wide-eyed and with a tough exterior of my own that I anticipated I would need.
Continue Reading

General

7 More Bad, Annoying Habits of Therapists

Back in 2009, I wrote an article detailing some of the most annoying bad habits of therapists. It included things such as showing up late for a client's appointment, eating, sleeping or yawning in front of a client, or being distracted by a phone, text, email or pet.

Yes, these are all real things that happen every day in some therapists' offices. But generally, they are not signs of a good therapist, especially if they occur with regularity. (A once-in-a-while yawn is only human, after all.)

Here are seven more bad habits of therapists, habits that signal there may be a problem with your therapist's attention, focus -- or even career choice.

Continue Reading

Disorders

Being a Contender in Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is not for the faint-of-heart. Entering therapy is a substantial risk, especially when considering there is no blue print or written guarantee that you will get better. At the same time, it is just as thrilling as it is terrifying, like a sedentary extreme sport or emotional skydiving. Based in art, philosophy, and science, psychotherapy is fierce and a force to be reckoned with, so it still surprises me when patients worry about being judged as weak for stepping up to that level of commitment.

As a licensed social worker and post-graduate fellow, I was recently ask to speak to a group of interns about entering a program for psychoanalytically-informed psychotherapy after graduation.
Continue Reading

Depression

Blame the Illness, Not the Patient

One of the most hurtful comments made to me during the worst of my depression was this: "You must not want to get better."

I know that person didn't intend to be spiteful or mean. She's just plain ignorant regarding mental health issues. (But I still haven't let it go, obviously.)

Comments like that are why I'm so passionate about educating folks on mental illness and eliminating the isolating stigma of our condition. Because it's hard enough fighting all the negative intrusive thoughts within our head. We don't need additional insults and negative opinions -- confirmation of our weakness -- from folks who have never wanted to die and consider all suicidal thoughts self-absorbed and pathetic.
Continue Reading