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 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


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 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 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


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 for more information




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 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



Misophonia: When Silence is Golden

Do you catch yourself getting extremely angry when hearing someone chew food with their mouth open? Does being around another person whistling make you very annoyed? When another person clears their throat, do you feel so much discomfort that you desire to leave the room? If so, you might feel confused about your strong reaction to what so many others find trivial. Furthermore, if certain sounds elicit a negative emotional response, you may be suffering from misophonia.

So what exactly is this little-known condition? Less than 200,000 people per year report feeling moderate annoyance to full-fledged panicked in regards to certain “trigger” sounds. While there are countless “trigger” sounds, the main ones fall into seven categories. Below are a few examples from each category.

  • Mouth and Eating: Gum chewing and popping, wet mouth sounds, slurping, nail biting
  • Breathing/Nasal: Yawning, hiccups, sniffling, grunting
  • Vocal: Humming, words like “um” or “ah” used repetitively, singing, whispering
  • Environmental: Pen clicking, water bottle squeezing, TV through walls, dogs barking
  • Body Movement related: Finger snapping, knuckle cracking, tapping, eye blinking
  • Visual (not necessarily sound related): Hair twirling, leg shaking, fidgetingHaving such a strong aversion to selective sounds can be difficult to deal with around coworkers, family, friends, and loved ones.

Sometimes trigger sounds can be so overwhelming to the sufferer that they leave the room, get furious or upset with the person making the noise, or have a panic attack. Also, since there is not much awareness about the disorder, others might have a difficult time sympathizing.

While the causes or cures of misophonia have not been established, there exists a multitude of ways that one can manage their symptoms and triggers. If possible, change your environment so you are not surrounded by triggers. Educate the people around you about your condition so they can realize how you feel about certain noises. A variety of medications have been tried such as ones that treat anxiety and depression. Therapy has also been known to significantly help people cope with and understand their misophonia.

If you believe that yourself or a loved one has or may have issues with misophonia, anxiety, depression, or interpersonal problems, 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 for more information.

By Scout H


Dion, Paul N. “Misophonia- Symptoms and Triggers.” N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Feb. 2016.

Dryden-Edwards, Roxanne, and Melissa Conrad Stoppler. “Misophonia.” MedicineNet. N.p., 27 Mar. 2015. Web. 17 Feb. 2016.

Lerner, Barron H. “Please Stop Making That Noise.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 23 Feb. 2015. Web. 17 Feb. 2016.

Marriage Counseling Can Lead to Enhanced Communication and a Successful, Fulfilling Relationship

Marriage Counseling and Enhanced Communicaton

Marriage Counseling and Enhanced Communication

“Effective Conflict Resolution”

By: Jessica Ortega

Most people enter marriage with the intent of establishing a happy union with a life partner. Sadly, it is not always the case that everything works out as planned. As time passes, marital strife due to conflict begins to deteriorate the once happy union. When couples finally seek help, the relationship is sometimes so broken it is just too late. Everyone clashes due to the negative feelings from differences between two people; it is part of what it means to be together. However, it is important to know how to fight.

Couples with poor conflict resolution skills are not successful at solving problems and letting go. Here’s what to consider when problems arise so that you and your spouse can become marital masters:

  • Self-awareness: get to know yourself, your wants and needs and ask for them in a non-threatening way instead of expecting them from your partner.
  • Forgiveness: if you forgive yourself for any wrongdoing you or your spouse may have caused the marriage, you can be on your way to forgiving your partner and letting go.
  • Empathic listening and responding: express yourself in an honest way so that your partner preserves his/her self-image without invoking defensiveness.
  • Efficacy: expect a successful marriage. Have the idea that as a unit, you and your partner can get through difficult times.
  • Feedback: when necessary, provide positive feedback without attacking or invalidating your spouse.

Remember: having good relationships is a skill and marriage is one of the most important of those learned skills. If you are concerned that you or anyone you care about may be having marital issues, the licensed counselors and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling and Psychotherapy can assist you. They have successfully helped many couples to get through hard times and achieve marital happiness. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.  Visit for more information.

It Was Forever & Now It’s Over—Finding Yourself After a Breakup

By: Dariana Taveras

We all know what you’re thinking when you incessantly click through their Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts in search of any clue or suggestions that maybe, just maybe, they’ll be open enough to want you back. You swipe through old pictures of your relationship attempting to figure out when things started to change. You wonder if perhaps some other factor played into your breakup other than the reality that maybe your partner lost interest over time or was not suited to be the partner you hoped he or she would be. The following steps might help you through a difficult breakup:

  1. Stay away—any relationship is a two-way street and you shouldn’t and CAN’T convince anyone to love you or stay with you. If your partner no longer wishes to be in a relationship with you, please do yourself a favor and let them go!
  2. Do NOT make excuses— If they genuinely hurt you, you cannot pretend that their behavior is acceptable. Remember that you cannot apologize to yourself on their behalf, only your ex can do that.
  3. Write it all down— what you’re feeling and why you think you’re feeling that way.
  4. Change your environment—It serves as the facilitator for your emotional feelings. If something at home or in the places that you frequent reminds you of your ex, perhaps attempt to remove, redecorate or rearrange how those particular items are set up. Also, don’t be afraid to try new places!
  5. FOCUS ON YOURSELF– Now is your chance to really tune in to who you are. Indulge in new hobbies, spend time with your loved ones, and realize that you have the potential to find happiness within yourself.

If you are concerned that you or anyone you care about may be having relationship issues, the licensed professionals at Arista Counseling and Psychotherapy can assist you. They have successfully helped many with marriage, pre-marital, and relationship issues. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.  Visit for more information.