Licensed Psychologist

The Changing Reasons Why Women Cheat on Their Husbands

A link to an article on CNN.com. One of the more interesting facts in Esther Perel's new book, State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity, comes near the beginning. Since 1990, notes the psychoanalyst and writer, the rate of married women who report they've been unfaithful has increased by 40 percent, while the rate among men has remained the same. More women than ever are cheating, she tells us, or are willing to admit that they are cheating -- and while Perel spends much of her book examining the psychological meaning, motivation, and impact of these affairs, she offers little insight into the significance of the rise itself. Read the full article...

Managing Traumatic Stress: Dealing with the Hurricanes from Afar

Originally published by the American Psychological Association Even if you were not directly affected by the hurricanes, you may be distressed from watching images of the destruction and worrying about people’s who lives have been turned upside down. This can be especially true if a relative or loved one was affected by the disaster. APA offers the following suggestions for managing your hurricane-related distress:
  • Take a news break. Watching  endless replays of footage from the disasters can make your stress even greater. Although  you'll want to keep informed - especially  if you have loved ones affected by the disasters  -  take a break from watching  the news.
  • Acknowledge your feelings. Some feelings when witnessing a disaster may be difficult for you to accept. You may feel relief that the disaster  did not touch you, or you may feel guilt that you were left untouched  when so many were affected. Both feelings are common.
  • Keep things in perspective.  While the disaster can feel overwhelming, it is important to appreciate those things that continue  to be positive and a source of well-being and strength.
  • Find a productive way to help if you can. Many organizations are set up to provide  financial or other aid to victims of natural disasters. Contributing enables you to participate in the recovery and engage proactively.
  • Control what you can. There are routines in your life that you can continue and sometimes you need to do those and take a break from even thinking about the disasters.

How Do I Know If I Need Therapy?

Originally Published by the American Psychological Association Most of us face struggles at some point in our lives. These struggles may include stress at work, difficulty with a romantic partner, or problems with a family member. Alternatively, struggles may include emotional symptoms such as depression or anxiety, behavioral problems such as having difficulty throwing useless items away or drinking alcohol too often, and cognitive symptoms such as repetitive upsetting thoughts or uncontrolled worry. Sometimes, life's struggles can be eased by taking better care of yourself and perhaps talking about the issues with a supportive friend or family member. But there may be times when these steps don't resolve the issue. When this happens, it makes sense to consider seeking the help of a qualified licensed psychologist. How do you know if therapy is needed? Two general guidelines can be helpful when considering whether you or someone you love could benefit from therapy. First, is the problem distressing? And second, is it interfering with some aspect of life? When thinking about distress, here are some issues to consider:
  • Do you or someone close to you spend some amount of time every week thinking about the problem?
  • Is the problem embarrassing, to the point that you want to hide from others?
  • Over the past few months, has the problem reduced your quality of life?
When thinking about interference, some other issues may deserve consideration:
  • Does the problem take up considerable time (e.g., more than an hour per day)?
  • Have you curtailed your work or educational ambitions because of the problem?
  • Are you re-arranging your lifestyle to accommodate the problem?
A ‘yes’ response to any of these questions suggests that you might wish to consider seeking professional help. Remember that sometimes a problem might be less upsetting to you than it is to the people around you. This does not automatically mean that you are in the know and your friends or family are over-reacting to you. Rather, this situation suggests that you may wish to think about why the people who care about you are upset. Clearly, the decision to enter into therapy is a very personal one. Numerous advances have been made in the treatment of psychological disorders in the past decade and many therapies have been shown scientifically to be helpful. As you think about whether therapy might be helpful to you, remember that many psychological problems have been shown to be treatable using short-term therapy approaches. Learning more about different approaches to therapy might also help you to discern if one of them sounds like a good fit with your personality and approach to life. Given the range of therapeutic options that are available, you don‘t need to continue to struggle with a problem that is upsetting and/or getting in the way of other parts of your life. Help is available.

The Walking Wounded

From the January 2013 Monitor on Psychology by Dr. Siri Carpenter:

Excerpt: "Tempted to read just one more email before you sleep?  Don't.  New research finds that not getting enough sleep - whether because of our insatiable desire for digital media or more traditional sleep disturbances - has far-reaching effects on physical and psychological health." Read the full article.

Containment in Relationships

While the vicissitudes of ordinary discourse in relationships may be easy for many of us, this is by no means the case for everyone. What can we make of the times when words are not treated as simply the best tools we’ve come up with for communicating our private experiences to others, but instead serve as triggers in relationships- triggers that can lead one to feel quite threatened or to feel the need to marshal whatever defenses may be available in one’s arsenal? What can we do when seemingly ordinary attempts at communication lead to feelings of humiliation, woundedness, or unbidden vulnerability? Unfortunate circumstances such as a history of trauma in relationships, bullying, or chronic humiliation are only a few of the things that can lead a person to feel a sense of danger about making contact with another person’s point of view. Rather than experiencing another’s perspective as food for thought, an opportunity for meaningful reflection or increased intimacy, or helpful feedback about one’s interaction with the external world- those of us wounded by past traumas may at times experience others’ ideas as weapons of destruction that can lead to painful and concrete outcomes such as disruptions in the ability to think, the visceral experience of being slapped in the face, a rush of adrenaline or “out of control” emotion, or even physiological distress/illness. And since meaningful relationships typically require a level of communication that involves a regular open exchange between oneself and others, relationships can be a minefield for those who experience the other person’s mind as a potential source of danger and distress. This is, of course, not only difficult for the one who feels so raw to the other’s impact, but is also difficult for the partner or loved one in relationship with such a person. It is certainly not easy to speak freely of one’s impressions, needs, or observations- only to have this easy conversational flow be treated as an act of aggression or a threat. It is also not easy to be on the receiving end of defenses such as rage, counter-attack, or distance and withdrawal. And so, the fate of a conversation between two partners very much depends on each person’s ability (not just willingness!) to hear and take in the other’s communications without feeling unduly threatened, as well as each partner’s ability to accommodate to the other’s capacities (or lack of capacity) to do the same. One partner may need to learn how to tone down a sense of reactivity to the other’s communications; the other may need to figure out how to speak in a way that will expand his loved one’s tenuous ability to hear and to be aware. Whether it’s feedback about oneself that is felt to be painful; awareness of the other’s needs, separateness, or vulnerability; or even perhaps just the unknown of what we may come to feel, know, or remember when talking with another, finding ways to help the people we love most be able to stretch their capacities to listen and to know, is often a task left to the one who is perhaps a little less wounded- or vulnerable- in the moment. (And of course the one who finds himself positioned in the more vulnerable position can shift from one minute to the next!) So, how do we take some of the sting out of talking, thinking, and listening? One of my favorite techniques is the simple one of “asking permission”. By the simple act of asking another’s permission before we offer our thoughts, we avoid catching the person off-guard; we give the other a sense of healthy control; and we create a sense of receptivity which can open up space for our words can to enter willingly and gently, rather than by force. We can also communicate in ways that allow the other to “save face”, whether it’s during a shared parallel activity (like cooking together in the kitchen) or while sitting side by side (in the car, for example), easing the pressure often demanded by direct face to face communication. We might use metaphor, stories about our own selves, or open-ended comments that reduce the sense of threat that the other may experience from a more direct communication. Perhaps the best gift we can give another is to simply hold stuff inside ourselves until the other is truly ready for us to share it. Processing and containing our own thoughts, feelings, and perspective until the time seems right to “put it out there”, can give those we love the much needed space they may need in order to heal from past assaults and impingements to their own sense of self and integrity of being…allowing them slowly to trust that inviting in another may actually be a rewarding experience rather than a threatening one. Is this a gift you can give to those who need it most? Originally posted on Goldstein Therapy- Clifton, NJ

What Our Body Does in a Day

Sometimes you may feel like your body is beginning to creak and fail you on the outside, but do you ever stop to consider the incredible work that is taking place inside of it? There is so much going on and everything fits together so well, that it's almost impossible to comprehend it. This presentation will remind you that there are miracles going on inside your body every single day.

What Steve Jobs Wrote Days Before He Died

Read what Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple software, wrote days before he died: "I reached the pinnacle of success in the business world. In others’ eyes, my life is an epitome of success. However, aside from work, I have little joy. In the end, wealth is only a fact of life that I am accustomed to. At this moment, lying on the sick bed and recalling my whole life, I realize that all the recognition and wealth that I took so much pride in, have paled and become meaningless in the face of impending death. In the darkness, I look at the green lights from the life supporting machines and hear the humming mechanical sounds, I can feel the breath of God and of death drawing closer. Now I know, when we have accumulated sufficient wealth to last our lifetime, we should pursue other matters that are unrelated to wealth... Should be something that is more important: Perhaps relationships, perhaps art, perhaps a dream from younger days... Non-stop pursuing of wealth will only turn a person into a twisted being, just like me. God gave us the senses to let us feel the love in everyone’s heart, not the illusions brought about by wealth. The wealth I have won in my life I cannot bring with me. What I can bring is only the memories precipitated by love."
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