Communication in romantic relationships: Healthy communication and its importance

Communication in romantic relationships: Healthy communication and its importance

By: Anna Giammanco

Communication is key to maintaining a stable and healthy relationship. Whether romantic or platonic, open communication can help deal with conflict by vocalizing issues and concerns within a relationship. Working through obstacles can create a stronger relationship.

Tips for healthy communication:

  • Be clear and concise about what you want to communicate. Make sure your partner understands what it is you are trying to communicate and doesn’t misconstrue your words.
  • Talk about the situation and how it has been affecting you.
  • Use ‘I’ statements such as “I feel …” “I need …” “I want …”
  • Accept responsibility for your own actions, feelings, and mistakes.
  • Listen to what your partner has to say and put aside your own thoughts for the time being to completely hear them out.
  • Share positive feelings with your partner. Let them know that they are appreciated and important to you.
  • Be aware of your tone of voice.
  • Negotiate and try to compromise on the issue.

If you or someone you know needs help 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 Psychotherapy & Psychiatric Services. Contact our Manhattan, NY or Paramus, NJ offices respectively at (201)368-3700 or (212) 722- 1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit https://counselingpsychotherapynjny.com

References: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/relationships-and-communication

Misuse of the Term Gaslighting in Popular Culture: What does it really mean?

By: Caroline Clarke

In this generation it is not uncommon to hear from friends about how someone they know “gaslit” them. When scrolling through Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok, it is virtually impossible to evade the word “gaslighting”. So what is gaslighting anyway? Where does it come from?

The term “gaslighting” originates from the 1938 play Gas Light in which the husband turns down the gas-powered lights to make them flicker. When his wife points out the lights have been flickering, he denies her claim and instead pushes her to believe that it is all in her head.

Nowadays, when someone uses the term “gaslighting”, they are often referring to a time when someone lied to them. However, lying and gaslighting are not interchangeable terms, despite that being the trend in popular culture. Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic often used in abusive relationships to maintain power over the victim. A technique much more malicious than lying, gaslighting causes the victim to question their perception of reality and their mental sanity. This breaking down of the victim’s mental state and their ability to trust themselves is a major reason victims will feel it is impossible for them to leave the relationship.

Signs you are being gaslit include (but are not limited to):

  • Consistently second-guessing yourself and your instincts
  • Excessively apologizing to the person
  • Believing that you are too sensitive or over-emotional
  • Doubting your own memory
  • Blaming yourself for the way the other person treats you
  • Walking on eggshells around the person
  • Feeling like you cannot do anything correctly
  • Making excuses for the person’s behavior or withholding information from family and friends

If any of these experiences ring true for you and you suspect you may be a victim of gaslighting, know that help is always available. Remember: you are not at fault in this relationship. The first step is to reach out and tell someone about the abuse.

If you or someone you know is a victim of gaslighting 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 Psychotherapy & Psychiatric Services. Contact our Manhattan, NY or Paramus, NJ offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com

References: https://www.thehotline.org/resources/what-is-gaslighting/

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD): What is it and how can it be treated?

By: Caroline Clarke

Do you experience premenstrual syndrome (otherwise known as PMS)? Do you feel like your PMS tends to be more extreme than those around you? You may want to consider looking into premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is considered to be a severe and chronic form of PMS, and can be dangerous due to possible suicidal ideation or suicidal actions.

Any person can develop PMDD, but you are at an increased risk if:

  • There is a family history of PMDD.
  • There is a personal or family history of depression, mood disorders, or postpartum depression.

PMDD symptoms most often occur during the days leading up to your menstrual cycle. These symptoms are not experienced during other times during the month.

Some common symptoms of PMDD include but are not limited to:

  • Anger or Irritability
  • Depression
  • Severe fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Crying spells
  • Moodiness
  • Diminished sex drive
  • Appetite changes
  • Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed

The cause for PMDD is not known. However, there are treatment options available. Some treatment options available include:

  • Regular exercise
  • Vitamin supplements
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI)
  • Birth control pills
  • Anti-inflammatory medicines
  • Dietary changes

Due to this disorder being centered around a person’s menstrual cycle, there tends to be a stigma and significant lack of recognition surrounding PMDD. Do not let this deter you from seeking help as this is a serious disorder that requires treatment. If you or someone you know feels their PMS symptoms are more severe than the average, do not hesitate to reach out to a licensed professional and ask questions.

If you or someone you know is struggling with premenstrual dysphoric disorder 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 Psychotherapy & Psychiatric Services. Contact our Manhattan, NY or Paramus, NJ offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com

References: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/premenstrual-dysphoric-disorder-pmdd

Grief: Grieving Around the Holidays

Grief: Grieving Around the Holidays

By Emily Ferrer

As the weather gets colder, the colorful leaves fall off the trees, and the holiday decorations start to light up the night, the feeling of the best time of the year starts to kick in. As merry and cozy as these holidays seem to be, they do not always have the same effect on everyone. Grieving around the holidays can feel extremely lonely, sad, and overwhelming. The first holiday season is always the hardest for individuals and families who have just lost someone close to them, such as a grandparent, parent, sibling, child, or other close relative that they would usually see during the holidays. The empty chair at the dining table during Thanksgiving, or the wonder of who is going to make the Christmas cookies this year can be extremely heartbreaking. Even after you feel as if you have started to feel better through your grieving process, the holidays can dig up more emotion than you have felt since losing your loved one. You may start to feel more down, tired, unmotivated, sluggish, and lonely. You may also start to get flashbacks of your loved one when they passed that may also make you feel as if you are grieving from the beginning all over again. As hard as the holiday season may be for grieving individuals and families, here are some tips to help make your holiday season a bit brighter this year[1]:

  • Surround yourself with people you love and care about. Being with a big group of people during the holidays after losing a loved one can help you feel less lonely and can also be a great opportunity to share stories about your loved one with your family.
  • Do not “cancel” the holiday. As tempting as it may be to forget about the holidays after losing your loved one it is important to keep it going and grieve along the way. Experiencing the holiday season after the death of a loved one is part of the grieving process from which you should not run away.
  • Create new traditions. Finding new traditions can also be a create way to cope during the holiday season. This can include changing the location of where holiday dinner is hosted, picking new family members to carve the turkey or make the Christmas cookies, or even coming up with a new holiday game to play to fill the emptiness that everyone may feel.
  • Practice self-care. Try not to indulge in alcohol or drugs during the holiday season to cope with your grief; instead, try journaling, spending time with friends, or physical activity to boost your mood. It is also important to let yourself feel any emotions that arise and to not fight the conflicting feelings of anger, sadness, joy, and happiness.
  • Seek professional help. It is important to be aware of your feelings during such a difficult time and recognize that if the holiday season is too much for you to handle to seek professional help to assist you during this challenging period.

If you or someone you know is struggling with grief this holiday season and wants help, 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 https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com


Sources:

[1] https://www.vitas.com/family-and-caregiver-support/grief-and-bereavement/holidays-and-grief/coping-with-grief-during-the-holidays

Shopping Addiction? Can’t Save Money? That May Be A Real Issue

Shopping Addiction? Can’t Save Money? That May Be A Real Issue

By Erika Ortiz

             Most people like to spend and buy things, but some take that splurging a bit to the max and do it any opportunity possible. Shopping makes some feel good, however; some get this “high” feeling since the brain releases endorphins and dopamine as they shop. It’s one thing to shop while on a budget, while it’s another to shop with no budget in mind. All of the spending, unnecessary buying, and accumulation of debt is an actual issue called shopping addiction. It is imperative to break down shopping addiction and the different types. First, there is impulse buying which is buying something you did not plan on purchasing in the first place. It can range from buying a chocolate bar from the grocery store while waiting in line or buying your 50th pair of shoes. Compulsive buying is when you plan your shopping, but to an extreme and on unnecessary items. Compulsive buying is usually where the shopping addiction behavior occurs most. For example, say you did not do so well on an exam or had a bad day at work, your immediate solution is to go shopping afterward to make yourself feel better. Another type is bargain shoppers who think they are getting a steal price or great deal. They are still spending a lot instead of saving. Finally, there is bulimic shopping or circular shopping. These people buy and return just for fun; even though they are staying within their budget, they are wasting a lot of time and energy.

           Shopping addiction can be due to stress, loneliness, sadness, the need to fill a void, lack of control, avoidance of reality, depression, anxiety, etc. Nonetheless, this is a severe problem that needs an urgent solution because shopping addiction can lead to issues in relationships, growing debt, constant overspending, and even lying about spending. One way to help with this issue is to create a budget and try sticking with it. There are many resources online that can be great budgeting tools. It is critical to immediately get help if you have a very severe case of shopping addiction. Seek a mental health professional who can help you get to the root of the issue and understand what you are going through. Remember that there is hope and you can get through this.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a shopping addiction 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 https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com

Sources

https://www.ramseysolutions.com/budgeting/shopping-addiction

The Fear of Commitment

The Fear of Commitment

By Erika Ortiz

Commitment can occur in any aspect of your life. It is only natural to experience anxiety when there are milestones such as signing a new lease, accepting a job offer, getting engaged or married, etc. However, sometimes the anxiety can revert into something much more severe such as gamophobia which is the fear of commitment. It can prevent or inhibit any opportunity to move forward in life or create a stalemate scenario in a relationship where you love someone. However, it seems as though staying single is becoming the “safe bet” for most people. According to the U.S. Census Bureau of 2022, nearly 50% of Americans are single. Many people are struggling to settle down or find a partner. A lot of people recognize that they do have commitment issues; however, a lot of people do not understand why others have these issues with commitment. Recently, people have been struggling with mental health issues and they often carry that struggle into a relationship which can leave their partner or significant other feeling confused as to why the relationship is the way it is. Some reasons why people nowadays have a fear of commitment are emotional uncertainty, issues with anxiety, past trauma, insecurities, and self-esteem. On the other end of the spectrum, some other reasons can be an underlying or undiagnosed disorder that has gone undetected for which they need to seek professional help. If your significant other is the one who fears commitment, understand that they do not feel this way because they don’t love, value, or care about you. They are dealing with many emotions inside that may be hard to handle. In the meantime, you can respect their boundaries, talk to them, and hear them out. On the other hand, it may be best to accept it and move on. It is also strongly advised to seek professional help and try couples therapy or individual therapy as this can help move things forward.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Mental Health 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 https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com

Sources

https://psychcentral.com/blog/fear-of-commitment-or-phobia#what-to-do

https://www.census.gov/newsroom/stories/unmarried-single-americans-week.html

Mental Health: What can Family Members do to Promote Positive Mental Health?

Mental Health: What can Family Members do to Promote Positive Mental Health?

By: Julissa Acebo

People often look to their family to find comfort and security. Family members affect the habits we develop, who we are, and who we become. Often families do not realize how they significantly contribute to the mental wellness of a person struggling from a mental disorder.


Below are some tips family members can do which promote mental well-being:

  1. Extend a Listening Ear
    • Provide an environment where every member is free to share their worries, problems, and even good things that life offers.
    • This alone can dramatically improve a person’s well-being
  2. Celebrate Small Wins
    • Motivates and boosts a person’s confidence
    • Shows that family members are proud and makes the person feel good about their achievements
  3. Attend Psychotherapy Sessions (family and/or individual sessions)
    • Enables all members to learn effective communication
  4. Make Everyone Feel Valued
    • Avoid behaviors that will make members feel sidelined (i.e. being overly harsh with one person. Be fair in the distribution of roles within the household, etc.)
  5. Eat Dinner Together
    • Eating dinner together at least once a week is a prime opportunity to talk, listen, and enjoy time together.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Mental Health 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 https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com

Sources:
https://www.mikeveny.com/blog/six-things-family-members-can-do-to-promote-mental-well-be.ing
https://www.mha-em.org/im-looking-for/mental-health-knowledge-base/wellness/86-improve-family-mental-health

Emotionally Abusive Relationship: How to Spot the Signs

Emotionally Abusive Relationship: How to Spot the Signs

By Erika Ortiz

Abuse of any kind must never be tolerated. Whether it is from your boss, spouse, family member, or friend, it should not be taken lightly and must be acted upon quickly before it can escalate to serious issues. However, some forms of abuse are difficult to distinguish and can be especially hard to come to terms with when the abuser is a significant other such as a spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend. Physical abuse is a well-known form of abuse; however, emotional abuse has a subtle component, making it very tricky to catch. Here are some signs that you are in an emotionally abusive relationship:

Controlling and manipulative- Your partner may make you feel bad for going out or give you a curfew when you’re out with friends.

Gaslighting- Your partner can make you believe points in their arguments or things you have “said” that never happened.

Humiliation and embarrassment- They may insult you, make fun, and make you feel bad about yourself in front of others.

Silent treatment/Stonewalling- After an argument, they may “shut down” to make you feel abandoned and cut communication.

Threats- They may flat-out threaten you in any way, shape, or form possible.

There is quite a lengthy list of signs of emotional abuse. However, it is crucial to be proactive and seek help. These issues can cause or result in depression, anxiety, suicide, and PTSD. It can even lead to physical abuse if it hasn’t already occurred. Please seek professional help immediately if you see any signs of abuse or feel unsafe or unwell.

If you or someone you know is experiencing an emotionally abusive relationship or signs of it, 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 https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com

 Sources

https://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/signs-emotionally-abusive-relationship

https://www.healthline.com/health/signs-of-mental-abuse#control-and-shame

Social Anxiety & Low Self Esteem: How They Are Related

Social Anxiety & Low Self Esteem: How They Are Related

By: Brianna Richardson

What is Social Anxiety?

Social Anxiety Disorder (also known as Social Phobia), is an anxiety disorder in which a person feels intense worry when socializing with others. People who suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder often worry about being judged, humiliated and/or rejected by others in social situations. There are many factors that influence socially anxious behavior, one of them being low self-esteem.

What is Low Self-Esteem?

Self-esteem is the introspective beliefs about one’s own capabilities, value, and personal worth. Self-esteem exists on a spectrum that ranges from high to low. When an individual has low self-esteem, he or she has little to no confidence in their personal worth, value, and/or capabilities.

            Low self-esteem presents itself in thought patterns known as negative self-talk.

            Here are some examples…

                        ‘Don’t say anything. It’s probably going to come off weird, and you’ll embarrass yourself in front of everyone.’

                        ‘I’m not as funny as everyone else here. They probably don’t think I belong here, maybe I should just leave? But what if that makes them think I’m rude? I don’t know what to do…’

                        This person is experiencing low self-esteem, ‘I’m going to come off weird’; ‘I’m not as funny’, which is influencing their social behavior.

Other Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder:

  • Fear of saying or doing something wrong.
  • Lack of understanding social cues. (overthinking social cues)
  • Intense worry about being perceived as weird, awkward, or (unintentionally) rude.

If you or someone you know is experiencing social anxiety or low self-esteem 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 https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/social-anxiety-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20353561

HIV/AIDS: Risk for Mental Disorders

By: Shameen Joshi

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that can lead to AIDS; it can be transmitted through various ways such as sexual intercourse, sharing syringes with someone who has HIV/AIDS, or through pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. HIV lowers the white blood cell count which is vital for our ability to fight off infections and other diseases. People living with HIV/AIDS may be more susceptible to other infections or diseases. The stress that is caused by the disease can affect the individual’s mental health as they are at a higher risk of developing mood, anxiety, and cognitive disorders. Situations that may contribute to the mental health of the individual include:

  • Having issues getting mental health services
  • Loss of social support resulting in isolation
  • Experiencing loss of employment or stress about being able to perform at work
  • Spreading the news about their HIV diagnosis
  • Incorporating their life with treatment for the virus such as using medicine and medical treatment
  • Facing stigma and discrimination surrounding HIV/AIDS

HIV can also affect the individual’s brain and nervous system causing a change in how the person behaves and thinks. The individual also may have side effects from the medications they are taking.  HIV treatment usually includes a combination of medicines called antiretroviral therapy (ART) which should begin as early as possible during the diagnosis. Understanding the psychological and physiological effects of HIV/AIDS gives the caretaker as well as the individual more information on how to properly care for the diagnosis and it can also provide awareness on the mental health issues that accompany HIV/AIDS.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for depression and/or addiction, 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/