Emotional Abuse: The 10 Common Signs


When a person is being emotionally abused in a relationship, it is not always easy to tell. In some ways emotional abuse can be more devastating than physical abuse due to the victims’ tendency to blame him or herself. In an emotionally abusive relationship, the abuser systematically controls their partner by undermining their confidence, worthiness, growth, trust, or emotions by provoking feelings of fear, shame, or humiliation. There are 10 primary signs that distinguish an emotionally abusive relationship which are as follows:

  1. You feel as if you are walking on eggshells around your partner
    • You never know how your partner will react, so you have to be careful with anything you do or say
  2. Arguments tend to escalate quickly and have no end point
  3. There are intense moments of feeling good about the relationship, when your partner makes overly sincere apologies or attempts to make up for bad behavior.
    • The victim clings to hope for the relationship when these moments occur
  4. Your partner will let his/her anger out at you for something that is no fault of yours
  5. Your partner is possessive and jealous, and will speak badly about your friends—especially the ones who are of the opposite sex
    • Your partner tries to isolate you from friends and family.
  6. Your partner cripples your self-esteem through humiliation about anything you try to do or accomplish
  7. Your partner has a two-faced personality
    • Your partner’s personality confuses you by alternating between acting very caring and loving, and/or very hurtful and mean.
  8. Your partner emotionally manipulates you into sexual activities that you do not like.
  9. Your partner will bring up past mistakes as a reminder of all that you have done wrong in the relationship
  10. Your achievements are minimized, while his/her achievements are glorified

If you believe that you or a loved one is in an emotionally abusive relationship, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices respectively at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment.

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





By: Margalit I. Herzfeld




Sex Anxiety: Why You May be Avoiding a Sex Life


From the moment we are exposed to media and advertisement, sex can be found almost everywhere. Although sex is largely viewed as a solely physical interaction, the emotional aspect of sex is strongly tied to our arousal, too. The idea of being sexual can cause someone severe distress, rather than pleasure, when suffering from sexual aversion disorder.

When people suffering from sexual aversion disorder are confronted with an intimate situation, their body reacts with their sympathetic nervous system using a response called “fight or flight.” This response causes the body to release stress hormones, such as epinephrine or norepinephrine, in a series of reactions that are designed to help someone deal with a threatening situation. By associating sexual activity with a threat, people are not able to properly deal with the underlying cause of this distress, and, furthermore, distance themselves from any form of intimacy. Through this pattern, people additionally reinforce themselves to avoid sexual contact by conditioning the avoidance as a reliever of their underlying distress.

This disorder can be acquired in a multitude of ways. The causes include sexual violence during childhood or later in life, stress, depression, alcohol and drug use, or a lack of a certain substance in the body. To learn more about the specific causes and treatments for sexual aversion disorder, please continue to follow our blog posts at CounselingRx.com Arista Psychological & Psychiatric Services.

If you believe that you are a loved one has or may have sexual aversion disorder, or sex anxiety, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices respectively at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment

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

Sources: Brotto, L. A. (2010). The DSM diagnostic criteria for sexual aversion disorder. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39(2), 271-7. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10508-009-9534-2

By: Margalit I. Herzfeld


Valentine’s Day Depression

By: Chana Kaufman

As we enter February we are constantly reminded of Valentine’s Day’s imminent arrival, from heart-shaped chocolates and doughnuts in stores to commercials on TV advertising gift ideas, love is definitely in the air! Valentine’s Day is a day dedicated to celebrate that special someone you love in your life, however, what happens when there is nobody you can call “special” on your own? Being single on Valentine’s Day is tough, especially when the entire world seems to be happy and pronouncing their love, while one has nothing to celebrate. This can lead to feelings of loneliness, isolation, sadness and even self-doubt.

In his post on this topic, Dr. Marcus Mottley quotes Dr. Laura S. Brown, professor of psychology at Argosy University/Seattle on how to handle depression and other emotional health issues during the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day:

  1. Do not define yourself by your relationship status. Your relationship status is not your identity.
  2. If you are single because of a recent loss, allow this to be a day of grieving. Do not pretend that it’s not a hard day. Get support and sympathy.
  3. Realize that Valentine’s Day is a commercial holiday. It is not about love and relationships; it is about selling flowers, candy, and diamond jewelry. Think of all the money you are saving.
  4. Plan well in advance to do something that will not place you in the path of billing and cooing couples. Even if you usually like dining out alone, do something else on Valentine’s Day.
  5. Get together with people who do love you – friends, family members, and the people who already have relationships with you.
  6. If you are single and you don’t want to be, start now to think about what is in the way of creating the relationship you want. Find ways to work on becoming the person your dream partner would fall in love with. Start therapy. Take up yoga. Begin to volunteer. Create art. Make meaning. Act to change the world. It is into the fullest lives that love is most likely to fall.
  7. If you are single and you like it, now is the time to affirm your choice. People who never marry or partner have close, loving, emotionally intimate relationships and lives worth living. Do not let a couple-driven culture define your choice as something wrong.

If you believe that you or a loved one has or may have depression, 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.

Source: http://healyourhurt.com/valentines-day-depression/

Marriage: Is Social Media a Threat to Your Relationships?

Marriage: Is Social Media a Threat to Your Relationship?

Marriage: Is Social Media a Threat to Your Relationship?

“Love in the Age of Social Media”

By: Jessica Ortega

Our digital lives are slowly but surely taking over our physical world. Today, 61% of Americans own smart phones and it is estimated they spend about 11 hours a day on major media sources. With all these online communication tools available, it is no surprise that the usage of these take a toll on our most important relationship: our marital relationship. In times of marital trouble, it is easy to disconnect from your spouse and connect with someone else through social media. The result of an environment where temptation and opportunities for affairs are readily available, can cause a drift in your marriage.

According to The Huffington Post, couples using more than five [social media] channels reported a 14% drop in marital satisfaction. Aside from marital unhappiness, social media usage has been linked to divorce rates, and the devastation of breaking families apart.

How can you tell if social media is negatively impacting your marriage?

  • You are spending more time on social media than personal time with your spouse.
  • You are convinced online relationships are more enjoyable and fulfilling than your marriage or other activities.
  • There are spousal disagreements about the content you are publicly sharing online.
  • There is an urge for secrecy about your online relationships.

Of course, we are not advising you to permanently remove yourself from social media, as these are part of our present culture. As 21st century citizens, we are to acquire the skills that arise with the continuous advances in technology; however, when engaging in social media relationships, be cautious, act respectfully and remember that you are representing yourself as well as your family on the World Wide Web.

If you are concerned that you or anyone you care about may be experiencing distance or conflict in their marriage, the licensed professionals at Arista Counseling&Psychotherapy can assist you. 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 http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.


By: Tiffany Moore


What is postpartum depression? Many mothers will feel anxious, restless, irritated and sad for the first few weeks after giving birth. However, when those symptoms do not go away it becomes postpartum depression, “Postpartum depression will usually occur within four to twelve weeks after giving birth, although it can take up to a year to develop.” This disorder can go untreated because of how fast or slow it can develop. Some women do not even realize that they are depressed still because they assume it is just their hormones.

Recent studies have shown that women, who have had previous disorders, are more likely to develop postpartum depression, “Two-thirds of women with postpartum depression had a comorbid psychiatric disorder. In more than 80% of these cases, the women also had an anxiety disorder.” Some women may develop postpartum depression if they have a disorder before having a child, will increase their likely hood of developing postpartum depression. Women who do have postpartum depression will have all the symptoms of depression, which include fatigue, isolation and even thoughts of suicide. Some have even attempted to commit suicide.

If you feel that you are experiencing any symptoms of depression after having your child, tell your doctor. Also, if you do have any disorder ranging from anxiety to bipolar disorder, tell your doctor. Therapy and the right medication can help with postpartum depression once it has been diagnosed.


Joannides, P. (2013, March 22). Postpartum Depression Is Common and Often Untreated. Retrieved December 3, 2014, from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/you-it/201303/postpartum-depression-is-common-and-often-untreated


Profile Photos: How accurate are our first impressions? – Bergen County, NJ

profile picture

By Irada Yunusova

“First impressions count.” “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Both of these seemingly reasonable, yet somewhat conflicting, sayings instruct us on how to evaluate others. With the widespread use of social media and dating websites, our first impressions of others are often formed from a small two by two photograph, which we often assume tells us the whole story. Are we wrong?

Psychology researchers recently considered the impact of a profile photograph’s impression on the way individuals are evaluated.  Alexander Todorov’s research team at Princeton University presented participants with an online survey to view headshots of individuals and then rate them on personality characteristics, including attractiveness, competence, creativity, cunning, extraversion, meanness, trustworthiness, and intelligence. The photographs were all taken in similar lighting, but some dimensions of the headshots were varied, such as facial expressions. Researchers found that the participants’ personality ratings changed as drastically for virtually any changes in photos of the same person as much as if it were a photograph of a completely different person.

In another study with a similar interest, participants rated headshots of individuals with different contexts. Scenarios varied vastly, with some photos claimed to be used for an online dating profile, while others were auditions to play a movie villain, and some were of people allegedly running for political office. Preference for pictures of the same individual varied based on the context, further demonstrating the fault in our impressions of profile photos.

Both studies also considered the time it took for individuals to make a personality judgment based on a profile picture. Shockingly, preferences for specific images developed after a fraction of a second. Perhaps the saying “first impressions count” should be revised to account for the immediacy of our decision-making.

Although the ability to make decisions quickly is a vital biological advantage, it is important to remember that not all quickly drawn conclusions are accurate. Often times, the conclusions people draw of others are barely based in reality. Facial expressions, context, and various other dimensions of a photograph can color our perception of the individual’s personality. Instead of basing assumptions solely on a headshot, it is important to try to see the whole picture.


Relationship Advice: What Behaviors to Avoid on a First Date – Bergen County, NJ


By Irada Yunusova

            First impressions, first dates, and first kisses are all very exciting. However, the goal of a successful relationship may not be realized if the first date does not go as smoothly as desired. Some people who may struggle with relationships do not realize that certain behaviors they engage in during their first date may be the source of the problem. Avoiding the undesirable behaviors discussed below, drawn from patient’s shared experiences, may lead to greater success on first dates.

 Over complimenting your date may make them believe you think little of yourself or that you are fishing for compliments.

  1. Not being able to accept a compliment may come off as having low self-esteem or fake humility. Do not sabotage or minimize compliments by saying “Oh, please I’m hiding a lot under this dress” or “I need to work out more.”
  2. Over-planning can create unrealistically high expectations that make the real date less satisfying. Also, getting upset over a date not going as planned may make you come across as controlling or neurotic.
  3. Drinking excessively is a major turn-off. Although alcohol is considered a social lubricant, over-consumption or consumption of drinks with high alcohol content may distort the way you want to portray yourself by influencing your actions and by giving off the impression that you are not well put-together.
  4. Being clingy turns off the other individual on the date. Instead of texting the date immediately or over-touching during the date, living in the moment and allowing the relationship to progress organically is much more effective.

 Relationships are a vital aspect of life. If you are struggling with dating or relationships, you might find helpful guidance by contacting a mental health professional at Arista Counseling & Psychological Services in Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan, NY. Feel free to contact us for a free phone consultation at 201-368-3700 or 212-996-3939 in order to set up an appointment with one of our licensed therapists, counselors, psychologists, or psychiatrists.

 Sources: http://blogs.psychcentral.com/life-goals/2014/08/first-dates-are-you-scaring-them-away/

Marriage & Relationships: Is your partner in love? – Bergen County, NJ

By: Davine Holness

how to tell if your partner loves you

Marriage & Relationships: What are some signs that can clue you in that your partner loves you?

Actions speak louder than words.  Couples and marriage partners often say they love each other, but how do they show it?  Here are some clues that have been found by psychological research to be signs of being in love.  People who are in love…

  1. Find time for each other.  They want to spend as much time with each other as they can.
  2. Ask each other about their day, keeping lines of communication open.
  3.  Trust each other, giving each other the benefit of the doubt.
  4. Provide help for each other when it’s needed
  5. Respect each other’s points of view, even if there is disagreement.
  6. Include each other in important decisions.
  7. Show affection and are emotionally intimate.  They show signs of physical closeness.
  8. Look at each other and enjoy each other’s presence.
  9. Reminisce together, reliving enjoyable moments.
  10. See the relationship as worth fighting for.
  11. Boost each other’s self esteem and make each other feel valued.

For help with any kind of relationship issues, feel free to talk to the experienced marriage and relationship counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling and Psychotherapy at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 996-3939.


Krauss, S. (2014, March 15). 11 Ways to Tell if Your Lover Loves You. Retrieved June 9, 2014

Anger Management: How to Stop a Fight

By: Davine Holness

how to prevent an argument

Anger management tips: conflict de-escalation

When we get into heated arguments, we often find ourselves saying things we regret or things we don’t mean.  In addition to being unpleasant, arguments can chip away at the harmony in a relationship and even have deleterious health effects.  Thankfully, even those who have struggled with anger management in the past can take certain steps to deescalate a verbal conflict.  With a strategy called unilateral disarmament, individuals can stop at the peak of an argument and focus their own behaviors in order to approach the conversation from a more loving stance.

  1. The first step is to relax.  Anger decreases our ability to think about the effects of our words, so access a calmer attitude through deep breathing or by counting down from 10.
  2. Refrain from backlash.  If your partner is provoking you, don’t take the bait.  Remain in control of your actions and keep in mind that winning the argument is probably not as important as maintaining closeness in the relationship.
  3. Display warmth.  Rather than fighting to hold on to power, show vulnerability and affection.  You might take your partner’s hand, look them in the eye, and say something that comes from the heart rather than from the ego.
  4. Practice empathy.  Humbly put yourself in the other person’s shoes.  This does not mean giving up your point of view, but accepting that the other person sees things differently.  This way, you can each begin to understand each other’s viewpoints.
  5. Name it to tame it.  Articulate your feelings to yourself and then share them with your partner.  You can then identify what’s causing these feelings and work toward fixing it and avoiding it in the future.


If you are having trouble with relationships or anger management, feel free to contact the Manhattan or Bergen County, New Jersey offices of Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy to speak with a therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist.  Call (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 for an evaluation.  Visit www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.



Firestone, L. (2014, April 16). 5 Steps to End Any Fight. . Retrieved June 3, 2014

Marriage Counseling – Love vs. Infatuation – Bergen County NJ

By: Davine Holness

Marriage: Knowing the difference between love and infatuation can help forge a healthy relationship

Marriage: Knowing the difference between love and infatuation can help forge a healthy relationship

One of the most beautiful feelings of the human experience is being in love.   However, many relationships have ended because people discovered that what they had thought was love was in fact merely its deceptive cousin: infatuation.  In any relationship, it’s important to know where you stand, and in amorous relationships this means finding out whether you’re truly in love or just infatuated with the other person.  While most people are infatuated with their love partners to an extent, it is important to understand which of the two forces is the basis of the relationship.  This knowledge can help you make wise decisions about commitments, and give you a better understanding of yourself and your partner.  Understanding the difference between love and infatuation will lead to a healthier, happier love life.


Infatuation is static: it is the passionate feeling when someone else is all you can think about.  It is when you are attracted to the person, and your priorities are built around them, but there is no shared growth or development.  When a relationship is based on infatuation, there is often little trust, loyalty, and commitment – the relationship isn’t a mutual give-and-take.  The key feature of infatuation is an unrealistic idea of who the other person is, and what the relationship will provide for your life.


Love, on the other hand is a dynamic process that involves shared emotion, trust and growth.  It’s constant consideration for the other person that leads to joint planning and decision making.   The important thing is knowing who the person really is, knowing that the relationship won’t be perfect, and loving them anyway. The relationship evolves as the individuals mature and needs change; the two parties work together in building a shared future.  Love is strong enough to outlast the ups and downs of life.


So how can you go about differentiating between love and infatuation?  Asking yourself the following questions can help you figure it out:


  • Are you truly happy?  Are you treated as a person of value?
  • Is there hope for a shared future?  Are the two of you thinking and planning as a couple rather than separately?
  • Is your life better because of your partner?
  • Are you foregoing your dreams for your partner, or are you restructuring your dreams to fit each other?
  • Does your partner’s mother know about you?
  • Most importantly: does the relationship bring out the best in each of you?


Telling the difference between true love and infatuation is not easy.  If you are working through this or other relationship/marriage issues, the Bergen County, New Jersey or Manhattan offices of Arista Counseling and Psychiatric Services can help.  Call us to arrange an appointment with one of our marriage counselors, psychotherapists, psychologists and psychiatrists.


Arista Counseling: (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920

Visit our website for more info: http://www.acenterfortherapy.com/