2021: What Kind of Year Will You Create for Yourself?

Traditionally, at the end of the year, we talk about making resolutions. What are the things we want to do to change our lives? We make a list and start out with good intentions, but within 30 days that list has usually gone into the garbage pail. It’s not that we don’t have a desire to change, it is that the list is too long, not prioritized, and we haven’t figured out the “why,” the real reason we want to do those things.    But after a year like 2020, a year of a presidential … [Read more...]

Getting Through the Winter & Holiday Blues

As we get closer to Christmas, with the days shorter, darker and colder, many people feel anxious or blue. With the COVID pandemic imposing a layer of isolation on top of those feelings, the experience of being down or lonely can turn into depression.    While there is no cure-all for feelings of sadness and a sense of loss, there are things that you can do to hang on to some emotional balance during this difficult season.   Watch what you eat. Enjoy the foods that you … [Read more...]

Video Therapy vs. In-Person Therapy

Many clients have asked whether video therapy or telehealth virtual therapy sessions are considered as effective as therapy that is done in person.     I have expressed that I would prefer to see their entire faces on a screen than to be in-person in an office and only be able to see their eyes since mask-wearing is required. Facial expressions, especially smiling, frowning, or looking sad, are key elements of understanding what a client is feeling. Being hidden behind a mask and sitting at … [Read more...]

Coping with the “What If” of Anxious Thinking (Part 1)

    We all play the “what if” game at some time.  What if I miss the train, what if my mom forgets to pick me up, what if I fail my test, what if I don’t get asked to the prom.  At different ages, different kinds of “what if” thinking are more prominent. What if I don’t get the promotion, what if something bad happens to my children, what if I don’t count my bites of food and something happens to me. But when “what if “thinking paralyzes people, it keeps them from truly living their lives. When … [Read more...]

GRATITUDE

   Thanks to Tara Parker-Pope for this eloquently worded statement of gratitude. I too give thanks to all of the people whose names I do not know, who made my life easier during the pandemic. And thanks also to the friends and family who were there virtually and in-person whose support was invaluable. Stay safe and healthy everyone. "GRATITUDE: I want to close this newsletter with an expression of gratitude to all the people who have helped us cope this year. Let’s start with our health care … [Read more...]

Alone On Thanksgiving Day?

  Whether you are alone because your family lives far away or because the COVID-19 pandemic prevents you from being together, it is important to think about how you want the Thanksgiving holiday to go. For many single individuals, who make up about a third of all households, Thanksgiving (and Christmas or Chanukah) can feel gloomy or sad if there is no one to share it with. It is hard to ignore all those family scenes in commercials, and joyous songs just don’t make up for a shared meal and hugs … [Read more...]

How to Communicate Better with People You Care About – Part 2

    In the previous blog, I talked about some simple rules for better communication, like avoiding old history and labeling. Today, I Want to add some more complex guidelines that are really useful when trying to navigate a difficult situation with someone you care about. It goes without saying that someone will be more receptive to hearing what you say if you keep your body language open and welcoming. How you look to others tells them how willing you are to communicate. If your arms are … [Read more...]

Advice for Living

Recently I read an article, originally written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which was adapted from her book My Own Words. She wrote about the advice she was given that helped her in her personal and professional life, and as I read it, I thought “She could have been a psychologist talking to a patient.” Or a parent talking to a child, or a teacher talking to a student.  Her words were directed at women and men and were full of common sense, yet focused enough to be inspiring.  Here is a … [Read more...]

Helping Your Anxious Child When School Re-Opens

For children who already struggled with anxiety, the Covid-19 pandemic has added another layer of worries. And for those kids who were not worriers, this time being home-bound may have started them on some fears that we never anticipated. For both groups, however, going back to school may have caused similar concerns. Recently, a middle-school child told me, “I can’t imagine wearing a mask for hours! At least at home, I don’t have to wear one. And when we go out, I only have to wear it for a … [Read more...]

How to Communicate Better with People You Care About – Part 1

Recently I was asked to give a talk about how people can communicate better with one another.  I was searching my files and found a handout that I have used in my practice for years.  It is called The Ten Commandments of Clean Communication.  It was given to me by a former mentor, and it has no attribution on it, so I don’t know if she wrote it herself, or if it came from a book she read many years ago.  As I looked it over, I thought it was the best set of communication guidelines I have seen, … [Read more...]