Teens During COVID-19

Teens During COVID-19

By: Alexa Greenbaum 

The COVID-19 crisis, social distancing, and government-mandated lockdowns have taken a toll on teenagers. For teenagers and young adults, friends are hugely important, and separation from their peers can be very challenging as bonding with peers is one of the essential developmental tasks of adolescents. During this time, parents need to understand and acknowledge their frustrations over being cut off from seeing friends. To help teens during this difficult time, adults should listen to what they’re feeling, validate those feelings, and then be direct about how you can work together to make this situation bearable. 

For most teens, it can be painful to lose experiences such as sports seasons, proms, plays, and graduations. Parents can help their teen children by loosening rules to help compensate for the socializing time lost with the school closing. For example, parents can allow their children to spend more time on social media, have more downtime, and allow teens to socially distance with their friends.

Teenagers can also benefit from getting adequate sleep, keeping a consistent sleep schedule, eating healthy meals, and exercising regularly. Healthy habits can increase and maintain positive moods. Healthy habits also help teens who are struggling with mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression and improve their ability to fulfill academic expectations. 

Parents who give teens room to share their feelings, listen to them without judgment, reassure them that everything will work out, and help them look forward to future plans and goals are other ways to support teens.  Parents should also watch for signs if their teenage child is struggling and may need additional support.

If you or someone you know is struggling during COVID-19 or another crisis, 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://childmind.org/article/supporting-teenagers-and-young-adults-during-the-coronavirus

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/chest-lungs/Pages/Teens-and-COVID-19.aspx

Image Source: 

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/keeping-teens-home-and-away-from-friends-during-covid-19

Healthy Relationships: What does a healthy relationship look like

Healthy Relationships: What does a healthy relationship look like

By: Alexa Greenbaum 

As humans, we seek genuine relationships in which both parties are satisfied and attain benefits from being a part of the relationship. Every relationship is unique, and people come together for many different reasons, but the key elements to a healthy relationship remain. Healthy relationships bring out the best in you and make you feel good about yourself. However, a healthy relationship does not mean that it is perfect, no one is healthy 100% of the time. 

Healthy relationships manifest themselves as healthy communication and proceed at a comfortable pace that feels enjoyable to each person. There is a common goal for where both parties want the relationship to go. Trust is also a component of a healthy relationship. Trust can help you feel secure and give you the confidence that your partner would not do anything to hurt or ruin the relationship. When there is honesty, it can allow yourself to be truthful and candid without fearing how the other person will respond. Independence from a significant other can strengthen a relationship because it can give you the space to be yourself outside of the relationship. No one person can meet all your needs. Maintaining outside interests and relationships can sustain your own identity as well as stimulate and enrich your romantic relationship. Mutual respect is also critical. When there is respect, you value each other’s beliefs and opinions and love one another for who you are as a person.  

Overall, a healthy relationship does not only require trust, honesty, and independence, healthy relationships also require reciprocation and care. A good relationship is where both parties do things for each other and care about the relationship by voluntarily investing time and energy into the relationship. This means that there is equality within the relationship. The relationship feels balanced so that everyone puts the same effort into the success of the relationship. Equity allows both parties to maintain a meaningful emotional connection. Doing things for each other should be done out of kindness. Kindness means that you are caring and empathetic to one another. Kindness also means that you provide comfort and support, kindness makes each other feel loved and emotionally fulfilled. 

In times of conflict, taking responsibility and owning your actions and words, avoiding placing blame, and admitting when you make a mistake is critical in healthy relationships. Conflict can be healthy if handled correctly and respectfully. If conflicts are handled appropriately, it should not make couples fear disagreement. Healthy conflict is when parties within a relationship openly and respectfully discuss issues but confronting disagreement non-judgmentally. Lastly, a healthy relationship is fun. Fun in a healthy relationship means that you enjoy spending time together that you bring out the best in each other.

If you or someone you know is struggling in their relationship or another crisis, 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.joinonelove.org/signs-healthy-relationship

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/relationships-communication/relationship-help

Image Source

https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/relations/counseling-for-couples-as-part-of-a-healthy-relationship/

Parental Alienation Syndrome

By: Elyse Ganss

Parental alienation syndrome occurs when a child’s parent unconsciously works to turn the child against the other parent. This commonly occurs during divorce or custody battles. When saying negative things about the other parent, like blaming the other parent for their breakup, alienation turns the child against the other parent. Strategies can include brainwashing, alienating, and programming to cause distance between a child and parent. This behavior has negative effects for the relationship of the child and the other parent and can cause permanent damage.

The parent who unconsciously tries to turn the child against the other parent often exhibits narcissistic characteristics or tendencies in line with borderline personality disorder and are more concerned with their own feelings rather than the child’s well-being. Feelings that may be driving the parent’s behavior are anger and jealousy. Children benefit from the presence of both parents, unless a parent is abusive, and through parental alienation syndrome, children may become estranged from a parent.

If you have been experiencing anger about your co-parenting relationship and have been consciously or unconsciously taking it out on your child, you may be causing parental alienation syndrome. Children being alienated may experience anger, feelings of neglect, exhibit destructive behavior, and lack empathy. It is important to remember that no matter what you are feeling toward your former spouse, your child should not be brought into your separation, divorce, or custody battle. Supporting a child is the most important thing to do during a breakup and it may be helpful to bring the child to therapy to work through their emotions to prevent psychological damage.

If you or someone you know needs support, 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.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/resolution-not-conflict/201802/parental-alienation-syndrome-what-is-it-and-who-does-it

https://www.healthline.com/health/childrens-health/parental-alienation-syndrome#effects-on-child

Image Source:

https://www.healthline.com/health/childrens-health/parental-alienation-syndrome

Mental Illness: How to Support a Spouse with Mental Illness

Mental Illness: How to Support a Spouse with Mental Illness
By: Isabelle Siegel

Every relationship has challenges, but relationships in which one partner has a mental illness can be even more challenging. The presence of mental illness in a relationship can leave both individuals feeling alone and helpless. However, it is not impossible to be in a happy, healthy, and successful relationship with someone with a mental illness. If you are wondering how to support your partner/spouse with mental illness, know that it is possible. Although your partner’s/spouse’s mental illness may at times feel all-consuming, certain steps can ultimately help manage the overwhelming ups and downs.

Develop an understanding of your partner’s/spouse’s diagnosis. It can be helpful to research the symptoms of your partner’s/spouse’s disorder in order to better recognize and label them as they arise. Having a basic understanding of what your partner/spouse is experiencing can help you to put yourself in his/her shoes and to gain insight into his/her struggles.

Just be there. Having a mental illness oftentimes makes people feel alone and as though they are a burden to their loved ones. The single most powerful way you can support your partner/spouse with a mental illness is to be there for him/her. Communicate that you are there for the highs and lows, and be ready to love your partner/spouse through them.

Do not let mental illness take over your entire relationship. Although it is important to communicate, try to keep your relationship balanced by limiting discussions about mental illness. Even when your partner’s/spouse’s mental illness feels all-consuming, continue to engage in activities that pull you and your partner away from thinking about his/her diagnosis and struggles.

Communicate openly how you feel. Regardless of a mental illness diagnosis, open communication is a critical component of any relationship. Be honest with your partner/spouse about how you feel, communicating any emotions with the goal of productively working through them.

Understand that your partner/spouse is trying the best he/she can. It can be easy to assume that a person with mental illness would feel better if only he/she tried harder. Oftentimes, people with mental illness are coping with their struggles in the best way they can.

Accept that it will be challenging at times. Being in a relationship with someone with a mental illness is going to pose challenges. It can arouse difficult emotions such as frustration, anger, resentment, sadness, etc. Allow yourself to feel these emotions and be willing to communicate them with your partner.

Most importantly, take care of yourself. It is important to understand that your partner/spouse is not the only one who needs support. Never feel guilty for prioritizing your own needs, and consider seeking therapy or other support in order to take care of your own mental health.

If you or a loved one needs support, 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 http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:
https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/November-2018/How-to-Be-Supportive-of-Your-Partner-with-Mental-I
https://www.nami.org/Personal-Stories/How-To-Love-Someone-With-A-Mental-Illness
https://www.verywellmind.com/coping-with-a-mentally-ill-spouse-2302988

Image Source: https://images.app.goo.gl/1XXGCnGttHazLixy5

Depression: How to Support a Spouse with Depression

Depression: How to Support a Spouse with Depression
By: Isabelle Siegel

Depression can cause immense pain and suffering for more than just the individual diagnosed. The partners/spouses of individuals with depression commonly report feeling hopeless and helpless, unsure how to provide necessary support to their partner/spouse. Attempts to help may be met with apathy or even anger, further complicating a seemingly simple question: How can I support my partner/spouse with depression?

Develop an understanding of depression and how it manifests in your partner/spouse. It can be helpful to research depression, taking note of its symptoms and causes. Understand that depression is an illness and not a choice. You may want to create a list of your partner’s/spouse’s particular symptoms and triggers for depressive episodes in order to better understand his/her experiences.

As simple as it sounds, just be there. Depression may have your partner/spouse doubting that you love him/her and may make him/her feel as though he/she is a burden to you. Assure your partner that you are there for him/her and that you love him/her despite his/her illness.

Encourage him/her to get help. Depressive symptoms can interfere with one’s motivation and ability to get help, so continuously encourage treatment. Help your partner/spouse find a therapist and/or psychiatrist, bring him/her to appointments, and cheer him/her on as they undergo treatment.

Do things you both enjoy. One important treatment step for depression is known as “opposite action,” in which individuals with depression act opposite to how they feel. If they feel like laying in bed all day, for example, they should get up and out of the house. As a partner/spouse, you can help by encouraging your partner/spouse to act opposite to their depressive urges by engaging in activities that you both enjoy.

Understand the warning signs of suicide. Individuals with depression are more vulnerable to suicide, so it may be important to know signs that your partner is considering taking his/her life. These may include talking about suicide, social withdrawal, giving away belongings, or obtaining means of attempting suicide. If you believe that your partner is at risk for suicide, seek immediate help.

Most importantly, take care of yourself and seek therapy. Research suggests that having a partner/spouse with depression increases one’s own risk of developing depressive symptoms. It is important to understand that your partner/spouse is not the only one who needs support. Never feel guilty for prioritizing your own needs, and consider seeking therapy or other support in order to take care of your own mental health.

If you or a loved one needs support, 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 http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:
https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/blog/supporting-partner-depression
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325523
https://www.psycom.net/help-partner-deal-with-depression/

Image Source: https://www.rewire.org/support-partner-depression/

COVID-19: Why going outside can help with your mental health

COVID-19: Why going outside can help with your mental health

By: Alexa Greenbaum

While social distancing during COVID-19, going outside has become one of the few activities to escape the house. In states that are in lockdown, governors such as in New York, Washington, and Montana have strongly encouraged people to go outdoors to run, walk, hike, and bike while practicing safe social distancing. Although it is not clear why, studies have found that spending time outside has a positive effect on our general well-being, including mental and physical health. In fact, doctors have been issuing “nature prescriptions” as a treatment for a range of conditions including chronic stress, depression, anxiety, PTSD, as well as others.

Efforts around the world have been promoting the health benefits of time spent outside. Regardless of the level of physical activity, spending time outdoors for even just 20 minutes per day can lower stress hormone levels, boost self-esteem, and improve mood.

Time in nature serves as an escape from daily pressures. The outdoors has been found to build resilience, hope, happiness, and optimism even before the added stressors of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional research also suggests that going outside results in a lower risk of developing psychiatric disorders.

Based on several existing literature, positive effects documented were often described as “psychological healing,” “increased sense of well-being,” and “restorative.” Thus, a form of healing to achieve, maintain or promote a positive mental health state. Nature is a critical component of overall health and a great place to start.

If you or someone you know is struggling from COVID-19 or another crisis, 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.forbes.com/sites/cassidyrandall/2020/04/09/why-going-outside-is-good-for-your-health-especially-right-now/#4479a8bd2de9

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/cravings/201909/nature-s-role-in-mental-illness-prevention-or-treatment

https://time.com/5539942/green-space-health-wellness/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/sour-mood-getting-you-down-get-back-to-nature

Image Source:

https://41nbc.com/2020/05/10/virus-outbreak

COVID-19: Anxiety

COVID-19: Anxiety

By: Alexa Greenbaum

Reported rates of anxiety have increased since the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of people reporting anxiety and fear symptoms is well above historical norms. Polls have found that nearly half of Americans report the coronavirus crisis is harming their mental health. Hotlines have seen consistent results. During April alone, a month in which most Americans were in quarantine, the federal government’s distress hotline increased text rates more than 1,000 percent. In addition, dozens of states and locally run distress hotlines have reported sizeable increases in call volume as well. If you are experiencing anxiety during this time, you are not alone.

Americans who are in quarantine and sheltering in place are suffering. Outbreaks are stressful and symptoms of anxiety can include:

•    Fear and worry about your health and the health of your loved ones.

•    Changes in sleep or eating patterns.

•    Difficulty sleeping or concentrating.

•    Worsening of chronic health problems.

•    Worsening of mental health conditions.

•    Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs. 

In particular, those who have reported high rates of fear and anxiety include:

•    Minorities

•    Women

•    Older people and people with preexisting health conditions who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 as well as people who have mental health conditions including problems with substance abuse

•    Adults under the age of 34 (children and teens)

•    People who are helping with the response to COVID-19 (doctors, health care providers, and first responders

During this time, it is more important than ever to take care of your mental health. Asking for and accepting help is a sign of strength. Call your health care provider if you are experiencing stress or anxiety. Health care providers can help you by providing a procedure and referrals.

If you or someone you know is experiencing anxiety  from COVID-19 or another crisis, 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.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/what-covid-19-is-doing-to-our-mental-health

Image Source:

https://www.vox.com/identities/2020/4/16/21219693/coronavirus-anxiety-depression-mental-health-ptsd-covid

Family Therapy

By: Elyse Ganss

Family therapy is a type of counseling where family members participate to deal with prior issues or conflicts and improve communication. Family members do not need to be blood related and can simply be long-term support members.

Family therapy may be necessary during short term increments when a particular problem occurs. Through improving communication, families will gain the necessary skills to deal with issues that come up in their lives. However, sometimes long-term family therapy can be needed. For example, a family dealing with the loss of a loved one may need counseling services for a long period as the process of grieving is different for each family.

Some common things addressed during family therapy include different parenting styles, financial conflicts, sexual issues, conflict between parents and children, substance abuse and mental illness. Similarly, anger or grief can be addressed during family therapy. Positive outcomes of family therapy include communication, reduced family conflict, improved family cohesion, and better problem-solving ability.

During family therapy, a therapist talks to the couple both together and alone as needed. Then, the therapist will talk to each member of the family to learn what is going on. After this a treatment plan will be created and the therapist will work with the family to meet their goals.

If you or someone you know is interested in family 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.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/family-therapy/about/pac-20385237

https://www.webmd.com/parenting/family-therapy-overview#1

Image Source: https://www.arkansasrelationshipcenter.com/the-most-common-issues-seen-in-family-therapy-sessions

COVID-19: Co-Parenting in a Stressful Time

COVID-19: Co-Parenting in a Stressful Time

By: Alexa Greenbaum

Co-parenting is challenging even during normal times. The crisis of COVID-19 can add to the stress of co-parenting. There are many aspects that make co-parenting even more difficult now than before. Some parents may have to work longer hours during the pandemic, whereas others may have reduced hours and are therefore struggling with finances; these are just a few extra stressors that parents are facing during this pandemic. Adding to the difficulty, different states handle custody arrangements differently, which adds confusion to the process.

Regarding custody, parents have to work together to ensure the safety of their children. Unlike before the pandemic, if they do not see eye to eye, they now have limited means of settling the matter in the justice system. State Supreme Courts such as in California, Maryland, and Texas, have issued that parents should follow their court-ordered processioning schedule during COVID-19. However, there are some exceptions including the event of a “lockdown” or a “shelter in place.” In other states, such as New York, the administrative judge has ordered to “act reasonably.” This uncertainty can spark conflict between co-parents as well.

To accommodate in this challenging time, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts released a joint statement of guidelines on March 19 to help separated parents create a plan during the health crisis. The statement says, “Family law judges expect reasonable accommodations when they can be made and will take serious concerns raised in later filings about parents who are inflexible in highly unusual circumstances.” Nonetheless, the major issue that co-parents are facing, concerning their children, is that many parents are losing the ability to have daily or normal interactions with their kids.

Healthy co-parenting through COVID-19 requires parents to put aside their differences and put their children first. Parents need to know that although this time is confusing for children, kids are generally resilient. Both parents should talk to their kids, whether it be in-person, from 6-feet apart, or virtually about the pandemic. Communication during this time is the best way for a child to have a sense of normality. Thus, this is a time for parents to embrace technology and do their best to work together as co-parents.

Kids are feeling overwhelmed too. Therefore, as a co-parent, focus on doing everything they can do to emotionally support their kids. Reassuring their child that we will get through this, that some changes are only temporary, and most importantly, they are loved is the best way to be there for their child during this time.

If you or someone you know is looking for support, 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.usnews.com/news/best-states/articles/2020-04-27/americans-struggle-with-co-parenting-during-covid-19

https://www.paleyrothman.com/legal-blog/co-parenting-during-covid-a-practical-guide

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/emotional-wellness/Building-Resilience/Pages/Co-Parenting-through-COVID-19.aspx

https://www.thecenterforfamilylaw.com/afcc-aaml

Image Source:

https://nyulangone.org/news/divorce-co-parenting-covid-19-challenges-opportunities

Burnout in College Students (Part 1)

Tatyana A. Reed

With school coming into full swing, before we can even get that deep, it’s time to look at burnout, particularly in students. Have you ever taken on way too many tasks and at the last minute realized it’s causing an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion and being stressed out? Or have you ever been so busy you feel like nothing is going to get done correctly or done at all? If you have felt like this, nine times out of ten you were experiencing burnout.

According to pyschologytoday.com burnout is “a state of emotional, mental, and often physical exhaustion brought on by prolonged or repeated stress.” Burnout is not a widely talked about topic unless the causes have been detrimental to an individual. In this article, we will talk about the symptoms, affects, and how to avoid burnout.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STRESS AND BURNOUT

Before we can talk about the signs of burnout, we first have to understand that there is a difference between burnout and stress. David Ballard, member of the American Psychological Association, describes burnout as “an extended period of time where someone experiences exhaustion and a lack of interest in things, resulting in a decline in their job [academic] performance.”

SIGNS OF BURNOUT

Here are just some of the early indicators of college burnout according to collegeinfogeek.com:

  • Constant exhaustion
  • Lack of motivation
  • Constant frustration
  • Grades beginning to decline
  • Struggling to pay attention
  • Disengagement from friends and colleagues

WHAT MAY BE CAUSING YOUR BURNOUT 

A study conducted by University of South Maine in 2006 had 354 students answer questions that helped look at why burnout may be happening to college students. Here are the four most prevalent answers:

  • 13% said it was due to lack of motivation on their personal part
  • 25% attributed it to issues caused by their part time job ( finance and lack of time) and due to family issues
  • 5% said it was caused by a professor
  • And the most prevalent answer was because of having too many assignments on their plate

 

If you or someone you know is dealing with burnout, 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/.

 

References:

Harrison, Mike. “Avoid College Burnout.” Great Lakes Christian College, 22 Jan. 2018, http://www.glcc.edu/avoid-college-burnout/ (PHOTO)

Jerry, Lisa M. “10 Signs you’re Burning Out — And What To Do About It.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 3 Jan. 2018, http://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2013/04/01/10-signs-youre-burning-out-and-what-to-do-about-it/.

Stephanie Cushman & Richard West (2006) Precursors to College Student Burnout: Developing a Typology of Understanding, Qualitative Research Reports in Communication, 7:1, 23-31, DOI: 10.1080/17459430600964638

Vaiana, Dominic. “Burnout in College: What Causes It and How to Avoid It.” College Info Geek, 5 Mar. 2019, collegeinfogeek.com/student-burnout/