Telehealth and Teletherapy

By: Isabelle Siegel

“Teletherapy” describes the delivery of therapy sessions via video or phone conferencing. Even before the age of COVID-19, teletherapy was quickly rising to popularity. However, COVID-19 has forced those who were on the fence about teletherapy to begin engaging in video- or phone-delivered sessions. This begs the question: Is teletherapy as effective as in-person therapy? If so, what are the benefits of teletherapy?

Is Teletherapy as Effective as In-Person Therapy?

Therapy has historically been referred to as “the talking cure,” and therefore one would presume that the therapeutic process would easily translate to talking via video or phone. Is this the case? The overall consensus of scientific research is that teletherapy is equally as effective as in-person therapy. More specifically, scientific studies support the use of teletherapy for depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and other psychological disorders.

Benefits of Teletherapy

Teletherapy may even have numerous advantages over in-person therapy, as it generally makes therapy much more accessible to the average person. Some benefits of teletherapy include:

Greater Flexibility and Efficiency: Teletherapy can enable patients to easily engage in therapy sessions while simultaneously working from home, taking care of children, etc. Patients can schedule sessions during their lunch breaks, while their children nap, or whenever else is most convenient for them. With reduced wait times and travel times, teletherapy sessions almost always occupy less time than in-person sessions and, thus, afford more flexibility and efficiency for the average busy patient.

Increased Accessibility: Teletherapy allows more people access to highly-qualified therapists, regardless of where they live or their ability to travel. This can be especially helpful for people who live in rural areas, college students, and people with disabilities or lack of access to transportation.

Comfortable Environment: Teletherapy allows patients to engage in therapy sessions where they are most comfortable: in their own homes. Rather than having to travel to an unfamiliar office, patients can feel free to open up while staying within their comfort zone.

Overall, teletherapy represents a promising future direction in the field of psychology. With the potential to eliminate barriers to therapy, teletherapy may ultimately serve to render psychotherapy more accessible to the average individual.

If you or a loved one is interested in teletherapy, 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

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Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety Disorder

By: Julia Keys

It is typical to feel a bit nervous before public speaking or maybe a little anxious before a performance, however, for those with Social Anxiety Disorder, or SAD, even the smallest interactions with others can provoke feelings of extreme anxiety. Social Anxiety Disorder is characterized by a strong and persistent fear of humiliation and embarrassment that could be caused by social situations. People with Social Anxiety Disorder struggle with feelings of self-consciousness that are produced by the possibility of judgement in social interactions. Oftentimes the distress caused by social situations can become so overwhelming for those with SAD that they begin to avoid everyday activities and responsibilities such as going to work, going to school, or picking up the phone.

Signs of Social Anxiety Disorder:

  • Anxiety about being with other people
  • Difficult time interacting with others, stuttering, trailing off, and reserved behavior are common
  • Self-consciousness in front of other people and feelings of embarrassment
  • Fear of being judged
  • Difficulty making and keeping friends
  • Blushing, sweating or trembling around other people
  • Other physical symptoms such as disorientation, shallow breath, diarrhea, muscle tension and upset stomach

Social Anxiety Disorder can be treated with psychotherapy, medication, or both. A common affliction for those with SAD is the rumination that follows social interactions. New types of therapy are being developed to help those with SAD deal with this common symptom: post-event processing or PEP Mindfulness based therapies are aiming to target the feelings of shame, worry, and embarrassment that are caused by overanalyzing personal performance in social situations. Cognitive-Behavioral therapy helps people with SAD change unhealthy thought patterns that may be contributing to their anxiety. Medications such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds are often used in conjunction with psychotherapy. Social Anxiety Disorder affects over 19 million people across the US; however 35% of those suffering with social anxiety waited over ten years to seek treatment. Don’t hesitate to reach out and get the help you need.

If you or a loved one is struggling with social anxiety, do not hesitate to seek help by contacting Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy, located in New York and New Jersey to speak to licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists. To contact the office in Paramus NJ, call (201) 368-3700. To contact the office in Manhattan, call (212) 722-1920. For more information, please visit .


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Obsessive Preoccupation with Perfect Health

Obsessive Preoccupation with Perfect Health

By: Toniann Seals

Everyone has heard of the phrase, “too much of a good thing is a bad thing.” Of course, it is not true in all situations, however with healthy living it may be.

Ways to stay healthy:

  1. Exercising daily
  2. Eating regularly
  3. Incorporating fruits and vegetables into your diet
  4. Walking/taking the stairs
  5. Improving strength
  6. Eating organic food

If you take these behaviors to an extreme, it could potentially become negative both physically and mentally. Chronic fatigue or body image issues may arise. If exercising gets in the way of daily activities and causes your energy to decline afterward you may need to cut down. Likewise, eating healthy food is amazing for the body; however excessive dieting, calorie counting, and fasting can lead to eating disorders and other mental illnesses.

This could also negatively impact family and friends as your lifestyle could possibly put them in a position where they feel the need to keep up with you.

Patience, as well as understanding that perfection should not be the “goal,” can erase any bad thoughts or influences. Work hard, yet take care of your mental and physical health. Moderation and balance are necessary for a healthy life.

If you or someone you know is dealing with unhealthy lifestyle habits or an eating disorder, speak with one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists. Contact us at our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 respectively to set up an appointment. For more information, visit


Relationships: Toxic and Unhealthy

Relationships: Toxic and Unhealthy

By Toniann Seals

There are numerous signs of a toxic relationship that can help you identify the problem area. Here we focus on romantic relationships. Hopefully these signs will help anyone reading come to the realization that they may be in an unhealthy relationship and know there is a way out.

1. Your partner never compromises:

They seem to disregard your opinion or not allow your input in decision making as a couple.

2. Your partner is overly competitive:

They always try to go one step ahead of you to become more successful or they do not celebrate your accomplishments out of jealousy.

3. You are uncomfortable being yourself:

They make you feel like you have to act differently in front of them and throw away your old self.

4. Bullying is involved:

They embarrass you in front of your peers, tell you that you are never going to be good enough, or yell and fight anytime they are unhappy with you.

5. Your partner isolates you from family and friends:

They convince you that your family and/or friends are bad for you, feed you lies about them, or do not allow any interaction outside of the relationship.

6. Jealousy

They check your phone, track your location, and question your relationships with other people.

Although ending a toxic or abusive relationship is sometimes hard, it is necessary. Take note of these types of relationships and never settle for something that causes discomfort or unhappiness. Seek help when needed whether it is from friends and family or a professional.

If you or someone you know is suffering in an unhealthy relationship, 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



Anxiety: Test Taking

Anxiety: Test Taking

By Toniann Seals

Many students are exceptional in class, but find themselves below average on tests (both in class and standardized). How can the student who is continuously participating, going to extra tutoring sessions and always asking questions failing tests? There is a chance they are suffering from test taking anxiety.

Symptoms of test anxiety

While testing:

  • Shaking
  • Nausea
  • Forgetfulness
  • Hot flashes

Effects of test anxiety

  • Feelings of not being good enough
  • Feeling as though you are a failure
  • Negative thoughts
  • Lack of self esteem

Overcoming test anxiety is something that can be handled with a professional, however there are ways you can help yourself in the meantime.

Coping mechanisms

  • Begin studying early so you feel more confident and less anxious
  • Have open communication with your teacher so they understand what you are going through
  • Get enough sleep the night before
  • Meditation can help anxiety
  • Create affirmations and positive thoughts where you picture yourself doing well

If you or someone you know is dealing with anxiety speak with one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists. Contact us at our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 respectively to set up an appointment. For more information, visit



Social Anxiety: Phone Calls

Social Anxiety: Phone Calls

By Toniann Seals

Does calling a restaurant to order food make you sick to your stomach? Do you have a fear of jobs whose expectations include answering phones? There is a good chance that you may have some form of social anxiety in relation to phone call phobias.

While you are on the phone do you:

  • Shake?
  • Feel your heart racing?
  • Feel anxious?

Ways to handle a call and address issues when you suffer from social anxiety disorder:

  • Practice your call in a mirror
    • Talk to yourself before you talk to someone else.
  • Write a script
    • It is okay to have exactly what you want to say right in front of you. This can alleviate your social anxiety.
  • Post it notes
    • If you are doing a phone interview or at work, write a cheat sheet with common phone numbers, email addresses, resume details and facts that will come up frequently.
  • Speak slowly and calmly
    • Remind yourself that you do not need to rush. Take your time!
  • Let an incoming call go to voicemail
    • Voicemail is an option for a reason. If you are feeling exceptionally worried, take a moment and let it go to voicemail. You can always call back when you are ready.

If you or someone you know suffers from social anxiety speak with one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists. Contact us at our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 respectively to set up an appointment. For more information, visit



Sleep Difficulties? Here are 5 questions that will Help You Figure Out Why.

By Sally Santos

We all have gone through this. We have had a long day and we can’t wait to get in to bed to rest. But the moment you rest your head on the pillow you find yourself wide awake and staring at the ceiling. So then you ask yourself “why can’t I fall asleep?” Consider these 5 questions:

Do you take your phone to bed?

  • We spend all day with our phones tending to every notification that we receive. That can become a habit. So when you bring your phone to bed and you see your phones light up you are going to want to see what it is. So every night before you go to bed try to keep your phone away from your bed or at least set it on Do Not Disturb Mode. This ensures that your phone won’t ring for every notification

How much caffeine are you drinking?

  • If you are someone who consumes a lot of caffeine during the day and find yourself not being able to sleep at night consider consuming less caffeine or stop completely.

What do you do during the evening?

  • Avoid having a late meal. If you eat right before you go to bed that might keep you awake because your body is working on digesting your food.
  • If you are someone who works out try working out earlier because after you work out you may have increased energy and that may prevent you from sleeping at night.
  • If possible try avoiding difficult conversations before bed.

How are you using your bed?

  • If you are someone who works or studies in bed, you may be confusing your body. Instead of your body associating your bed as a place for rest it is associating it as a place of work.

Is there something specific that you are worried about?

  • Maybe you are going through a stressful situation and the thought of it is keeping you up at night. Try learning a relaxation method such as breathing gently or meditation.
  • If the situation is serious seek professional help you problem-solve the situation. You might be helped by relaxation techniques, hypnosis or sleep medication.



If you or someone you know is having sleep issues, speak with one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists. Contact us at our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 respectively to set up an appointment. For more information, visit

Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia)

Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia)

By: Gisela Serrano

Although Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is the most commonly diagnosed depressive disorder, Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD), also known as Dysthymia, is the second most common diagnosis. PDD is known to be mild and less severe than MDD, however, it is more chronic – that is, it is longer-lasting and recurring.

When diagnosing a patient with PDD, it must be ruled out that the symptoms the patient is experiencing cannot be better explained by a psychotic disorder or attributed to substance abuse. The symptoms must also cause distress to the patient and interfere or cause disturbances in their everyday life. Patients experience a “low” mood and feel down for most of the day, for a majority part of the time than not, for at least two years or more.  The patient cannot be without symptoms for more than two months; otherwise, he or she cannot be diagnosed with PDD.

As listed in the DSM-5, patients must experience two or more of the following symptoms, along with depressed symptoms, to receive a medical diagnosis of PDD:

  • Poor appetite or overeating
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Low energy or fatigue
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor concentration or difficulty making decisions
  • Feelings of hopelessness

Treatments for Persistent Depressive Disorder include talk therapy or medication such as antidepressants and Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) which increases the levels of serotonin in the brain. If you feel like you might be suffering from Persistent Depressive Disorder, it is important that you seek professional help as this disorder is highly treatable. At Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy center, we have qualified professionals that may be able to help you. You can reach us at our office in Paramus, NJ at 201-368-3700 or visit our website for more information.

Prescription Drugs and Side Effects

Prescription Drugs and their Side Effects

Emily Ramos

The truth of the matter is that many prescription drugs contain side effects. It is hard to predict whether or not an individual will experience side effects, it depends on how their body reacts to the drug. The good thing is that there are steps an individual can take to reduce the risks. If the side effects persist you can speak with your doctor who can prescribe a lower dosage or a different medication. DO NOT stop taking medication if you experience a side effect, always speak with your doctor. They might have to wean you off of the drug instead of stopping all together. Here’s how you can learn about possible side effects and how to avoid them:

  • Before getting prescribed medicine, ask your doctor about possible side effects that may occur. For example, if nausea is a side effect your doctor may recommend that you eat or drink before taking the medication.
  • Once you start taking medication take note of any symptoms that arise and tell your doctor about them. This will give your doctor a better understanding.
  • Other ways to prevent side effects are to make appropriate lifestyle changes. For example: if a medication causes you to gain weight you will have to pay more attention to your nutrition and incorporate exercise plans.

It may take a few trial and errors before your doctor is able to find a medication that works best for you. That is why it is crucial to be honest with your doctor before and after he or she prescribes medication.

If you or a person you know is struggling with medication, it may be beneficial to contact a mental health professional and receive therapy. 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.