Couples Counseling: The Benefits

By Stephanie Osuba

According to, 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


Lack of Intimacy – A Common Problem in Marriages

By: Gisela Serrano

One common problem that most marriages experience is a lack of intimacy. Couples tend to have different daily schedules – making it difficult to find time to dedicate to their partner. When children come into the picture, it becomes more complex as the children tend to become the priority and the focus of the parent’s attention. This means that the couples own needs and desires, including their sexual needs, are put on hold. Couples often become too tired or too accustomed to their daily routines and forget the importance of having a healthy sex life with their spouse. In cases like these, it is important for the married couple to communicate and talk about the issue at hand, as scary and uncomfortable as it may seem. You may even be surprised as to how well the conversation turns out, but you will never know until you take that next step. Having an open and honest conversation regarding your sex life can be the key to avoiding marital problems over the lack of intimacy. The bottom line is – sex is not the most important thing in a marriage and should not be expected to be the only thing to hold a marriage together – but it certainly is an important and healthy part of marriage.

If you and your spouse are having marital issues including, but not limited to, lack of intimacy contact Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy at our location in Paramus, NJ (201) 368-3700 or at our location in Manhattan (212) 722-1920. You can also visit our website for more information.

Source: Madsen, P. (May 29, 2012). Retrieved from:

Depression or Sadness?

Depression or Sadness?

By: Kristine Dugay

Have you ever woken up one morning and wish you hadn’t? Not because it’s Monday or because you didn’t want to get ready for work or school, but simply because you wish you’d never wake up. Everyone has their bad days and sad moods, but when sadness constantly appears for no apparent reason it could be depression. Depression versus ordinary unhappiness is distinguished by longer and deeper feelings of despondency. With depression, all aspects of your life seem less enjoyable, important, loveable, and interesting. Depression mentally and physically drains your energy and you begin to have the inability to experience happiness, excitement, love, connection, and purpose.

Sadness is often related to circumstance, whereas depression is related to a mental illness. Being seriously bummed out over a breakup or getting a bad grade on an assignment can be terrible, but you’re still able to enjoy your favorite foods and T.V. shows. On the other hand, depression takes away the things that used to be significant and exciting for you and turns them into something that you lack interest in. If you constantly experience the following, there is a great chance you are depressed:

  • Feelings of worthlessness and self-blame
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Fatigue/decreased energy
  • Restlessness

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


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 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 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:

By: Margalit I. Herzfeld


Sex Addiction: What are the Signs?

By: Michelle J. Hong

Sexual addiction is when an individual has a[ File # csp0297286, License # 1699973 ] Licensed through in accordance with the End User License Agreement ( (c) Can Stock Photo Inc. / wackern unceasing desire to participate in sexual activities that intensifies as it progresses because the addict wants to achieve higher levels of euphoria. It is not about intimacy but about seeking pleasure or avoiding problems, so the addict usually does not try bond with his or her sexual partner.

Unfortunately, there is no one factor that can cause sexual addiction but there are possible biopsychosocial factors that can contribute to these disorders. Since sex affects the brain’s survival and reward systems, the brain sends distorted messages that sex is good to a sex addict the same way the brain tells you that food is good when we are hungry. This biological explanation can help people understand why anyone can be occupied with sexual addiction. A few psychological risk factors for this addiction include depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive inclinations. Individuals with a history of addiction are more susceptible to develop sexual addiction as well. Individuals addicted to sex seem to have been sexually abused when they were young or come from broken families, and these families are more prone to substance abuse. Because of all these biopsychosocial factors, sex addicts have insecure, impulsive and compulsive personality characteristics and tend to isolate themselves from society. They have unstable relationships and have difficulty dealing with their emotions.

The DSM has yet to give definitive criteria for sexual addiction, but there are signs that people can recognize in which when to indicate whether an individual has this disorder. These signs may not be clear in the earlier stages of sexual addiction, but they will eventually become more prevalent and transparent.

Some of these signs include:

  • Compulsive masturbation or stimulation
  • Extra-marital affairs or multiple affairs in a non-married relationship
  • Multiple one night stands
  • Excessive and consistent use of pornography
  • Practicing unprotected, unsafe sex
  • Cybersex either over the phone or online
  • Prostitution or purchasing the services of a prostitute
  • Dating excessively in order to have multiple sexual partners
  • Voyeurism or watching others have sex
  • Rape, molestation, sexually harassing others

If you or a loved one live in Manhattan or Bergen County New Jersey and might be suffering from sexual addiction or sexual abuse, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling 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 for more information

Image copyright: (c) Can Stock Photo Inc.
“Sexual Addiction – AAMFT Therapy Topic.” Sexual Addiction. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 June 2015.
“Sex Addiction.” Addictions. N.p., 23 Oct. 2012. Web. 05 June 2015.
“What Causes Sexual Addiction?” Psych Central. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 June 2015.

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.