Intergenerational Trauma: What is it?

Intergenerational Trauma: What is it?

By Erika Ortiz

            Intergenerational trauma is a term used to describe the difficulties or challenges a family has experienced for generations. Intergenerational trauma can inflict negative feelings and experiences through either an individual or the family as a whole. It usually starts with one family member who has had a traumatic experience. The family members then goes on to either repeat the action that traumatized them or project their feelings onto family members, continuing the cycle of trauma. Historical trauma can catalyze intergenerational trauma. For example, a great-grandmother survived the Holocaust; however, she now behaves in a very reserved and cold manner, so she struggles to express emotions such as love and compassion. Since she raised her children in such a manner, they may grow and have children and display that same type of avoidant relationship. Another example can be that a mother was sexually abused when she was younger, her daughter was also sexually abused, and her granddaughter suffered from that experience. The individual who suffers the trauma can pass down and then project the feelings that were felt at the time of the incident. Since they most likely did not receive the proper care and treatment to manage the mental health issues that they were experiencing, they relayed that same traumatic feeling to the next generation of their family. Hence, it is critical to seek professional help. Here are some ways to cope/deal with inter-generational trauma:

  • Break the cycle- interrupt and prevent the repetition of trauma
  • Hear each other out- although this can be difficult, listening is key to fixing
  • Get the professionals involved- the best way to cope with any mental health issue or fragmented relationship is to get a qualified professional’s help


Source:

https://www.choosingtherapy.com/intergenerational-trauma/

If you or someone you know is experiencing intergenerational trauma or other traumas, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com

Family Therapy: Reasons to Seek Treatment & What to Expect

Family Therapy: Reasons to Seek Treatment & What to Expect

By Jackie Molan

Family therapy is a form of psychotherapy aimed at improving communication and relationships within a family unit. The therapeutic environment offers a safe and confidential space for family members to express thoughts and feelings that they might otherwise be uncomfortable sharing. Family therapy is usually about 12 sessions in length, allowing the therapist to follow a method with a clear end goal that is understood by each family member. Even though this is a short-term type of therapy, it can teach skills and coping strategies that can be used to remedy family problems even after the course of treatment has ended.

Family therapy is typically sought out by families experiencing one or more of the following issues:

  • Parent/child conflict
  • Child behavioral problems
  • Financial stress
  • Grief
  • Anger issues
  • Communication difficulties
  • A family member’s substance abuse or mental illness (depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, etc.) is negatively impacting the rest of the family

It is important to know what to expect when starting family therapy. During the first session, the therapist will likely want to meet with the family as a group in order to gather information about the issue and see how family roles and dynamics operate. In the subsequent sessions, they may sometimes choose to meet with each family member individually to focus more on personal considerations. Overall, you can expect to gain the skills to:

  • Identify strengths and weaknesses within the family
  • Learn to effectively express emotions with family members
  • Analyze existing factors that may contribute to both present and future conflicts, such as family roles

Family stressors can turn into damaging problems if they are not addressed in a timely fashion. Family therapy provides the tools needed to restore a dysfunctional family to a more healthy, unified, and empathetic unit.

If you or someone you know is seeking family therapy, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/family-therapy/about/pac-20385237

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapy-types/marriage-and-family-therapy

https://www.123rf.com/clipart-vector/family_therapy.html

Eating Disorders: Recognizing Signs in Others

Eating Disorders: Recognizing Signs in Others

By Kim Simone

Warning Signs of Eating Disorders

Signs of eating disorders oftentimes go unrecognized by those around the struggling individual. While eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder each have their own risks, it is critical to know that they can be fatal if left untreated for a certain period of time. Fortunately, eating disorders can be treated by mental health care providers. Supportively encouraging an individual struggling with an eating disorder to seek treatment can save their life.

Warning signs may include but are not limited to:

Behavioral Signs:

  • Skipping meals
  • Withdrawal from friends and activities
  • Refusal to eat certain foods
  • Expressing preoccupation with food, weight, nutrition, etc.
  • Consuming only small portions of food at a time

Emotional Signs:

  • Extreme concern with body shape and size
  • Extreme mood swings

Physical Signs:

  • Noticeable fluctuations in weight
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Feeling cold regularly
  • Difficulties concentrating
  • Stomach cramps and other gastrointestinal issues

Seeking Treatment

It is important to seek help as soon as warning signs appear given that the chance for recovery from an eating disorder increases the earlier it is detected, diagnosed, and treated. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a commonly used psychotherapeutic approach for eating disorder treatment. It emphasizes the interaction between an individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The approach is centered on shifting negative thoughts and behaviors to more positive thoughts and healthier alternatives.

The treatment for different eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder vary. During treatment, a mental health care provider can screen and treat for other underlying issues, such as anxiety and depression, as these can influence treatment outcomes. Medications can be an effective treatment option when combined with psychotherapy in treating individuals struggling with an eating disorder. Supportively encouraging an individual to seek treatment for an eating disorder can be lifesaving.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com.

Sources:

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/warning-signs-and-symptoms

https://www.yourhealthinmind.org/mental-illnesses-disorders/eating-disorders/treatment

Image Source:

https://integrativelifecenter.com/how-diet-culture-influences-eating-disorders/

School Shootings: How to Help Your Child’s Anxiety Following Tragedy

School Shootings: How to Help Your Child’s Anxiety Following Tragedy

By Kim Simone

In times of uncertainty and fear, children will often turn to those who bring them certainty and calm. Unfortunately, in the aftermath of a school shooting, parents may not be able to give their children the answers they need to alleviate their anxiety. Even when a child is far removed from the setting of a school shooting, being in a school setting can induce anxiety. It is important that parents recognize signs of distress and anxiety exhibited by their child following a tragedy.

Elementary school students will likely have questions that have no definitive answers, such as the motives behind a school shooting. Parents need to be prepared to answer their child with caution as children may not be emotionally prepared to hear explicit details. Furthermore, children may be concerned with how the shooting may have impacted them, or rather, how a shooting may impact them in the future. Questions such as “Could this happen to me?” or “Could this happen at my school?” show how uncertainty can lead to excessive levels of anxiety in a child. 

Symptoms of anxiety in children can include unexplained stomachaches, headaches, and changes in sleeping and eating behaviors. It is also important to note any changes in academic and social behavior in school, as anxiety may be heightened in this environment.

If your child is experiencing excessive worry and anxiety as a result of tragedy, consider having them speak to a child psychologist. Prolonged anxiety can harm a student academically, socially, and emotionally. Building a support system for children who are overcome by distress and anxiety is crucial in bringing a sense of calm to their environment in a time of uncertainty.

If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety after a tragedy, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://childmind.org/article/anxiety-school-shooting/

https://www.usnews.com/education/k12/articles/school-shootings-how-to-help-kids-cope

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: The Aftermath of a School Shooting

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: The Aftermath of a School Shooting

By Fiona McDermut

            After yet another school shooting in the United States left 19 children dead, many parents in grief, and a multitude of survivors in agony, it is time we recognize the impact that is left on the survivors of such devastating events. Although children are known to be particularly resilient, such impactful experiences may lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

            In children, PTSD symptoms are often overlooked or confused with other psychiatric disorders. These symptoms may include restlessness, fidgety behavior, trouble focusing or staying organized, reliving traumatic events through thought or play, nightmares, inconsistent sleep patterns, intense fear or sadness, angry outbursts, avoiding topics associated with the traumatic event, and feelings of denial. These emotions may be triggered by something that reminds the child of the event.

            Such devastating events are hard for anyone to understand, especially a child. If your child has experienced trauma, the symptoms can be best treated if they get in contact with a mental healthcare provider as soon as possible. Even if the child is not ready to talk about the events, many psychologists and psychotherapists can understand the situation by observing the child’s behaviors. Multi modal psychotherapy including cognitive behavioral therapy is frequently used in these situations. In certain situations, your child’s therapist may recommend the addition of safe and helpful medication.

            School should be a safe space for children, but after recent events, apprehensiveness in regard to attending school is understandable. If you or your child is experiencing extreme persistent fear following the recent events, your child will benefit from meeting with a mental health professional to get necessary treatment for his or her symptoms.

            If you or someone you know is struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/ptsd.html

Image Source:

https://www.unicef.org/parenting/how-talk-your-children-about-conflict-and-war

Body Image: The Role of Body Dissatisfaction on Self-Esteem

Body Image: The Role of Body Dissatisfaction on Self-Esteem

By Kim Simone

Body dissatisfaction is characterized by an individual’s persistent negative thoughts and feelings about his or her body. It is commonly influenced by external factors such as societal norms and perceived pressure from other individuals. High levels of body dissatisfaction can lead to low self-esteem and ultimately lead to harmful eating and exercising behaviors.

On the contrary, having a positive body image is associated with self-acceptance, higher self-esteem, and having healthier practices in regards to eating and exercising.

The Four Primary Elements of Body Image:

  1. Perceptual body image:  the way you see your body
  2. Cognitive body image:  the way you think about your body
  3. Affective body image: the way you feel about your body (often characterized by satisfaction or dissatisfaction)
  4. Behavioral body image: the behaviors you engage in as a result of your body image (may include unhealthy eating behaviors and exercising habits)

Body dissatisfaction fluctuates throughout the lifespan and is correlated with lower levels of self-esteem. These concerns are linked with poor self-concept, which not only affects physical and mental health, but also impacts individuals socially and academically. Since body dissatisfaction often leads to low self-esteem, individuals may be at risk for developing more serious disorders. A poor self-concept, and consequently a poor body image, may influence eating behaviors, making individuals more at risk for developing an eating disorder.

Given that the chance for recovery from an eating disorder increases the earlier it is detected, diagnosed, and treated, it is important to seek help as soon as warning signs appear. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a commonly used psychotherapeutic approach for eating disorder treatment. The approach emphasizes having the individual understand the interaction and inter relatedness between his or her thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This therapy focuses on shifting negative thoughts and behaviors to more positive thoughts and healthier alternatives. Furthermore, a mental health care provider can screen and treat for other underlying issues, such as anxiety and depression, as these can influence treatment outcomes.  

If you or someone you know is struggling with body dissatisfaction, self-esteem, and/or eating disorders, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://nedc.com.au/eating-disorders/eating-disorders-explained/body-image/

https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2012-14627-021

https://www.waldenu.edu/online-masters-programs/ms-in-clinical-mental-health-counseling/resource/what-is-body-dissatisfaction-and-how-does-it-lead-to-eating-disorders

Image Source:

https://img.huffingtonpost.com/asset/5bb5f917210000d501c88483.jpeg?ops=scalefit_720_noupscale&format=webp

Depression: Identifying Signs of Depression in Someone Close to You

Identifying Signs of Depression in Someone Close to You

By Fiona McDermut

            Understanding the signs and symptoms of mental illness is not a simple task, especially when it comes to someone you care about. Even when the signs of mental illness are identified, it is difficult to decide what to do next. The COVID-19 pandemic prompted a 25% increase in cases of depression in the world. In a time of great distress for many, it is vital to look out for the people we love.

            If you suspect that someone you know may be struggling with depression, it is crucial to look out for the following signs:

  • Loss of interest
  • Extreme loss or increase in appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Hopelessness
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
  • Irritability
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, and sexual dysfunction

            Some of these signs may seem obvious, but many who struggle with depression may cut themselves off from the social world. This makes it difficult to detect the warning signs of mental illness. Therefore, it is important to check in on the people you care about, especially during a time in which the majority of social interactions have been cut off, limited, or turned to strictly virtual contact. If someone you know is struggling with symptoms of depression, it may be necessary to seek medical help. There are many causes of depression, many types of depression, and many treatment methods. A mental health care professional will be able to identify the key factors that go into developing a treatment plan that works best for each individual in need.

The following methods are used to treat people with depression:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Hypnosis
  • Antidepressant medication
  • Brain stimulation therapy

            Admitting that one needs help is not an easy task. Therefore, providing support, comfort, and assistance for a loved one can make a tremendous difference in one’s mental health outcomes. Simply having one strong social connection has been shown to have multiple health benefits. Most people are not trained in the treatment of depression, but everyone is capable of spending time with those they love and guiding them through the process of recovery.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.who.int/news/item/02-03-2022-covid-19-pandemic-triggers-25-increase-in-prevalence-of-anxiety-and-depression-worldwide#:~:text=COVID%2D19%20pandemic%20triggers%2025,of%20anxiety%20and%20depression%20worldwide

https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/recognizing-symptoms#lostinterest

Image Source: https://ggsc.s3.amazonaws.com/images/uploads/How_Friends_Help_You_Regulate_Your_Emotions.jpg

Anxiety in Elementary School Students

Anxiety in Elementary School Students

By Kim Simone

Symptoms of Anxiety

Elementary school students may present with different symptoms of anxiety each day before, during, and after school. Physical manifestations of anxiety may include stomachaches, restlessness, heart palpitations, and complaints of not feeling well enough to attend school. These children often have difficulty falling and staying asleep and may refuse to attend school in the morning. While in the classroom, these students may show difficulty concentrating, show excessive preoccupation with performance, or may perform poorly as a result of excess worry.

Types of Anxiety Presented

Separation anxiety is characterized by excessive worry about being separated from caregivers and commonly affects students of young ages. Social anxiety is another disorder that can be found in children, impacting their ability to participate in the classroom and socialize with their classmates. Another disorder is generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) which affects students who worry about a wide variety of school issues. For instance, students with GAD may struggle with academic perfectionism. Although typically harder to identify in a school setting at a young age, young students may present with symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Students with this disorder may perform compulsive rituals or behaviors to ease their anxiety. Other anxiety disorders that may affect a student are selective mutism and specific phobias. These often impact academic and social performance.

Treatment Options

Psychotherapy can help children struggling with anxiety. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most commonly used treatment option. This therapy focuses on negative patterns of thoughts and addresses how thoughts affect the way the child feels. Parents of children with anxiety disorders can benefit from speaking to a child psychologist about how they can help. Medications may also be used to ease symptoms for a wide-variety of anxiety disorders. Treatment for anxiety disorders can be done through in-person services and virtual options, which can provide the necessary help to improve daily functioning.

If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://childmind.org/article/classroom-anxiety-in-children/

Therapy for Anxiety Disorders

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/anxiety/children-and-anxiety#:~:text=They%20may%20be%20overly%20or,enough%20to%20go%20to%20school.

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Insomnia: How Depression Is Related to Insomnia

By Kim Simone

Symptoms of insomnia occur in approximately 33% to 50% of the adult population and undoubtedly affect a variety of areas of an individual’s life. In addition to a complaint of dissatisfaction with sleep quality or quantity, individuals may have difficulty falling asleep, difficulty maintaining sleep, and early-morning awakening with an inability to fall back to sleep. These difficulties may occur at least 3 nights per week and be present for at least 3 months.

Oftentimes, these sleep disturbances affect various parts of an individual’s daily life. As a result of poor sleep, individuals struggling with insomnia may display difficulties behaviorally, socially, academically.

Those struggling with depression oftentimes present with symptoms of insomnia, as the condition may influence their quality and/or quantity of sleep. Depressive symptoms often influence an individual’s quality of sleep and how much they sleep.

On the contrary, those struggling with insomnia oftentimes present with symptoms of depression. Since feelings of depression may cause individuals to lose interest in their daily activities and withdraw from those closest to them, therapy is often the treatment of choice to alleviate the depressive symptoms that result from a lack of quality and quantity of sleep.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be useful in the treatment of insomnia. CBT-I is a form of CBT specifically aimed in treating the sleep condition. It concentrates on the specific thoughts and behaviors that disrupt sleep and helps in reframing the negative thoughts that may be associated with concepts related to sleep, such as “bed” and “sleep”.  As a result of CBT, anxieties related to sleep may be lessened, therefore, lessening the prevalence of insomnia.  

Sufferers of insomnia may need to speak to their therapist weekly over the course of two to three months to see an improvement in the quality and quantity of their sleep. As a result, symptoms of depression may be lessened, which may further improve the quality and quantity of their sleep.

If you or someone you know is struggling with insomnia and is seeking therapy, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/12119-insomnia#:~:text=They%20affect%20up%20to%2070,at%2010%25%20to%2015%25.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/insomnia

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Discipline and the Effects of Yelling at a Child

By Katie Weinstein

When it comes to verbal abuse, many people disregard it as a form of abuse because it is not as concrete as physical or sexual abuse, and it is more difficult to draw the line between verbal abuse and scolding. However, the effects of yelling and verbal abuse are just as detrimental and intense as any other type of abuse and can lead to depression and anxiety.

Being yelled at frequently increases the activity of the amygdala, which is the area of the brain that is responsible for emotions. This is because loud noises are signaled to the brain as a warning sign for danger. The amygdala increases stress hormones in the body, which increases muscular tension. These signals tell the body to fight, flight, or freeze, but none of these options are okay when a parent is yelling at a child since it isn’t acceptable to run away from a caregiver or fight them, which leaves the body to be in a stress condition with no purpose or function.  

There are long term effects of yelling at a child frequently since the brain develops neuronal pathways according to our experiences. If the child is conditioned to frequently respond to stressful situations, the child will develop pathways that activate a stress response quickly. Since negative interactions impact a person more than positive interactions, it affects our expectations and self-esteem drastically, especially if the yelling involves name calling, as well as behavior. One might think that yelling would get a child not engage in a specific behavior, but in reality yelling increases bad behavior due to stress and increased aggression as a result of a hyperactive amygdala, which may cause the parent to yell more. Since the child is constantly stressed, they are at risk for mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. Additionally, since yelling is not an effective communication style, the child may not learn to properly communicate, which can affect the child’s relationships in the future, leading to more problems down the road.

If you or someone you know is experiencing trauma from verbal abuse please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

https://optimistminds.com/psychological-effects-of-being-yelled-at/

https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/February-2018/The-Problem-with-Yelling#:~:text=Being%20frequently%20yelled%20at%20changes,increasing%20muscular%20tension%20and%20more.

https://www.healthline.com/health/parenting/effects-of-yelling-at-kids