Assertiveness and Anxiety: How Expressing Yourself Can Lead to a Happier Self

By: Sanjita Ekhelikar

“Communication is key” is a phrase we are all familiar with, yet many struggle with actually acting on it. The most effective form of communication is through assertiveness, which involves expressing one’s views in a straightforward manner, and in standing up for one’s needs while still being considerate of others. This differs from aggressiveness in that it does not involve being outwardly emotional or insulting to others, and differs from passivity in that the individual clearly states their feelings and desires. Being assertive involves open communication, which can be difficult to engage in, especially for people struggling with anxiety. However, through practicing and learning assertiveness, people with anxiety can actually feel less worry and more confident in themselves.

Anxiety describes the uncomfortable feelings of turmoil and dread that one might have in anticipation that results in physical sensations such as rapid heartbeat, sweating, and rumination. For many who struggle with anxiety, the thought of being assertive with others makes them anxious. They often worry that being assertive will come off as being mean, creating conflict, and being inconsiderate. Therefore, many choose passive communication, and never voice their views or feelings. This worsens their state of worry, as they are not properly understood by those around them and can easily be taken advantage of. They are often misunderstood which increases their worry. Others often take advantage of them because of their meek manner and visible anxiety.

Contrary to what those with anxiety believe, assertiveness can actually help them feel better. Often times, those with anxiety create situations in their mind about everything that will go wrong if they voice themselves to another person. However, such a form of open communication can create a better understanding between two people. It allows the person with anxiety to be properly understood, to dispel the fearful thoughts in their head, and become more confident in themselves and their views.

How can people with anxiety begin working towards being more assertive? By stating their views using “I,” individuals can avoid putting blame on others by expressing their own opinions. In addition, reminding themselves that their fears are not rational and that it is their anxiety talking to them can help them become increasingly comfortable with being assertive. Finally, practice makes perfect – keep trying and speak up!

If you or someone you know is suffering from 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/.

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Couples Counseling: The Benefits

By Stephanie Osuba

According to PsychCentral.com, there are many reasons why people chose to participate in couples therapy, as well as many reasons they don’t. The common reason couples usually don’t consider counseling is out of embarrassment or the stigma that surrounds the intimate details of one’s personal relationship. The stigma dictates that only people who are in a very broken state in their relationship can benefit from couples counseling. However, no relationship is perfect and sometimes even the most socially competent of us need the help of a professional. Psychologists can help couples identify key problems in the relationship in a structured way that acknowledges the feelings of both parties. Although it’s never easy to reopen past wounds, it is the only way to push through to a place of understanding with a partner. Sessions can also determine whether the relationship needs some fine-tuning, a complete rebuilding, or a separation of ways.

Here are some benefits of couples counseling:

  • Improved communication skills
  • Increase in emotional and physical connection
  • Life plan development
  • Resolving conflicts in a structured way
  • Building a healthy relationship ­– ultimately leading to individual growth as well

Common issues couples hope to resolve in therapy: infidelity, poor communication, financial issues, parenting or co-parenting, work and career, emotional and physical intimacy, separation or divorce, abuse, grief and loss, and life transitions.

If you or someone you know appears to be having marital problems, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. 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, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Communication Differences Between Genders

 

By: Dianna Gomez

Where would the world be without communication? Whether it be conscious or unconscious, we communicate in one way or another with those around us every minute of every day. We communicate in the work place, in relationships, with our friends and family – sometimes even when passing by strangers walking down the street. You would think that with the amount of communicating we do as a human species on a daily basis, we would have it all down to a “ T ” by now but that is far from the truth. Every once in a while we experience miscommunication and other frustrations related to interacting with the people around us. In order to improve the quality of communication in one’s own life, it is important to begin by understanding the different methods of communication between each gender. There are so many fundamental differences regarding the way in which men and women behave and think when it comes to communication. On average, women tend to speak more than men and when each gender is communicating, they do so for different reasons and from different perspectives.

Here is a list of these differences:

  1. Reasons For Talking
  • Men believe that communication should always have a clear purpose. Whether there is a problem in need of a solution or a specific question needing an answer, men use communication to get to the bottom of any topic of conversation in the most efficient way possible. On the other hand, a woman views communication as a way to discover how she may feel about something. Women like to lay all the potential pros and cons out on the table and discuss each more thoroughly. When it comes to relationships, communication is a way in which women increase intimacy with their significant others. They share their thoughts to rid themselves of any negative feelings they may be having.

2. How Much Should Be Said

  • Similarly to the first point, men always put productivity and efficiency at the very top of their lists. When telling a story, men only share the details that are absolutely necessary to get to the point. Women tend to share as much detail as possible, even if it isn’t necessarily needed. This is often times why men may interrupt women half way through an explanation when they have already received the point that is ultimately trying to be made.

3. What Does It Mean To “Listen?

  • When a woman first initiates a conversation with a man, she assumes they are doing so to obtain some type of advice or assistance. They automatically think to themselves “what can we actually do about this?” From the woman’s perspective, having the conversation all on it’s own is a way of finding a solution to any problem. Women just want to feel like they are being heard and understood, and if they feel this is happening any problem will already feel partially solved.

Communication is so important in every aspect of our lives. Especially when it comes to having relationships with significant others, if these fundamental differences aren’t already understood, there will be many disagreements and arguments about things that there wouldn’t be otherwise. Regardless of what gender you are, the next time you find yourself feeling frustrated when communicating with the opposite sex, take a step back and try to see the situation from their point of view. If this is done over a long enough period of time, you will find that life will soon go a lot smoother in all areas of your life.

 

If you or anybody you know may be having trouble with communication or may be having relationship problems they can’t seem to resolve, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. 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, visit us at http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

The Power of Optimism

Isabelle Kreydin

When you go through a traumatic experience, the time it takes to recover is immeasurable and flooded with uncertainty. It could be anything between a breakup, abuse, a car accident, a loved one’s death, or even your entire childhood. When you acquire a mental illness, or know someone who has, it truly does affect every aspect of your life. Even stress, can alter brain chemistry and one’s way of life. But brokenness is not beautiful because of the way you are, but the way you will be when you are finally free.

You might feel alone. But you are alone because you feel as though are burdening others with your pain, and now are trying to reassemble yourself on your own and trying to fight the mental illnesses from becoming you. You’re trying but right now you are physically and mentally exhausted. It’s a tiring work of progress, but the only way out of the tunnel is through, and we know better than to turn around or take steps backwards.

It is easy for the brain to resort to the cloud that a trauma or illness might have installed in you, falling into despair or numbness, and there is truly nothing worse. Isolation is not the key, though it is most commonly a side effect of any of these negative experiences. Despite contrary belief, this leads you to an opportunity to get help. To find help within friends, family, and professionals. They can only help you understand that although you may not always be able to feel it, there is so much love and beauty to this world. There will ALWAYS be people there for your support. If you don’t feel this way, go out and make new friends, talk to your therapist, reach out to adults you may trust, or even kind strangers. The world has more love to offer than it seems.

Optimism is tough. You can be fighting for your body and thoughts to be positive, and have an outlook on life that shows light. However, your brain and body may be inflicting darkness, or feelings of nothingness, completely out of your control.

Optimism is also a savior. The more you put this fight into your brain, the more you convince yourself that you are going to make it, that everything will be okay, the more likely it is for your body to start behaving this way. Get up and force yourself to make plans, to do anything you once enjoyed or might find joy in.

The world may be falling a part in many aspects, and so are some humans that occupy it. However, everybody is still on this earth giving their full efforts to find the ultimate goal, happiness. It should not be overthought; it should not become the only purpose one strives for. It should be a feeling that comes through every day activities, thoughts, conversations. Positivity can help motivate the brain to feel that happiness, to appreciate the times it is felt, to hope for more positive outcomes and experiences. These can come from setting goals, making friends, loving, giving, being active, showing compassion, pursuing passions, treating oneself, or even physically seeing the beauty this world has to offer.
Life is too short to not love with everything you are. Giving with little return is tough, but you are tougher and have years to be given what you give.

Together, with optimism, have those around you help you rewrite your story and your future, and remember that it is okay to not be okay. There are billions that have struggled, there are millions that are fighting to overcome, and there are millions that have overcome and become a light and inspiration to us all.

You are never alone, and it will be worth it when you reach the end of that tunnel or even when you begin to see the light.

If you are struggling with substance abuse or any other kind of addiction, the psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists at Arista Counseling and Psychiatric Services can help.  Contact the Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920.  Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

 

Suicide Prevention the Right Way

By: Sam Reiner

DISCLAIMER: The content of this blog may be seen as insensitive or may make me seem psychotic. So, before I begin I must say that I AM IN NO WAY SUPPORTING THE ACT OF SUICIDE. DO NOT KILL YOURSELF.

(never thought I’d have to say that but here we are)

Today I want to talk about suicide prevention articles and how people go about writing them. From what I have seen while searching the web, most of them are very generic and dull. They all pretty much say the same thing, “don’t kill yourself, you have so much to live for.” Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with saying that, it’s just that the reasons why someone would want to commit suicide are too complicated to be summed up so simply. So, if taking a simple approach isn’t the best choice then what should you do? Enter David Wong, the author of what I believe to be the greatest and most moving article I have ever read. He decided to write an article like no other called The Ten-Minute Suicide Guide. Now you are probably thinking how is this a suicide prevention article, and to be fair I thought the same thing. But after reading it, I have so much more appreciation for life. I’m going to briefly summarize the article and next time I will go into more detail on why this “suicide guide” works so well as a suicide prevention article.

The article starts with the story of a girl Wong knew in high school who committed suicide and what happened afterwards as a result of a botched suicide note. This is what he uses to segway into his main point of the paper, be careful in the steps you take to commit suicide. From here, Wong talks about 3 things to think about: where you will end up, how you will do it, and if it is the right time. By, “where you will end up,” Wong is talking about the afterlife and what happens to your soul. He says that there are only two real possibilities in that regard. Either the Christians were right and you’re going to hell, because under the Christian scheme suicide technically qualifies as murder, or that the atheists are right and nothing happens. He also mentions a kid who was born with a rare skin disease. More on that later.

Next, he talks about how you would actually commit suicide. Not much I really want to say about this because of obvious reasons. One thing I will mention though is that he lists the drawbacks of each method. Again, more on this later. The last thing Wong asks the reader to think about is if the timing is right. This is part is also exactly what it sounds like as it is all about picking the right time to do it and as a bonus talks about revising your suicide note and even gives you the number of a group of people that could help. That’s basically the whole article and after reading this you’re probably thinking “why would I ever show this to someone who is thinking of suicide?” Well I’m going to answer that in the next blog which should be already posted. I really did want this to be just one blog because stopping here is actually terrible but unfortunately, I have too. Next time, why is this a suicide prevention article.

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and 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, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

 

Breakups: High School Sweetheart not so Sweet

By: Emily Mulhaul

To all of the silent sufferers out there who feel as though they are being dramatic for grieving a loss of a relationship for over a year now, you are not alone and you are not dramatic. Breakups can take an emotional toll on us that sometimes prolong for a year or more. Often times, our past experiences shape our present situation, meaning the termination of one relationship may affect our future relationships. Not only may it shape our present relationships with others, but it shapes relationships with oneself as well. Breakups may deprive us of the self confidence and hope we once had because it seemed to have vanished alongside the memory of the relationship.

Whether your break up is affecting your relationship with others or your relationship with yourself, experienced psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, social workers, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling are here to help. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.

 

Relationships: Abusive Relationships: Why We Repeat the Past

“Why didn’t you just walk away?” “How could you let this happen to yourself again?” These questions are not uncommon for survivors of domestic abuse to hear. When a person has numerous maladaptive relationships, it leaves them and others baffled. Why on earth would someone put themselves in an abusive situation again? The answer to this lies in a psychological phenomenon called “repetition compulsion.” In repetition compulsion, a person either puts themselves into a situation where abuse is likely to happen again, or they reenact the past situation with another partner. Below are some theorized reasons why people repeat the past in their relationships.

  1. Change can be a scary or anxiety-provoking thing. Most of us stick to what we know, even if it means regularly dating partners who are physically and/or emotionally abusive.
  2. Some think that by putting themselves in the same situation, they can change the outcome this time. They think that they will be able to master this relationship, and this will make up for the last bad one.
  3. We might believe that if we act in just the right way, our partner’s behavior will change and they will treat us right.
  4. We begin to internalize the beliefs that we are unlovable and deserve to be mistreated.
  5.  Unconsciously or consciously, we seek out abuse from others due to conditioning.
  6. “Winning” an argument with an abusive partner may lead us to believe that we are able to do this again and the abuse will stop.

Despite how terrible the situation may be, know that you are not alone, there is help available, and there are resources to begin the healing process.

The psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, social workers, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.

Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

Further reading: “The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma” by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.

Source: Esposito, Linda. “Why Do We Repeat the Past in Our Relationships?” Psychology Today. Sussex Pulishers, 22 Mar. 2016. Web. 07 Apr. 2016

By: Scout H

Relationship & Dating Tips

First dates can be exciting, enjoyable, and can open up a wide range of possibilities. If you’re about to spend time with someone new, make sure you keep your eyes open for some red flags that may predict the fate of your relationship down the road.

  • If they pay more attention to electronics than to you during the first date, you can easily tell where their priorities are.
  • If they spend the majority of the time talking about themselves during the date, it is possible you might end up with a narcissist.
  • Disclosing how much they hate their job or friend or relative, especially on a first date, should make you apprehensive. This shows that they have a history of tumultuous relationships.
  • Talking about an ex or comparing you to an ex is a huge indicator that your date is still hanging on to the past.
  • Asking if someone is enjoying the restaurant/music/movie is fine. You might find yourself becoming uncomfortable with how many times you need to reassure them. However, asking many times throughout the night how things are going may be a sign of low self-esteem.
  • If during the date they disclose a view that is fundamentally different from yours, don’t ignore it! Having different opinions is fine, but if your core beliefs are too different, this could make for some serious clashing in a relationship.
  • Being unnecessarily rude towards the waiter, a parking attendant, or other person in front of you is never a good sign. If they blow up on people for small things, imagine how they’d treat you if they thought you did something wrong!

If you learn to recognize the red flags, you will be able to know when to call a first date your last date!

If you’re dealing with relationship problems, consider reaching out to the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, social workers, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722 1920 to set up an appointment.

Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

Source: Degges-White, Suzanne. “13 First Date Red Flags.” Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, 31 Mar. 2016. Web. 01 Apr. 2016.

By: Scout H

Fighting With Your Spouse: How You Indirectly Effect Your Child

jo

Being in a relationship has its stresses, but what happens if those stresses are greatly affecting the people you love? Conflict is natural and should be discussed in private however sometimes we do not realize who is listening. It has been found that children who witness conflict between their parents experience more negative behaviors and emotions than that of the average child. These include: decrease in emotional security, feelings of defenselessness, increased aggression, increased distress, and hyperactivity. Parents are role models; their actions are closely observed and usually repeated by their child. There is a higher chance that the child will become easily upset and throw tantrums because that is what they consider to be a normal reaction. Fighting also relays the message to the child that intimacy involves conflict and turmoil, causing the child to stray away from future intimate relationships. Another lasting effect is misplaced guilt. If parents become hostile towards each other and coincidently the same day the child made a mistake or got in trouble, the child might blame him or herself for the altercation.

Interestingly, Brown University conducted a study involving 54 children and their sleep habits. This particular study also consisted of interviewing both parents and children about life at home and any conflicts that had occurred. Over a series of comparing family information and sleep habits, the team discovered that children witnessing moderate to severe conflict at home lost an average of 30 minutes of sleep per night. This loss of sleep can effect a child’s development especially at a young age.

Specialists highly recommend finding a solution by positively communicating with your partner in front of the child to teach that disagreement is normal and can be dealt with in a constructive way.

If you believe that you or a loved one has or may have conflicts with their spouse; the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Please contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment, or visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information

 

Sources: http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/effect-parents-fighting-kids-development-1032.html

http://news.healingwell.com/index.php?p=news1&id=530961

 

By: Jennifer Oscherician

 

Breakups: The 5 Stages of Moving On

Often, the end of a relationship can feel like a loss. In a second, lovers can turn into strangers and it is only natural to grieve over someone who played a significant part in your life. Although the path of moving on is different for everyone, here are five common stages that you might experience after breaking up.

  1. Denial. Our hearts play a big role in this stage, as we struggle to come to terms with the fact that our lives are about to drastically change. When the breakup is fresh, no one wants to think of having to start over and adjust to a life without their significant other. We often think of ways to get the person back or convince ourselves this is only temporary. You might even tell yourself the situation is a mistake and you and your partner will get back together soon.
  2. Anger. Once the reality begins to set in, we become angry with the situation and usually at our ex. “How could (s)he do this to me?” “I bet s(he) was cheating on me all along!” We might also become mad at our friends once hearing their opinions on the breakup. Although they might say some valid things, you are in no mindset to hear anyone who disagrees with you.
  3. Bargaining. To start, you could begin to bargain with your ex. “I’ll change”, “I’ll start being nice to your friends” or “You’re hurting the kids by walking away!” are some common things to say. People sometimes turn to a higher power and beg for the situation to be different.
  4. Depression. Now the reality has sunk in completely. You may feel like you do not want to leave your bed in the morning. You feel hopeless as if nothing will work out in the future now that this person is gone.
  5. Acceptance. Over time, you will acknowledge the loss and realize that you are slowly moving forward with your life. You might fall back into one of the previous stages, but remember that this is a process and you are taking things a step at a time.

 

If you’re struggling with a breakup or are having relationship problems, consider reaching out to the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, social workers, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722 1920 to set up an appointment.

Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

Source: Kromberg, Jennifer. “The 5 Stages of Grieving the End of a Relationship.” Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, LLC, 11 Sept. 2013. Web. 10 Mar. 2016.

By: Scout H