Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): a Cognitive Behavioral Approach

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): a Cognitive Behavioral Approach

By: Jasmyn Cuate

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a combination of cognitive and behavior therapy, supported by empirical-based evidence that teaches patients skills to cope with and change unhealthy behaviors. The main goals of DBT are to teach people how to live in the moment, develop healthy ways to cope with stress, regulate their emotions, and improve their relationships with others.

DBT focuses on four key areas in therapeutic skills:

  • Mindfulness: focuses on improving your ability to accept and be present in the current moment, helping you use healthy coping skills instead of using negative impulsive behaviors
  • Distress tolerance: teaches you how to feel intense emotions without reacting impulsively or using self-injury or substance abuse to escape from it. Helping you prepare for intense emotions and cope with a more positive long-term outlook
  • Emotion regulation: teaches you how to identify, label, and change your emotions without judging them– learning how your emotions shape your behavior and what obstacles prevent you from managing your emotions, reducing your emotional vulnerability and helps you have more positive emotional experiences
  • Interpersonal effectiveness: allows you to communicate more effectively with others, become more assertive, maintain self-respect and respect for others, while keeping a relationship positive and healthy

DBT goes through a multistage approach where the therapist first treats the patient’s most self-destructive behavior followed by the therapist addressing quality-of-life skills, then focus on improving the patient’s relationships and self-esteem, with the last stage focusing on promoting more joy and relationship connections. Standard comprehensive DBT is often used in the following settings:

  • Individual therapy: with a trained professional, you learn how to apply DBT skills to specific challenges and situations in your life­– patients agree to do homework to practice new skills and fill out diary cards which are completed daily to keep track of their emotions, urges, behaviors, and skills used throughout the week and brought to weekly sessions for the therapist and client to discuss and see if there’s progress being made. Diary cards are designed to record instances of target behaviors, thoughts and urges, and the use of behavioral skills client’s applied to cope with the problem
  • Group skills training: patients have the opportunity to role-play new behavioral skills and interact with others
  • Phone coaching: with DBT, your therapist is available by the phone for in-the-moment support between sessions if you’re in a difficult situation and need guidance

While your therapist works with you through the DBT approach, it can be challenging to stay motivated. Therefore, therapists have consultation groups,which are a group of professionals who met regularly helping one another to navigate potential stressors, monitor their devotion to treatment, develop and increase their skills, and sustain their motivation to work with high-risk, difficult-to-treat clients.

DBT was developed by Marsha Linehan, originally intended to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD) and suicidal behaviors but has been modified to treat other mental health conditions and have been effective in treating:

  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Substance use or impulsive behaviors
  • Eating disorders
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) or suicidal behavior
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Overall, DBT offers validation for patients, helping them understand their actions within the context of their personal experiences without necessarily agreeing that their actions are the best approach to solving a problem. This helps patients become more likely to cooperate and work towards self-acceptance and change. The best way to find out if DBT is right for you is to talk with a professional. They will evaluate your symptoms, treatment history, and therapy goals to see if DBT is the best treatment option for you.

If you or someone you know is seeking for dialectical behavior therapy, 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/

Sources: https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/dialectical-behavioral-therapy https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapy-types/dialectical-behavior-therapy

https://www.verywellmind.com/dialectical-behavior-therapy-1067402

https://psychcentral.com/lib/an-overview-of-dialectical-behavior-therapy

COVID-19: Impact of COVID-19 on Mental Health of College Students

COVID-19: Impact of COVID-19 on Mental Health of College Students

By Celine Bennion

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected us in more ways than just illness itself. From strict isolation measures to mask mandates, several necessary health protocols have changed the way we carry out our daily lives. This is especially true for college students who were forced to transition to online learning, shifting the established routines they once knew.

At the onset of the pandemic, students residing on campus were forced out of their dorms to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Without a place to stay on campus, they moved back home, forcing a drastic change in living situations. Even commuter students had to adjust to new norms, as they were no longer allowed to study on campus. With siblings also engaged in online school and parents working from home, their learning environment quickly changed from a quiet classroom to a bustling household. These changes posed several challenges, as many students found it increasingly difficult to stay focused in lectures and successfully absorb the material they were presented with.

Additionally, because students could not be present on campus, they were no longer able to engage in everyday social interactions. Meeting up with friends to study, attending club meetings, and participating in sports were no longer an option after transitioning to remote learning. These fundamental social interactions are vital for college students to maintain their wellbeing and to properly develop as individuals.

The major academic and social changes that transpired due to the pandemic led to a serious rise in reports of mental health challenges. According to a 2020 Active Minds survey on college students, about 75% of respondents indicated that their mental health had declined during the pandemic. Students specifically reported increased levels of anxiety, loneliness, sadness, and stress. With the many changes that students quickly had to manage, these feelings are understandable.

The rise of mental health challenges has prompted numerous universities to initiate changes to the psychological services that are offered to students. Many students have access to Telehealth counseling sessions and other mental health resources through their university. These resources allow students to obtain proper assistance for navigating their personal challenges.

It is essential that universities acknowledge the struggles their students are facing and make appropriate changes to support them through this difficult time.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy, 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/

Sources:

https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/education/2021/09/13/nj-colleges-covid-student-burnout-stress-mental-health-toll/5716116001/

https://online.maryville.edu/blog/stress-in-college-students-recognize-understand-and-relieve-school-stress/ (photo)

Post-College Anxiety

Post-College Anxiety

By: Julia Massa

Post-college anxiety, or Post Commencement Stress Disorder, though not an official medical diagnosis, is used to describe the uncertainty and anxiety college graduates often feel as a result of their achievement. With both internal and external expectations to “measure up,” graduates find themselves conflicted, depressed, and pressured. Graduates may fear failure due to not finding a job as well as feel pressured to pay back their student debt without having a secure job or realizing that career path just isn’t for them. Furthermore, they may feel alone due to moving back home and changing their social contexts. In fact, 53% of 18-to-24 year old graduates live with their parents after graduation. Homesickness is a cycle, perhaps.

From being a student at the mere age of five to an actual member of society can lead to an identity crisis. Additionally, college students may have trouble sleeping, concentrating, become less interested in socializing, experience shortness of breath or rapid heart rate, feel a lack of control of their life, or numb these feelings with alcohol, drugs, or binge-eating.

Feeling nervous about the future is a normal reaction to uncertainty, especially if you thrive on consistency and routine. Graduates can address feelings of uncertainty by practicing test runs for job interviews, “zooming in” and looking at each step, getting feedback from multiple resources like resume writers or networking events, and embracing the chaos. When life becomes complex, it is important to practice self-care and remind yourself that it is not a bad day- just a complex one. Moreover, if a graduate is stressed about finances, they can be financially proactive and learn banking, create an emergency fund, SAVE little by little, or create a realistic payment plan to pay off their loans. 

Graduating is a bittersweet experience. Adjusting to change can be scary, but in the case of college grads, they are on the path to prosper. Though it is easier said than done, it is important to embrace each chapter and live day by day.

If you or someone you know is struggling with post-college 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/

Sources:

https://extension.wvu.edu/food-health/emotional-wellness/post-graduation-stress#:~:text=Lushkin%20lists%20these%20common%20symptoms,in%20a%20reasonable%20length%20of

https://www.careercontessa.com/advice/how-to-deal-post-grad-anxiety/

https://www.psycom.net/college-graduation-anxiety-expert-advice/

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March: National Self-Injury Awareness Month

March: National Self-Injury Awareness Month

By: Julia Massa

March is self-injury awareness month. Raising awareness educates those who do not self-harm and reaches out to those who do.

Self-injury or self-harm is characterized by hurting oneself on purpose to release painful emotions, process or distract themselves from their negative feelings, feel something when feeling numb, punish themselves, or develop a sense of control in their life. Self-harm can manifest differently for everyone, including cutting, scratching, burning, carving words into the skin, punching oneself, piercing skin with sharp objects, pulling out hair, or picking at existing wounds. Due to the stigma and shame that surrounds self-injury; many people do not report it. The current self-injury prevalence from statistics in over 40 countries explains that 17% of people partake in self-harm throughout their lifetime and the average age an individual begins to self-harm is 13. 50% of people seek help from friends, but do not commonly seek professional help. Cutting is the most commonly used form, with 45% resorting to cutting to relieve their pain. Since 2009, there has been a 50% increase in reported self-injury among young females.

Warning signs of self-harm include scars, fresh cuts, burns, scratches, bruises, wearing long sleeves or pants even in hot weather, impulsiveness, rubbing an area repeatedly to create a burn, having sharp objects on hand, questioning personal identity, and feelings of worthlessness. Self-harm can cause permanent scars, uncontrollable bleeding that can result in death, infection, addiction to the behavior, shame or guilt, avoiding friends and loved ones, becoming ostracized from loved ones who do not accept or understand the behavior, and interpersonal difficulty from lying to others about their injuries.

With the devastating consequences of self-harm and rates significantly increasing, it is important to advocate for those suffering to try to prevent them from engaging in these behaviors. Additionally, resorting to therapy to treat the underlying cause, such as overwhelming feelings and mood disorders, and finding better ways to cope may be the most effective route for those suffering from self-injury to take. For some, art therapy may help people process emotions and grab a marker instead of a sharp object. Individuals suffering can also text the crisis text line at 741741 when impulses to self-harm come on suddenly.

If you or someone you know is engaging in self-harm, 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 offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

https://www.crisistextline.org/topics/self-harm/#what-is-self-harm-1

https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Common-with-Mental-Illness/Self-harm

Depression and Anxiety Post Retirement

By: Ashley Marron

While many people look forward to retirement and its freedom, it can also trigger anxiety, stress, and depression. In fact, the chance of a person facing clinical depression increases by 40% after retirement. People tend to give lots of thought when planning their retirement; whether it’s traveling the world, pursuing new hobbies, or spending more time with family and friends. However, they often overlook the psychological impact of retiring from work. While many new retirees find retiring to be a great relief from escaping the daily grind, they also find that after several months they may miss the sense of identity, meaning, and purpose that came with their job. They lose the structure that their job gave their days, as well as the social-aspect of having co-workers. Retirees may now feel bored and isolated, rather than free, relaxed and fulfilled. They may even grieve the loss of their old life, and feel stressed or worried about how they will now spend the future.

Retiring is a major life change, and it can seriously take a toll on one’s mental health. Seeking help from a professional can help provide coping mechanisms with these challenges of retirement. Therapy can also help in the treatment of depression and anxiety. There are certainly healthy ways to adjust to this new chapter in your life, and it should be an exciting time, not a negative experience. Therapy can help to ensure that your retirement is both rewarding and happy.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for depression or 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/          

Sources

https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/wellness/post-retirement-depression-recognizing-the-signs/ss-BB1fWAss

Image Source

https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/wellness/post-retirement-depression-recognizing-the-signs/ss-BB1fWAss

The Effects of Agoraphobia

The Effects of Agoraphobia

By: Michaela Reynolds

Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder that causes an individual to feel an intense fear of being overwhelmed, unable to escape, or unable to get help. Due to this intense fear and anxiety, people will often avoid new places and unfamiliar situations. New places or unfamiliar situations include: open or enclosed spaces, places outside their home, crowds, and public transportation. Usually, Agoraphobia begins with a stressful event that makes an individual feel distressed and in turn, limits their contact with the world. This limitation of contact causes avoidant-behaviors with time the individual remains confined to their home. Agoraphobia is also caused by a stressful life event that triggers a panic attack. Due to the unpleasantness of panic attacks, the individuals will avoid any place or situation that will trigger another panic attack. These instances show that agoraphobia develops over time, rather than happening all at once.

The signs of agoraphobia are similar to a panic attack disorder, but the following symptoms can still occur:

  • Chest pain or rapid heart rate
  • Upset stomach
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Sudden chills or flushing
  • Fearfulness
  • Hyperventilation
  • Excessive sweating

If you or someone you know is struggling with agoraphobia, 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

Sources:

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15769-agoraphobia

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/agoraphobia#complications-of-agoraphobia

 Image: https://www.rismedia.com/2020/11/05/are-you-agraid-you-might-have-agoraphobia/

Social Media: How Social Media Use Impacts Mental Health

Social Media: How Social Media Use Impacts Mental Health

By Celine Bennion

As you scroll through Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, or LinkedIn, it may seem as though everyone you know uses at least one popular social media platform to share and connect with others. Social interaction is a key element for proper functioning and survival of humans. With modern technology, people can stay connected even when separated by physical distance, especially through social media. Despite their ability to maintain vital connections, social media platforms are known to engender mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, as well as overall negative feelings in users.

As social media has gained popularity, more individuals find themselves bypassing face-to-face social interactions and scrolling through social media profiles instead. This lack of genuine social connection can create feelings of loneliness, increasing the likelihood of users developing mental health issues. Additionally, social media platforms can harm one’s self identity, creating pressure to live up to others’ expectations or perceptions.

Social media is a stage for constant comparison to others. Whether it is related to appearance, materialistic items, or personal accomplishments, users can easily find themselves longing for what others possess. Modern editing software that enables users to easily distort their features in photos creates an unrealistic basis of comparison for those who believe this appearance is natural. Additionally, it is very uncommon for users to post about negative events in their lives, creating a false perception of a “perfect life” as others view their profile.

If social media is often causing individuals to feel bad, why do they continue using it? A major contributor to continued social media usage is the fear of missing out, or FOMO. FOMO occurs when individuals feel that they may miss out on connections such as jokes, invitations, and connections. This fear can cause significant anxiety, especially for those who thrive off of connection with others. Additionally, biological implications are involved in users’ attraction to social media platforms. The continuous presentation of novel content triggers the release of dopamine in the brain, a neurotransmitter that elicits feelings of pleasure. This fluctuation in dopamine levels leaves users craving the pleasurable feelings associated with scrolling, giving social media an addictive nature.

As you scroll through social media platforms, it is important to be mindful of the content you are consuming and discontinue interaction with content that causes negative feelings to arise.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy, 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/

Sources:

https://www.mcleanhospital.org/essential/it-or-not-social-medias-affecting-your-mental-health

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7364393/

https://lancastergeneralhealth.org/health-hub-home/2021/september/the-effects-of-social-media-on-mental-health

https://www.timesrecordnews.com/story/news/2021/10/15/challenge-offers-2-500-stay-off-social-media/8469387002/ (photo)

Suicide Grief

Suicide Grief

By: Michaela Reynolds

Losing a loved one by suicide can be overwhelming and heart wrenching. Grief in response to suicide can be complicated. You may be consumed with guilt and wonder to yourself if you could have done something to prevent their death. Feelings of anger, shame, guilt, regret and blame are very common, but it can make it hard for you to talk about their death due to stigma that is associated with it. It is important to note that there is NO right way to grieve losing a loved one to suicide!

In the aftermath, you may feel like you will never enjoy life again. To be honest, you may always wonder why it happened and experience reminders that can trigger painful feelings. However, the intensity of your grief will fade as time goes on but will probably never fully pass. In the meantime, it is beneficial for you to adopt healthy coping mechanisms. Such as:

  • Keep in touch with loved ones, friends, and other supporters
  • Don’t rush yourself
  • Consider a support group for families affected by suicide
  • Grieve in your own way
  • Expect setbacks
  • Be prepared for painful reminders

It important for you to understand the following: You should accept that some things are beyond your control, separate responsibility from blame, and understand that anyone can miss the warning signs.

If you are someone or you know someone who appears to be suffering from suicide grief, 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/.

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/end-of-life/in-depth/suicide/art-20044900

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/suicide-prevention/after-a-suicide-loss/suicide-and-grief#:~:text=Grief%20in%20response%20to%20suicide,the%20stigma%20associated%20with%20suicide.

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Men & Eating Disorders: The Quiet Struggle

By: Valeria Dubon

When discussing eating disorders, many people associate it towards women and their own personal struggles with the disorder. Although women often do carry the burden of trying to look a certain way and appeal to a certain body type, many people do not realize how those same standards negatively affect men and in what ways. Some of the reasons as to why eating disorders in men are not as studied and understood compared to women are simply due to factors such as:

  • The stigma associated with males seeking help 
  • Eating disorders in men having different symptoms compared to women
  • Strong association with eating disorders and women in the media

Previous statistics indicate that men make up about ten percent of eating disorders. However, one thing to acknowledge is that many men refuse to come forward with their disorder. This in turn validates the argument that the real number of men who suffer from eating disorders is much higher.

There are several key differences when it comes to men and women suffering from this disorder. For example, males with eating disorders are at a much older age on average compared to females; they also tend to have greater risk of psychiatric problems such as anxiety/depression and engage in more suicidal behaviors. One of the most common forms of eating disorders in men is called muscle dysmorphia, which is essentially a type of body dysmorphia; its core symptom is a fear of not being muscular enough. Other symptoms associated with it may include compulsive exercise and use of supplements. 

When it comes to treatment, the biggest hurdle for men is simply getting rid of the stigma that eating disorders carry. Treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy and family based therapy are shown to be effective, both of these are also effective when dealing with women who have eating disorders.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for eating disorders, 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/

Sources :

https://www.verywellmind.com/male-eating-disorders-4140606 

February: Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month

By: Julia Massa

Teen dating violence, also known as intimate partner violence or intimate relationship violence, affects one in three teenagers, ages 12 to 19 nationwide. This population is likely to experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse from their partner before entering adulthood. The abuse can take many forms including stalking, harassment, or physical or sexual abuse. In fact, 10% of adolescents report being a victim of physical violence prior to experiencing sexual assault or rape. Girls are more vulnerable to experience violence in their relationships and are likely to develop suicidal ideations, eating disorders, or use drugs. In addition, adolescents are likely to carry these behaviors into future relationships.

The month of February signifies the undying efforts to raise awareness for teen dating violence by promoting advocacy and education to younger individuals so that they can notice the red flags and escape potential abuse from a partner. This year’s theme for Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month is “Talk About It,” which encourages younger individuals to participate in conversations differentiating both healthy and unhealthy relationships. It is important to note that this is an issue that affects not only teenagers, but their families, friends, and the community as a whole. Many cases go unreported since victims are hesitant and scared to open up to their family or peers about it.

Safety planning guides, participating in the That’s Not Cool Ambassador Program, attending webinars, supporting youth led projects, and advocating through social media platforms are various ways an individual can spread awareness and enhance their knowledge on ways to help victims notice patterns of abuse. On February 8th, it is encouraged to wear orange to show victims that they have our support and attention. Love is Respect.

If you or someone you know is struggling with being in an abusive relationship, 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/

Sources:

https://youth.gov/feature-article/teen-dating-violence-awareness-and-prevention-month

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