Acknowledging Breast Cancer Month & The Power of Self-Awareness

Acknowledging Breast Cancer Month & The Power of Self-Awareness

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Founded in 1985, the conception of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month was to promote mammography and early dedication in women. Now over 30 years later, October is the month where we paint the town pink. From the popularized pink breast cancer ribbon to NFL players sporting pink cleats, it is hard not to be aware that the month marks Breast Cancer Awareness. But is awareness enough to make an individual impact? Can we be simultaneously aware and disillusioned? Are we culturally aware, but not self-aware? What role do you play in early detection and fighting for a cure?  

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To Say or Not to Say: Exploring Therapist Self-Disclosure

To Say or Not to Say: Exploring Therapist Self-Disclosure

I recently had a client tell me how much she liked me as a therapist, but also as a person. She acknowledged that she knew very little about me personally to make this acclamation. The limited disclosure of the therapist is true of most therapeutic interactions. While the client shares many personal and private details from their lives, the therapist usually discloses very little. This got me thinking about the role of therapist self-disclosure in therapy.

Self-disclosure is the revelation of personal information about the therapist during session. The clinical use of therapist self-disclosure is a highly debated topic. Some therapists air on the side of caution and take an objective stance in the room by not disclosing any personal information. Unlike, disclosure, the use of non-disclosure is not typically questioned or justified. But can self-disclosure always be avoided? What qualifies as therapist self-disclosure? Is self-disclosure a mistake or an inevitable part of all interpersonal relationships?

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Mindful Motherhood: Using Mindfulness During Pregnancy

Mindful Motherhood: Using Mindfulness During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time of excitement, anticipation and transition. You may envision the child that you are going to have or the parent that you are going to be. You may attempt to plan and prepare. You may feel well-supported or lost and overwhelmed. Stress and perinatal mood disturbances are common and can begin any time during or after pregnancy. Pregnancy can be a time of emotional vulnerability due to the many biological and hormonal changes happening in the body.  For this reason and others, many of the women that I work with experience stress and anxiety during pregnancy and following pregnancy.  Mindfulness is a powerful coping tool that can help alleviate stress and anxiety in the general population and for mothers during pregnancy. But how does mindfulness work? What evidence is there that mindfulness can be used during pregnancy?

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Mindfulness

Mindfulness

Mindfulness has shown a lot of promise in reducing stress and improving overall mood. Therapies that connect the mind and body allow an individual to be more cognizant of present experiences, such as bodily sensations, thoughts and feelings. The practice of mindfulness focuses on increasing a person’s awareness of the present moment in a manner that is free from judgment, self-evaluation and distraction. But how exactly does mindfulness work? How can someone use it inside and outside of therapy?

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Maternal Mental Illness Impacts Everyone: The Struggle for Partners

Maternal Mental Illness Impacts Everyone: The Struggle for Partners

This past weekend 2020 Mom, in partnership with the March of Dimes, launched March for Moms®, a walk to raise awareness for maternal mental health and related disorders, including depression and anxiety. On Sunday, marches were held throughout the country in support of mothers and their families. While the walk was open to all survivors, families, supporters and health care providers, very few fathers were present. My husband noticed this as he sat blowing up balloons with maternal health statistics printed on them. As I looked around at the many women and their children, I did notice the absence of men. Where are all the dads?

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Celebrities Share Their Struggles in Motherhood

Celebrities Share Their Struggles in Motherhood

Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) is one of the leading complications related to childbearing; however, is often under disclosed and under diagnosed. While there are certainly improvements to be made in the medical and professional communities, many mothers do not share their symptoms with professionals or even family members. Why is it that mothers who may be suffering from depression or anxiety are reluctant to come forward and receive help?

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Prepared for Anything? What You Need to Know About Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders

Prepared for Anything? What You Need to Know About Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders

As a new mother, you are prepared for tons of dirty diapers, multiple loads of laundry, middle of the night feedings, and many new responsibilities that come with parenting. But are you prepared for the possibility of depression and anxiety?

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Social Work Month

Social Work Month

March is social work month. While the month celebrates the contributions and hard work of social workers across the nation, it also provides the opportunity to clarify what it means to be a social worker. There is often a misconception about what social workers do. Why is there such a misunderstanding about social workers?

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The Power of Shared Experiences: Shifts in the World & in the Room

The Power of Shared Experiences: Shifts in the World & in the Room

Last Thursday, thousands of Yemeni bodega workers and fellow supporters protested again Trump's "Muslim Ban". This occurred right outside of my therapy office. My clients passed  by protesters on their way to our session and many expressed feelings of sadness, admiration, fear, powerlessness, bravery, anger and vulnerability. I found myself also mirroring some of these emotions.  

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What is Depression and How Can It Be Treated?

What is Depression and How Can It Be Treated?

Sadness is a normal human emotion that we experience in response to painful or upsetting events. Different then depression, sadness is temporary and goes away with time. 

Depression is a long-term mental state that impairs social, occupational or other important areas of functioning. It affects 1 out of 20 adults yearly. If left untreated, symptoms of depression can last for months or even years. 

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The Burden of Anxiety

The Burden of Anxiety

Individuals suffering from anxiety describe it as a constant burden they are forced to carry with them. Anxiety can feel like an invasion of intrusive thoughts and a  racing heart. Anxiety disorders, including panic attacks, chronic worry, social phobia, postpartum anxiety and generalized anxiety disorder, are difficult to overcome. Therapy can help reduce anxiety symptoms by identifying anxiety-based triggers and increasing coping skills.  

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New Year's Resolutions

New Year's Resolutions

With New Year’s around the corner many people are talking about their New Year’s resolutions. The New Year is traditionally a time to stop and reflect on the previous year. New Year’s resolutions are a popular way to approach self-improvement goals. However, six-months into the New Year more than half of resolvers have fallen off track. With all the practice we get at making resolutions year after year, why aren't we doing better at keeping them?

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Pregnancy Brain: Not What You Think

Pregnancy Brain: Not What You Think

It is obvious to state that during pregnancy the body goes through many physical and hormonal changes. Yet little is known about how pregnancy affects the brain. There is new research that suggests women’s brain structures changes during and after pregnancy. A first-of-its kind study, looked at brain scans of women before and shortly after pregnancy and found that the volume of grey matter in certain parts of the brain decreased in women who were or had been pregnant—these structural changes were found to last for at least two-years. 

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Incorporating Calm

Incorporating Calm

When you are stressed, your body goes into what is called a “fight or flight” response to prepare to confront or avoid danger.  Even day-to-day events can provoke a stress response, and can cause health problems, suppressed immune system, anxiety and depression.  Yet not all stress is bad.  When appropriately invoked, stress can help you rise to many challenges.  There are a number of steps you can take to incorporate calm and live a less stressed lifestyle.  Research shows, for example, that the psychological and physical benefits of exercise can help to decrease depression, reduce anxiety and improve overall mood. 

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Determinants of Good Health

Determinants of Good Health

As a women’s health therapist and of course, as a woman, I have always been interested in women’s health, specifically what contributes to good overall health. When we think of women’s health, we tend to focus on a woman’s physical health, such as the biological structures (think: female anatomy and reproduction); the hormonal conditions, specific to women (menstruation and menopause), and life events (pregnancy and childbirth). However, a woman’s health is not exclusive to her biological and hormonal symptoms, it also includes social determinants that contribute to good health and mental health.

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Searching For Connection

Searching For Connection

People are always searching for connection.  As a society, we are very connected— our phones alert us to the very latest news and events; social media provides constant connection to our friends and acquaintances; and we are always a text message away from our loved ones. When meeting new people, we often connect with others over common interests and likes. But connection looks very different in the therapy.

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Where Should I Start?

Where Should I Start?

I thought the topic of “starting” would be fitting for my first blog post. In therapy, sometimes the most difficult thing is just to get started (doesn’t that sound similar to the writing process?) People make the decision that they need to change. They decide that want to seek professional help. Maybe they even get a therapy referral from a friend or colleague. But then there is the hurdle of actually getting started.

 

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