Virtual Learning: Back to School…Online!

     Living through a global pandemic has put school districts, as well as family members, through an abundance of stress and anxiety as we begin to turn the corner into our not so typical “back to school” season. Parents are presented with the hard decision of whether to send their child into the classroom (if offered that option) or risk the possibility of having to cut their hours at work in order to be at home to help facilitate their child’s virtual learning experience. Some common signs of anxiety to look out for are feeling nervous, an impending sense of danger, trouble concentrating or thinking of anything other than the present worry, and having the urge to avoid things that trigger your anxiety. Here are some tips to help take care of your mental health this upcoming school year!  

Stay Involved With Decision Making                                                                     Going back to school always involved decision making, so going back to school with COVID-19 makes planning much more necessary. To help reduce anxiety, start early to ensure you have all the necessary resources to give your child to have a successful school year (especially if they will be experiencing the classroom from home). Always ask questions if you feel unsure.

You Can’t Manage Everything                                                                               Not everything is predictable. Remember to take everything on a day to day basis and remind yourself that you are doing everything you can for your child in these unforeseen times.                                                                            

Communicate                                                                                                           Continue to research resources if needed and to reach out to your child’s school if you have any questions. Reach out to other parents in the community who are in the same situation you are in for further support. They can be good to share ideas with, but also to talk to about any doubts or worries! Establish a support system that you can contact if you ever need help.

Self-care                                                                                                                           Always remember to take time for yourself for hobbies or spending time with family and friends. Take part in activities you enjoy and that take your mind off of current worries or stressors.

If you or someone you know needs support with anxiety, please contact our psychotherapy office 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

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Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD) in Children

By: Tamar Asayan

School Phobia is now referred to Separation Anxiety. It can also be known as school refusal or school avoidance because it makes going to school very difficult for children. Separation Anxiety Disorder is when someone has excessive fear or anxiety about leaving their home or an attachment figure. In children, their attachment figure is usually their parents because they see them as a figure of protection and do not want to leave their side. Humans require an attachment to parental figures because they provide love, protection, and care to us. Children attach their deepest fears to their parents because they believe they can make any fear go away.

Children who have separation anxiety have a difficult time sleeping alone, going to school, avoiding play dates, and do anything to stay at home with their parents. They also experience symptoms of dizziness, upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, headaches, and have difficulty sleeping. These symptoms can lead to children not wanting to leave their house even more because the thought of a parent leaving can give symptoms of panic and anxious thoughts.

Separation Anxiety Disorder is more common in children who suffer from parents separating or going through a divorce. Any detachment from a parent is experienced as a life threatening danger to the child. They fear they no longer will be protected and will be left alone by their parents. These feelings of anxiety are relieved when they are safe in the presence of their parents to reassure them that they are not going anywhere. In order for children to overcome their separation anxiety and their fear to attend school it is important to seek help as early as they can.

The best method in treating Separation Anxiety Disorder is by Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT); it helps parents and children learn new coping skills when they are separated from each other. It is also important to make your child feel safe and protected in the environment they are living in and develop trust in their parents that they are not going to leave them.

If you are a parent and are concerned about your child having separation anxiety call 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