Cutting in teenagers

By: Mariam Elbedeiwy

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Have you ever seen someone with a lot of cutting marks on their wrists, or arms? Maybe you went to the beach with a friend and saw cutting marks on their thighs or abdomen? Did you wonder why they would do that? Were you confused? Did it seem abnormal?  Cutting has become more prevalent in the United States.  A source states that “In the U.S., it’s estimated that one in every 200 girls between 13 and 19 years old, or one-half of one percent, cut themselves regularly. Those who cut make up about 70 percent of teen girls who self-injure”.images (1)

It is very hard for friends and family to react to this act.  What to say and what to do can become a very sensitive topic.  What makes it even harder is that these teenagers have the tendency to keep everything pent up.  A lot of websites help define and break down what to do and how to react.  One website explains it as the following, “For most, cutting is an attempt to interrupt strong emotions and pressures that seem impossible to tolerate. It can be related to broader emotional issues that need attention. Most of the time, cutting is not a suicide attempt”.  With that being said, it is best not to react with fear or anger, but with understanding.  Here are some examples for parents and friends of how to deal with cutters:

  • Let your teen know you’ll be there to listen when feelings are painful or troubles seem too hard to bear.
  • Help your teen create a plan for what to do instead of cutting when pressures get strong.
  • Encourage your teen to talk about everyday experiences and put feelings, needs, disappointments, successes, and opinions into words.
  • Be there to listen, comfort, and help your teen think of solutions to problems and offer support when troubles arise.
  • Spend time together doing something fun, relaxing, or just hanging out. You might take a walk, go for a drive, share a snack, or run some errands.
  • Focus on positives. While it helps to talk about troubles, avoid dwelling on them. Make sure what’s good about life gets airtime, too.

At the end of the day it could be very harmful for an individual to cut, so professional help should be acquired. “Therapy can allow teens to tell their stories, put their difficult experiences into words, and learn skills to deal with stresses that are part of life. Therapy also can help identify any underlying mental health condition that needs evaluation and treatment. For many teens, cutting is a clue to depression or bipolar (mood) problems, unresolved grief, compulsive behaviors, or struggles with perfectionism”.

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Sources:

http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/behavior/help_cutting.html#

http://www.parenting.org/article/understanding-teen-cutting-and-self-harm

http://teenshealth.org/teen/your_mind/problems/about_cutting.html

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How much anger is enough?

How much anger is enough?

By: Mariam Elbedeiwy

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As humans we experience a lot of different emotions.  Most of them are necessary for survival, but some overwhelm us and affect our daily lives.  For example, have you ever seen someone sitting in traffic, angry and cursing up a storm? Or seen someone get mad over the smallest mistake?  Those are common signs of anger issues.  Some people are good at expressing their anger, while some aren’t.

The American Psychological Association breaks down a lot of information about anger, including the normal ways to express it.  They state that there are different ways to express this anger, and when or if they fail, then help is needed.

The three ways to express anger properly are, to first be aggressive about it, second suppressing it and third to control and calm internal responses.  If the proper ways to express anger don’t work then there are always alternatives and help provided.

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The biggest problem our society faces is that no one likes to admit that they have an issue.  We tend to see the consequences of the denial every day.  The shootings and current violence in Ferguson is a perfect example.  If we analyze it we’ll realize that violence emerges from anger that hasn’t been expressed properly.  Not only that anger affects each individual, but it also affects the relationships with people that we care about.

Now that we understand that improperly expressed anger can result in negative consequences, it would be wise to someone with anger issues to consider counseling.  The American Psychological Association states that, a psychologist or other licensed mental health professional can work with individuals to help develop a range of techniques for changing your thinking and your behavior.

Source: http://www.apa.org/topics/anger/control.aspx?item=5

Domestic Violence: Are You In Danger?

Domestic Violence: Are You In Danger?

Domestic Violence: Are You In Danger?

By: Paula Roa

When we think about violence, we believe it to exist in the streets and outside the walls of our home. It is hard to picture domestic violence in our own home because the home is a safe haven and a protective environment where we seek shelter. But the reality is that violence in the home is a prevalent occurrence and happens more often than we would like to believe.

Domestic violence is most common towards women, but men are not immune. Women and men can both be the aggressors and the victims. When violence enters the home, the victim has options and should never feel abandoned or helpless.

A great place to start finding help is to analyze the danger and risk of leaving. If the danger level is too high and there is a possibility of triggering more violence, find a safe way to escape to a safe house for domestic violence. Reporting the aggressor is a MUST. It is important to have the violence of the aggressor on record so that when needed, the police will have a better opportunity to protect the victim.

The Prevention of Domestic Violence Act from the Domestic Violence Law of New Jersey:

Applies to you if you are: a person 18 years of age or older, or an emancipated minor, subjected to domestic violence by a spouse or former spouse, a present or former household member or someone with whom you have a child in common. This law also applies to you if you are subjected to domestic violence within a dating relationship, regardless of your age (under or over 18). You do not have to be married or living with the abuser in order to be protected.

The Prevention of Domestic Violence Act states:

You are a victim of domestic violence if you have experienced:

  • beatings or physical attacks such as kicking, slapping, punching or hair pulling;
  • threats that make you fear serious injury to yourself or your children;
  • threats that make you fear for your life;
  • imprisonment within your own home or at another location;
  • forced sexual contact or rape under threats of harm to yourself or someone you care about;
  • embarrassment or alarm because of lewd or shocking behavior;
  • damage to your personal property;
  • forced entry into your home, with or without a weapon;
  • threats with a weapon such as a gun or knife;
  • repeated verbal humiliation and attacks

 

Finding help and therapy after a traumatic event such as domestic violence is important for the well-being of the victim. Some disorders that may arise after domestic violence can include but are not limited to: PTSD, severe depression, phobias, anxiety, and panic attacks.  There are many times when helplessness is inevitable, however with a little motivation and a lot of courage, a bad situation can see its end.

Please contact our Bergen County NJ or Manhattan NY offices of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists for an evaluation and treatment at Arista Counseling and Psychological Services (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920.

References:

http://www.apa.org/pi/women/programs/violence/partner.aspx?item=3#

http://www.womanspace.org/get-educated/the-law/domestic-violence-law/

http://www.njsbf.org/images/content/1/1/11076/domesticviolence.pdf

Psychotherapy: The Myth of Therapy

Psychotherapy: The Myth of Therapy

Psychotherapy: The Myth of Therapy

By: Paula Roa

Have you ever considered or questioned what therapy can do for you? People are more often than not afraid or skeptical about seeking help for mental-illness or emotional distress. The myth around seeking help from the psychology field steams from the self-stigma behind mental illness and help-seeking. “Self-stigma is defined as the reduction in a person’s self-esteem or sense of self-worth due to the perceptions that he or she is socially unacceptable.”Self-stigmas prevent many people from appreciating and allowing therapy into their lives. Unfortunately people tend to associate therapy as a waste of time because they do not understand how useful and important psychotherapy is in changing dysfunctional behavior and promoting health and well being.

When battling against self-stigmas, research has shown that the Self-Affirmation Theory is a good place to start. The self-affirmation theory is fundamentally based on the perception that when, “individuals are motivated to maintain a global sense of self-worth by holding on to favorable self-conceptions and positive beliefs that one is a competent, adequate, and stable individual” a person can become more receptive to otherwise intimidating ideas. When motivating someone, or one’s self, in this way, it opens the path to accepting new concepts that can potentially threaten the self-image. By lifting self-esteem we can help someone or one’s self understand the delicate and controversial subject that is psychology and seeking help. Therapy has a rather arguable reputation. However, it has helped and continues to help countless people that are brave enough to seek psychological help and embrace the research that many professionals have worked on to help their fellow human beings.

If you are considering therapy for yourself or your loved one, contact our New Jersey or Manhattan offices of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists for an evaluation. Arista Counseling and Psychological Services (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920

Sources:

Lannin, D., Guyll, M., Vogel, D., & Madon, S. (2013). Reducing the stigma associated with seeking

psychotherapy through self-affirmation. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 508-519

Tucker, J., Hammer, J., Vogel, D., Bitman, R., Wade, N., & Maier, E. (2013). Disentangling self-stigma:

Are mental illness and help-seeking self-stigmas different? Journal of Counseling

Psychology, 520- 531.