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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Psychotherapy and Spirituality

Searching for Meaning and Purpose
During this holiday season, amid the noise and haste, it's the time of year when many people search for meaning and purpose in their lives . Some people approach these questions through their spiritual practice. Others consult with psychotherapists. And many use both their spiritual practice and their psychotherapy sessions to explore these important questions. Psychotherapy and spirituality approach these existential questions in different ways . And yet, there is significant overlap between psychotherapy and spiritual questions.

Psychotherapy and Spirituality:  Searching for Meaning and Purpose
People usually go to psychotherapists when they're in emotional pain. It might be an immediate crisis, a longstanding problem, grief, loss or trauma that brings them to a psychotherapist office. Whatever the initial problem might be, often, questions about the meaning and purpose of their lives becomes a part of the treatment. Most people want to feel they're leading meaningful lives, and when they're in emotional crisis, doubts and fears can arise about the direction of their lives. If they're in a particularly difficult life transition, they might question their goals and priorities. The loss of a loved one can test their faith in themselves, humankind, and their God or Higher Power.

Psychotherapy and spirituality both address these issues. As a psychotherapist, I help clients to navigate through these complex and vital questions. As I see it, part of the psychotherapist's job is to help clients to search for and find meaning in their lives. Just living from day to day without purpose or meaning isn't satisfying for most people. Yet, finding purpose and meaning can be elusive. Although emotional crisis can throw us off balance, it can also open us up to new possibilities, including transitions that help us define who we are as individuals and who we want to be.

When I refer to spirituality, I use that term in its broadest sense. For some people, spirituality means a formal religion. For others, it might be the sense of transcendence they feel in nature, music, art, their A.A. meetings or the love they feel for their families or for humankind. However you define spirituality, what all of these things have in common is they give us a sense that there's something greater than ourselves that we're responding to and from which we feel nurtured.

A Purpose-Filled Life
As I see it, it doesn't matter how each of us defines our particular spirituality because, however we see it, the root of it is the same. A purpose-filled life is a life with meaning, hope and direction. It provides us with an internal compass to help us during troubled times. As a psychotherapist, I often help people to find or reclaim their purpose in life. Many clients come to me to explore transpersonal questions in their lives. For some, they're searching for a way to express their yearning for spirituality that might be different from what they might have grown up with as children. Or, they might want to reclaim the spirituality they grew up with, but explore their beliefs as adults with an adult understanding to spiritual questions. As a psychotherapist who is not a minister or spiritual leader, my job isn't to lead them in any particular spiritual direction. Rather, my job as a psychotherapist, is to help them to find the answers within themselves, whatever they might be.

A Purpose Filled Life
During the early days of Freudian psychoanalysis, in my opinion, a false dichotomy developed between psychotherapy and spirituality. I think that was very unfortunate. However, more and more, psychotherapists who work in a more client-centered, contemporary way are seeing that there is significant overlap between psychotherapy and spirituality. A holistic approach to psychotherapy includes an understanding that mind, body and spirit come together in each person, even though they are expressed in many different ways and on different paths.

I believe psychotherapists can be instrumental in helping clients find meaning and purpose in their lives. Psychotherapists can also learn a great deal by listening to clients as they explore these existential questions.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist. I work with individuals and couples. My approach is holistic, and I emphasize the mind-body connection. I provide psychotherapeutic services, including psychodynamic psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, EMDR, hypnosis, and Somatic Experiencing.


To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006.


photo credit: Preconscious Eye via photopin cc

photo credit: leesean via photopin cc



Friday, December 9, 2011

Relationships: Confusing Sexual Attraction with Love

Confusing Sexual Attraction with Love
During the early stage of a romantic relationship, many people confuse sexual attraction for being in love. Sexual attraction can be so strong during the initial part of a dating relationship that you can get swept away by the power of these feelings and believe yourself to be in love. This is certainly not to say that you can't be both sexually attracted and also genuinely love someone. But the point is that, whereas sexual attraction can occur in a second, mature love develops over time.

Confusing Sexual Attraction with Love
Starting a Relationship Based Only on Sexual Attraction
Often, people start a relationship based on the heady feelings of sexual attraction--believing that they love each other. This isn't a solid foundation for a relationship. When the sexual passion begins to wear off a little, these people often find they either have little in common or that their feelings aren't strong enough to sustain the inevitable ups and downs of a mature relationship.

Learning to Distinguish Between Love and Lust


Learning to Distinguish Between Love and Lust
It takes time to get to know one another. I often tell individual clients and couples that it can take at least two years of dating to get to know each other well enough to know if you're compatible enough to be in a relationship. It's right around that time that the initial heady, sexual attraction decreases somewhat (as compared to the initial passion). So, being aware of this, it makes sense to take your time to get to know one another.  Over time, you learn to distinguish what might only be lust from love.

This helps you to avoid making life plans with someone you don't really love and the disappointment you might feel when the sexual attraction begins to wane.

Sexual attractions can be fun. Often, love can develop from these sexual attractions. We can't always know in advance when this will occur. There are also many couples who develop deep feelings of mature love who also maintain the passion in their relationships. This is a wonderful thing! Many other couples need to make more of an effort to maintain that sexual passion, but that's a subject for another blog post.

Be Aware, Be Patient, Allow Things to Unfold and Develop 

Be Patient and Allow Things to Unfold and Develop
The point is that, early on, we want to be aware that strong feelings for someone at the beginning are not the basis for a committed relationship. Be patient and allow things to develop and unfold before making a commitment. In the long run, you'll be glad that you took your time.

I'm a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR therapist, and Somatic Experiencing therapist.  I work with individuals and couples.


To find out more about me, visit my websiteJosephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist


To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006.




photo credit: studio.es via photopin cc

photo credit: chantel beam photography via photopin cc

photo credit: Millzero Photography via photopin cc


Perfection vs "Good Enough"

Are you a perfectionist? Do you stress yourself out trying to do things perfectly? Do you feel like you've "failed" unless the things you do are 100% what you think they should be? 

Are you imposing these perfectionist standards on your loved ones? If you've said "yes" to these questions, it would probably be helpful for you to stop and consider what's driving you to have such perfectionistic standards for yourself and others before you exhaust yourself and alienate your loved ones.


"Good Enough" Might be More than Adequate
What's Causing You to Strive for Perfection?
If you tend to be a perfectionist, you might want to stop and ask yourself what's causing you to strive for such unrealistic standards. For some people, a deep sense of inadequacy can drive them relentlessly to push for higher and higher standards--no matter what the issue is or the cost.

"Good Enough" Might Be More than Adequate
But in certain situations "good enough" is more than adequate without driving yourself crazy. Of course, everyone has their own ideas about what's "good enough."

If you're a perfectionist, only perfection might be "good enough." When you're trying to change this pattern, it will take a lot of practice and, possibly, a reality check from people you trust to let you know if you're still pushing yourself for perfection.

Hiding Behind Perfectionism
Often, a need to be "perfect" hides a sense of "I'm not good enough."

Once you stop trying to be perfect, some of these feelings of inadequacy might come to the surface. This is usually difficult to overcome on your own.

Getting Help
If you're struggling with being a perfectionist, you could benefit from working with a licensed mental health professional who can help you overcome these deep seated issues.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR therapist, and Somatic Experiencing therapist.  I work with individuals and couples.


To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist


To set up a consultation, call me (212) 726-1006.

Also, see my article:  Overcoming Perfectionism


photo credit: Jose Luis Mieza Photography  via photopin cc

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Recovery: Staying Sober During the Holidays

Staying sober during the holidays can be challenging.  Holiday parties and family gatherings often include alcoholic beverages. Also, the stress of the holidays can be trigger cravings to drink. But with some forethought and planning, you can help ensure that you continue along a positive path in your recovery.

Recovery: Staying Sober During the Holidays
Plan Head to Maintain Your Sobriety
If you're aware that you're going to be facing situations where you'll be tempted to drink and compromise your sobriety, you can plan for these situations by being more diligent in your recovery efforts.

Attending Extra A.A. Meetings
During the holiday season, it's a good idea to attend extra Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, even if you have many years of sobriety.

It's easy to become complacent during this time of year by underestimating the challenges and overestimating your ability to overcome temptations to drink.

Also, maintaining regular contact with your sponsor during the holidays can help you to avoid relapsing. It's often a good idea to "bookend" a challenging event, like a party where alcohol will be served, by planning in advance to speak to your sponsor before and after the event. Knowing that you'll have extra support can help you avoid picking up a drink.

Beware of "Stinking Thinking"
It's also important to be aware that "stinking thinking" can creep up on you during the holidays. An example of "stinking thinking" is when you tell yourself, "I can handle just one drink."

This is also a form of denial. When we want to convince ourselves that we can handle situations that are, in reality, beyond our control, it's easy to lull ourselves into a false sense of reality. Being aware in advance of this possibility, you can avoid falling into this trap.

Recovery: Staying Sober During the Holidays

If You Relapse Get Back on Track
But what if, despite your best efforts, you relapse? Is everything lost? The answer, in most cases is a resounding "no." Rather than engaging in "black and white" or "all or nothing" thinking, make positive efforts to get back on track.

By getting in touch with your sponsor, attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, or calling someone from the A.A. meeting list, you can get yourself back on track and avoid having your relapse turn into a protracted slide.

By being aware, admitting to yourself that holiday season can be challenging to your recovery, and taking positive action to maintain your recovery, you help to ensure that you'll have a safe and more satisfying holiday.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR therapist, and Somatic Experiencing therapist.


To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist


To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or email me: josephineolivia@aol.com.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Mindful Eating During the Holidays

The holiday season can be a challenging time for managing stress and overeating. In this blog post, I'll be focusing on how to eat mindfully and avoid overeating.

Why Do We Overeat During the Holidays?
One of the reasons that we tend to overeat during the holidays is that there's so often much more food around us during this time. If we work in an office, there are office parties with cakes, cookies, chips and many other types of high caloric foods. Family gatherings also have many of the same types of calorie-laden foods. It's so easy to fill up our plates and gorge ourselves on heaps of food without even realizing.

Mindful Eating, Instead of Overeating, During the Holidays

Whether we're stuffing ourselves out of anxiety, loneliness or other uncomfortable emotions or we're distracted by our conversations with others, it's very easy to overeat without realizing it. Considering that we can often attend several parties, dinners or other social gatherings over the holidays, we can end up gaining a lot of weight around the holidays.

So what's the answer? Should we avoid all social gatherings until the holidays are over? Should we starve ourselves and avoid eating until the holidays are over? Clearly, these aren't practical strategies. So what should we do? One viable strategy is to eat mindfully.

What is "Mindful Eating"?
What do we mean by "mindful eating"? Well, mindful eating means eating with awareness. Rather than being distracted while we eat or zoned out, we deliberately choose what and how much we're eating and thoroughly enjoy it. Rather than completely depriving ourselves, which often leads to overeating when we feel too deprived, we carefully choose our food, appreciating the color, texture, aroma, and all the other sensual aspects of the food. When we place the food in our mouths, we enjoy the taste and feel of the food, slowing down to thoroughly appreciate everything about it.

Beware of "Trigger" Foods
If there are certain "trigger" foods that we know will lead to our overeating, we make conscious choices about these foods. So, for one person, having one potato chip often leads to eating 50. To another person, having one piece of chocolate could mean eating half a box. We have to be honest with ourselves and aware of our eating patterns. If we know that we tend to overeat certain foods and we're more vulnerable to do so over the holidays, we might decide to avoid those foods and substitute others in their place.

Remember the Meaning of the Holidays
The other factor to keep in mind is that the holidays are about more than food and overeating. If we're fortunate, the holidays are about getting together with loved ones, remembering those who are less fortunate than ourselves and the spiritual significance of the holidays if that's meaningful to you.

So, rather than focusing on food, it's more meaningful to focus on the meaning of the particular holiday. Even if you're alone for the holidays and you're not part of an organized religion, you can have a meaningful experience for yourself and make the holiday brighter for others by volunteering your time over the holidays.

This could mean joining a carolling group at a local hospital, serving food at a local homeless drop-in center, visiting a home bound elderly neighbor, or countless other volunteer activities that are available to you over the holidays and throughout the year. Participating in any of these activities has the potential to expand ourawareness of the meaning of the holidays.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR therapist and Somatic Experiencing therapist. As part of my therapeutic work with individuals and couples, I use mindfulness techniques.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Healing Power of Clinical Hypnosis

As a hypnotherapist in NYC, I have worked with many clients who have come for smoking cessation, trauma, phobias, and creative endeavors of all kinds. Hypnotherapy is often successful because it works on a much deeper level than talk therapy. Clinical hypnosis helps you to access your unconscious mind where you can make changes on a much deeper level.

A Relaxed State of Dual Awareness 
When you are in a hypnotic trance, you're in a state of dual awareness: You're in a relaxed state and aware of everything around you at the same time.

You're in Control When You're in the Hypnotic State
You're in complete control. If you needed to, at any time, you could come out of the hypnotic trance.

An Upward Spiral
One of the things that's interesting about hypnosis is that, often, when you make one change in your life, it often leads to an upward spiral in other areas of your life.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, Somatic Experiencing therapist, and EMDR therapist.  I work with individuals and couples.

To find out more about hypnosis, visit the ASCH website:
 ASCH - American Society of Clinical Hypnosis

To find out more about me, visit my website:  
Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist & Hypnotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Relationships: Knowing When to Stay and When to Go

Knowing when to stay and try to work things out versus when to end a relationship can be challenging, especially when there have been longstanding problems. Often, people feel they've invested so much in the relationship that they want to do everything they can before giving up. But, for many of these relationships, both people feel they've exhausted their internal resources and they don't know what to do to make things better. They might flounder for months or years in an emotional stalemate.

Relationships: When to Stay and When to Go

Staying for the Sake of the Children?
Many people decide that even though the relationship no longer works for either of them, they will stay together for the sake of the children. This rarely works. I've had many adults clients tell me in their psychotherapy sessions that they wish their parents had divorced rather than staying together for the sake of the family. Usually, they say that they and their siblings sensed that something was wrong between their parents, even though the parents thought they were hiding it well. This creates a great deal of tension in the household with the parents attempting to keep their problems a secret and the children feeling confused about what they're sensing.

Relationships: When to Go and When to Leave.  Staying Together for the Children?

Wanting to Escape When Things Get Tough
There are those people who tend to want to escape from relationships when things get rough. Often, they haven't learned the necessary skills to stick with it and work through normal, everyday problems. Most of the time, these people didn't grow up in families where they saw good communication and problem solving modeled so they're at loss about what to do.

Relationships: When to Stay and When to Leave.  Escaping When Things Get Tough

Staying Because You're Afraid of Being Alone
Other people are on the other end of the spectrum: They don't know when the relationship has run its course. They keep trying to salvage the relationship, even when nothing works any more. In some cases, they fear being alone. In other cases, they don't want to feel they've "failed" in their relationship. There can be so many reasons.

When to Stay and When to Go.  Staying Because You're Afraid of Being Alone

Doing Some Soul Searching
Knowing when to stay or when to go can be daunting. It can take a lot of soul searching on your part as well as open and honest communication between you and your partner.

When to Stay and When to Go.  Doing Some Soul Searching

Needless to say, if you're going to try to work things out, both people must be willing to make the effort.

Getting Help
When you and your partner aren't sure if the relationship can be salvaged, you could benefit from seeing a couples counselor. An experienced couples counselor, who is objective, can help you and your partner sort through the current emotional stalemate to either work things out or end the relationship in an amicable way.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist who sees individuals and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at 212 726-1006.

Relationships: The Courage to Say When You've Made a Mistake

Many relationships would benefit if one or both people could admit that they made a mistake, make amends for the mistake, and then move on. Instead too many couples end up having long drawn out arguments where nothing gets resolved and both people end up feeling resentful. These are the kind of arguments that tend to erode relationships and often lead to their demise.

Relationships:  The Courage to Say When You've Made a Mistake

Many people feel that to admit a mistake is a sign of weakness. This might be due to messages they received from their family when they were growing up. But, in fact, to be able to admit you're wrong or, at least, that you had a part in creating the problem takes strength and a certain amount of faith that your spouse or partner will forgive you.
Making Amends

We all make mistakes at one time or another. That's what makes us human. Rather than get caught up in an endless cycle of making excuses or deflecting the blame, it's better for you and your relationship to acknowledge your error, apologize, and make amends.

Avoiding Power Struggles
When you're able to admit that you've made a mistake, you also make it easier for your partner to do the same. Rather than getting into power struggles, you can both rely on the sense of integrity that you each feel towards each other and the relationship to carry you through the difficulties that come in any relationship.

Getting Help
If you and your spouse have gotten to the point where you can no longer resolve arguments on your own, you might benefit from couples counseling. An experienced couples counselor can help you to improve communication between you and restore a healthier dynamic in your relationship.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR therapist, and Somatic Experiencing therapist.


To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist


To set up a consultation, call me at 212 726-1006.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Relationships: When Expressing Your Feelings Turns into Verbal Abuse

Often couples who have problems communicating with each other make the mistake of believing that expressing their feelings means they can say whatever they want, in whatever tone or volume all in the name of "being honest." 

Relationships: When Expressing Your Feelings Turns into Verbal Abuse

This distortion in reasoning often leads to an escalation in arguments and more misunderstandings.

Making Excuses for Verbal Abuse
As a psychotherapist and couples counselor in NYC, have heard people say over and over again, "I was just expressing my feelings" as a way to rationalize abusive verbal behavior. Often, the underlying intent of this "honesty", whether the person realizes it or not, is to hurt or one-up the other person.

Relationships: When Expressing Your Feelings Turns Into Verbal Abuse

Stop and Think Before You Speak
If you stop to think about what you're about to say before you say it, you can catch yourself before you become mean spirited with your spouse or partner.

There's no reason for honesty to come with a sledge hammer. It's often better to take the time to cool down and come back to the discussion later rather than saying something rash in the heat of the moment.

Then, you can focus on what you're really trying to communicate rather than getting side tracked because you're too angry to think straight.

Getting Help
Learning effective communication skills with your spouse or partner takes practice. If you find yourself falling into the same pitfalls, you might benefit from couples counseling.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR therapist, and Somatic Experiencing therapist.  I work with individuals and couples.


To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist


To set up a consultation, call me at 212 726-1006 or email me: josephineolivia@aol.com.







Home for the Holidays

Being with family for the holidays can be challenging for many people. We see images of happy families in ads, TV programs, and movies, which can leave us feeling that something is wrong with us or our families if our family doesn't measure up to these happy images. However, the holidays can be very stressful, especially if we have unrealistic expectations of our familiies or ourselves.


Home for the Holidays
Rather than putting unnecessary pressure on yourself and your family, here are a few tips to help you during these holiday get togethers:

  • Try to keep the day light. Steer clear of topics that might be contentious or that could cretate tension. This is not the time to debate politics if you know the discussion will become heated.
  • Try to have reasonable expectations of friends and family. If Uncle Bob tends to be grouchy at family gatherings, there's no reason to expect that his personality will change this year.
  • Watch your alcohol intake. Alcohol tends to amplify emotions and if you drink excessively, you might find yourself saying and doing things at the family gathering that you might regret.
  • Don't take the bait if a relative becomes difficult. Try not to personalize his or her behavior.
  • Plan in advance.  If you know in advance that a family gathering will be difficult, "book end" the visit by planning in advance to talk to a trusted friend or loved one before and after the visit so you feel supported.
  • Do keep in mind the meaning of the holiday. So, for instance, Thanksgiving is a day to acknowledge all that we have to be grateful for.
Home for the Holidays
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR therapist, and Somatic Experiencing therapist.  I work with individuals and couples.


To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at 212 726-1006.

photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc

photo credit: Scott Ableman via photopin cc

Monday, October 10, 2011

"Dialog in the Dark"

I recently attended an exhibit at the NYC South Street Seaport called "Dialog in the Dark" where for 45 minutes or so you go through the exhibit experiencing what it's like to be blind.

Of course, 45 minutes of experiencing blindness could never approximate the actual experience of being blind. But this exhibit does an amazing job, giving you a sense of what it's like.

Before you enter the exhibit, you are shown various videos about blindness and you are instructed on how to use a cane. Then, you enter into a waiting area where your blind guide, who will be leading you through the exhibit, greets you. Our guide was a wonderfully patient and upbeat man, Kerry. From the sound of our voices, he was able to identify each of the seven of us.

Then, the lights dimmed slowly and we found ourselves in total darkness. It was so dark that you can't even see your own hand in front of you--let alone the person who might be ahead or behind you. Using our canes, we listened for Kerry's voice as he directed us to move forward through an open door. He assured us that he knew every inch of the exhibit and that there was nothing to worry about--he would help us get through it.

The feeling of being totally blind and dependent upon a blind guide was surreal. Using our other senses--hearing, touch, smell--along with Kerry's help and our canes, we navigated our way through various "places," including Central Park, Fairway grocery store, the NYC subway, Times Square, and a cafe.

Although your rational mind might know that you're really in any of these "places", the exhibit is so true to life that your emotional mind and your imagination put you in those places. The "subway" felt particularly real with the sounds and motion of a moving train.

It's amazing how you can lose your sense of time when you're in total darkness and you're focusing so deeply on just trying to get from Point A to Point B.

To get a sense of what it's like to get around NYC as a blind person is truly an unforgettable experience that all adults should try. I won't give away all of the experiences in the exhibit because I highly recommend that you experience it for yourself. But one of the unique things that all of us experienced was that, by the time we were almost through the exhibit, we were each using some internal sense beyond our ordinary senses to navigate around.

Afterwards, Kerry sat with us in the "cafe" and answered questions. He told us about his own experience of losing his sight when he was a teenager. Amazingly, he was very positive and upbeat with a jovial sense of humor. We were all quite moved by him. From the reviews that I've read, there are 16 blind guides who have been trained for the NYC exhibit and it has been said that all of them are excellent.

At the end of the exhibit, the lights come back on again slowly. We were all grateful for our sight and we came away with a new appreciation for how challenging it is to get around NYC as a blind person.

If you're concerned about your safety, you're told before you enter the exhibit that they have special cameras throughout the exhibited where people are watching--just in case someone falls down or gets in trouble. But Kerry told us that thousands of people have come to the NYC exhibit as well as their exhibits around the world, and they have yet to have an incident.

This exhibit was developed by Andreas Heinecke, a German journalist and filmmaker. He was awarded the Ashoka Fellowship Award for his work as a social entrepreneur. In his 2008 TED talk, he talked about what inspired him to develop this exhibit.

To find out more about "Dialog in the Dark" and their various exhibits around the world, go to their website: http://www.dialogue-in-the-dark.com.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR therapist, and Somatic Experiencing therapist.

I work with individuals and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006.








World Mental Health Day: October 10th

Today is World Mental Health Day. World Mental Health Day is focused on creating public awareness about mental health issues around the world. The theme this year is "Investing in Mental Health".

According to the World Health Organization, many poor countries spend less than 2% on mental health. This includes war torn countries where people are severely traumatized so that people who need help badly are without resources.

To find out more about World Mental Health Day, go to the World Health Organization (WHO) website:
http://www.WHO.org.

I am a licensed psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR therapist, and Somatic Experiencing therapist in NYC.

I work with individuals and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006.

Relationships: Moving Beyond the "Blame Game"

As a psychotherapist in NYC who sees individuals and couples, I see many clients who can't move beyond the "blame game."

What is the "Blame Game"?
What I"m referring to when I discuss the "blame game" is a dynamic in a relationship where the two people involved are so busy blaming each other and deflecting attention from their own behavior in the relationship that they end up getting caught in an endless cycle of arguments where nothing is resolved. Getting caught up in the "blame game" doesn't allow you to really listen to your partner and understand what he and she is trying to tell you and, if both people are doing this, communication suffers. This type of dynamic often becomes habitual in relationships so that, no matter what the argument is, this dynamic plays out in a destructive way.

Relationships:  Moving Beyond the "Blame Game"

The first step in overcoming the "blame game" dynamic is becoming aware that this is the a style of communication that you're caught in. Both people have to be willing to develop awareness of this dysfunctional way of communicating and be willing to change it.

The following short fictionalized vignettes are examples of this "blame game" communication cycle:

Mary and Joe:
Mary can't stand it when Joe leaves his dirty plate on the counter instead of putting it in the sink. They've had countless arguments about this. She can't understand why Joe doesn't just put the dish in the sink. When she sees the dish, she calls out to Joe, who is in the living room watching TV, "How many times have I told you not to leave dirty dishes on the counter!" Inwardly, Joe feels embarrassed that he hasn't broken out of this habit, but he's annoyed that Mary is taking a superior tone with him, so rather than saying this, he shouts back sarcastically, "Oh yeah, right--like you're such a great housekeeper." From there the argument escalates to the point where Mary and Joe stop talking for a few days, and the issue remains unresolved.

Bob and Nick:
Bob opened the American Express bill and felt a jolt in his stomach when he saw the amount owed. Just last month, he and Nick had agreed to cut back on their expenses because they were living beyond their means and Bob's position as an adjunct professor was not secure. Bob approached Nick with the credit card bill and said, "We've talked about this before--we've got to cut back on our expenses. Look at this bill." Nick took a look at the bill and noticed that they both had charged bigl ticket items, "Well, I see that you've run up the bill as much as I have, so don't blame me." Bob responded, "But you know that I had extra expenses last month and everything that's on there was necessary." Feeling increasingly annoyed, Nick snapped back, "Are you saying that your needs are more important than mine?" From there, the conversation spiraled down. Instead of having a constructive conversation about how they can work together to deal with the problem, neither of them listened to each other and each one continued to blame the other.

Susan and Betty:
Susan and Betty are expecting Susan's parents for the holidays. They both find her parents difficult to deal with. Instead of discussing how they can work together to deal with this holiday stressor, they get into an argument as soon as Betty sees the email from Susan's parents about when they plan to arrive. Betty puts on a long face when she reads the email and says, "I really wish your parents would stay home this year. Can't you make some excuse so they don't come?" Feeling defensive, Susan says, "I know they're annoying, but they're still my parents. And you don't help the situation by sulking when they're around." Betty responds, "Well, why don't you do something about it? It's your fault--you allow them to come each year." From there, rather than discussing the situation openly and trying to come up with a solution that would be mutually agreeable, they end up pointing fingers at one another.

The "Blame Game" Doesn't Work
In the three scenarios above, we see that each person is so busy accusing the other person and defending him or herself that the issue isn't addressed directly. Instead, they get caught up in blaming one another and they move further and further away from trying to work out the problem.

Very often, in longstanding relationships, couples have a long history of engaging in this type of dynamic and they can bring up other unrelated and hurtful things to get back at their partner. If this goes on long enough, it becomes the predominant pattern for communicating--to the point where each person dreads bringing up issues, knowing that the discussion will devolve quickly.

Fair Fighting: Speaking from Your Own Experience
One of the principles of fair fighting in a relationship is that each person speak from their own experience rather than blaming the other person. So, for instance, in the scenario between Susan and Betty, rather than responding to Susan's parents' email by making a face and blaming Susan, Betty could have found a quiet, calm time to speak with Susan to tell her that her parents' visits make her uncomfortable and she's anticipating that there will be problems. Since Betty would be speaking from her own experience, Susan is less likely to get defensive. She might even feel free to admit that her parents can be difficult. From there, they could talk about what they would like to do, with each of them listening to what the other has to say.

Getting Help
There are times when the "blame game" pattern of communicating is so ingrained in a relationship that it's too difficult for the couple to change on their own. They might need the help of a couples or marriage counselor to help them to overcome this problem.

If you and your partner are caught up in the "blame game," acknowledge that this is what's happening in your relationship and have a heart-to-heart talk about how this is adversely affecting your relationship. If you can't work it out on your own, seek the help of a licensed mental health professional who works with couples before it's too late.

I am a licensed psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR therapist, and SE therapist in NYC. I work with individuals and couples. I have helped many couples to overcome the "blame game" dynamic in their relationship.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or email me: josephineolivia@aol.com.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Friendship: When to Give Advice and When to Just Listen

As adults, we've all been in the position, at one time or another, when we hear from a friend who is upset about a personal situation or a situation at work. It is sometimes difficult to know when our friends just need a sounding board, when we should give advice and when we should refrain from giving advice.


Friendship:  When to Give Advice and When to Just Listen
Our Natural Inclination is that We Want to Help Friends
For most of us, our natural inclination is to try to help our friends, if we can. When a friend is upset, it's especially tempting to rush in with advice because we want to relieve the friend's suffering or offer comfort. But, without realizing it, we might be stepping into a very tricky situation, especially if the friend is calling about problems in his or her relationship. Although there are no hard and fast rules about this, there are some steps that we can take to ensure that, in the long run, we don't end up causing resentment later on or even ruining the friendship.

Ask Your Friend What She Needs
The first step that we can follow, after we have listened empathically to our friend's problems, is to ask what he or she is looking for from us. This might sound so simple, but in a situation where someone close to us is upset, it's easy to forget and lose sight of this. Now, you might say that if your friend is calling you and he or she is upset, of course, your friend is looking for advice. But this isn't always the case, and if you rush in, you might discover that you've misunderstood and you're not at all on your friend's wavelength.

By asking, we're letting our friend know that we want to be helpful in a way that is meaningful to him or her. We're not making any assumptions about what our friend needs or wants--no matter how long we've been friends or how well we think we know the friend. In a moment of upset, our friend might not be able to say what he or she needs, but this question can help him or her to clarify and organize his or her thoughts to be able to reflect on what's needed at that point.

Does Your Friend Want Advice or a Sounding Board?
If what's needed is for you to be a sounding board and nothing else, then your friend is letting you know that he or she just wants to vent and advice is not being sought. If your friend is looking for advice, if you choose to give advice, which can be tricky, there are tactful ways to approach this. Most important of all, we can never assume that we know exactly what might be right for our friends.

Does Your Friend Want Advice or a Sounding Board?

So, it's usually better to frame whatever you say by first saying that this is what you would do if you were in this situation (assuming that you have an opinion about it), and this may or may not be what is best for your friend. By saying this, you're letting your friend know that you're not assuming that you know what's right for him or her. You're also putting the responsibility for the decision back with your friend, where it belongs. But even this can be tricky. When a friend is calling about relationship problems, it can be especially tricky.

The following fictionalized account illustrates a common scenario where a friend calls for advice:

Susan and Pat:
Susan and Pat were close friends for several years. Pat was in a rocky relationship with Jim for the last two years. Usually, Susan avoided getting caught up in giving Pat advice because she knew that Pat wasn't ready to leave her relationship with Jim, no matter how much Pat complained about it. But on this particular day, without realizing it, Susan got caught up in Pat's emotions. Pat was calling for the third time in two weeks to say that Jim was verbally abusive and he wouldn't listen to her when she tried to discuss this with him. Usually, he would walk out and not call her for several days. Then, they would get back together as if nothing had happened.

As Susan listened to Pat crying on the phone, she felt exasperated. It really bothered her to see Pat in so much emotional pain. Before she realized what she was doing, Susan began telling Pat, "You've got to get out of this relationship! He's making you so unhappy. This keeps happening over and over again. He's not going to change." Pat responded by saying that Susan was probably right and, soon after that, she ended the conversation.

After that call, Susan didn't hear from Pat in several days, which was unusual. She left Pat a few messages, but she didn't hear back from her, and Susan began getting concerned. When she finally reached Pat, Pat was terse and aloof with her. At first, Susan couldn't understand what was going on with her friend. When Pat tried to get off the phone quickly, Susan asked Pat if she was angry with her.

Pat was silent for a moment, and then she said that she didn't think they could continue to be friends any more because she felt that Susan didn't like Jim. Susan was stunned and speechless for a moment, still not understanding what was going on. Then, Pat reminded Susan about the advice that she had given Pat about leaving Jim. Pat said, "I just couldn't believe that you would say that to me, knowing how much Jim and I love each other. I thought you were my friend, but I feel like you betrayed me. When I told Jim what you said, he got really mad and he said he didn't think you were much of a friend to me. And, you know, Susan, I have to agree with him." And with that, Pat hung up, leaving Susan feeling shocked and hurt.

Use Good Judgment
The scenario above is a common occurrence. In the heat of the moment, a friend calls in distress and complains about a boyfriend. Afterwards, especially if this friend is caught in a dysfunctional pattern, she reverts back to her habitual way of being in her relationship. She might even feel guilty for complaining about her boyfriend. Then, she thinks about the conversation where her friend tells her to leave the relationship, and she feels angry with her friend. Let's say, she's no longer in her upset state. She has already reconciled with her boyfriend. At that point, it's easy to blame her friend and feel betrayed rather than reflecting on the dysfunctional cycle that she keeps getting caught in with her boyfriend. I've seen this happen so many times.

Does Your Friend Need Professional Help?
In situations like this, you could understand how someone like Susan might feel exasperated, especially after listening to her friend complain over and over again. But, rather than react, it's better to step back after listening and ask your friend how you can be supportive. And if your friend is caught in a dysfunctional cycle and you know that by allowing her to vent to you, she just lets off steam and gets right back into the same cycle, the best thing that you might do is to let her or him know that you're not a professional, and it might be better for your friend to seek professional help with a licensed psychotherapist. Not only might this stop the cycle of her complaining to you and then just going right back into the same dysfunctional situation, but by getting professional

It's not always easy to know what to do when friends call on us for help, but by taking a moment to reflect on the situation and asking a friend what he or she needs from us, we can avoid crossing boundaries with our friends that could ruin a friendship.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR therapist, and Somatic Experiencing therapist.

I work with individuals and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or send an email: josephineolivia@aol.com.








Saturday, July 23, 2011

Relationships: The Joy and Challenge of Vacations

Summertime is here, and it's the time for many people to go away on vacation. Most people look forward to going on vacation and couples often look upon it as a time to relax, rekindle their relationship, and take a break from the normal routine. But as relaxing as a vacation can be together, it can also present some challenges. With some forethought and pre-planning, some of these challenges and stressors can be avoided.


Relationships: The Joy and Challenge of Vacations

When we plan vacations with our spouses or partners, we often don't take into account that, as individuals, we respond differently outside of our normal routine. Even though many people complain that they feel like they're in a rut in their regular routine, that routine often provides a sense of structure and security. Without realizing it, at times, when we're outside of our regular routine and habits, it can be stressful. But for other people, it's an opportunity to thrive on novelty. So, if you're part of a couple where you thrive on having new experiences but your spouse likes the same-old-same-old, you could find yourself at odds with each other.

I hear many couples complain that one of them is the planner and the other one just wants to wing it. The planner might be reading travel guides a year in advance and going online to get the best travel deals, while the person who wants to wing it couldn't care less. Often, the complaint from the planners is that they feel like they're doing all the work while the person who isn't a planner reaps the benefits without contributing to the effort. The complaint from the people who like to wing it is that they feel badgered by the planners, and they couldn't care less to look at a travel guide until they reach their destination (if even then).

My suggestion to both types of people is to try to lighten up. Usually, the planner enjoys doing the planning and getting a sense that he or she is immersed in vacation locale long before they even arrive. So, for planners, enjoy the process and try not to be disappointed if your spouse isn't as enthusiastic as you are. For the people who like to wing it, I recommend that you show some appreciation and interest for the work that the planner is doing. You can tactfully let him or her know that while you appreciate it, it's not your thing. But I think it would be a good idea to make up for this in other ways. Maybe you take care of other aspects of the trip or you make reservations at your spouse's favorite restaurants while you're away.

You might have to deal with other compromises during your vacation, including whether you want to visit your family or your spouse's family while away, whether or not to take the children, what type of hotel you go to, and how much time to spend in different places. Be willing to negotiate and compromise.

Remember that the purpose of the vacation is to spend time together, relax and reconnect with each other romantically. So, plan on having time together to rekindle your relationship. Also, be open to being spontaneous sometimes. Sometimes, an unplanned walk off the beaten track can bring the unexpected pleasure and joy of discovering new people and places.

Vacation as a Time to Relax and Reconnect With Each Other

Another factor on vacations is that some people like to rise early and see all the sights while others view the vacation as a time to sleep later and rest. If you haven't talked about it beforehand, one or both of you might feel irritable and disappointed.

Although vacations are meant to be relaxing, they can also be stressful. Traveling by plane has become more complicated and stressful than it used to be. There are departure delays. The seating might be tight. There might be missing luggage when you get to the other end. Many people can take this in stride as a part of modern travel but, for others, it can test their patience to the breaking point.

Before you travel, it's good to know what kind of traveler you and your spouse each tend to be and talk about this and plan for it beforehand. For example, you might come to an agreement beforehand about how you'll spend your time. If you're an early bird who likes to beat the crowd to the local museums on your vacation, but your spouse would rather sleep late, rather than dragging your spouse out of bed to go somewhere where he or she doesn't want to go or arguing about it, agree in advance that each of you might want to spend the morning doing different things. You can agree to meet afterwards for a romantic seaside brunch.

If you know in advance that you each have different styles and preferences when you go on vacation and you discuss this in advance, you're more likely to enjoy your time together.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist and couples counselor. I have helped many individuals and couples of overcome obstacles so that they could lead more fulfilling lives.

Aside from talk therapy, I also provide hypnosis, Somatic Experiencing, and EMDR therapy.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006.

photo credit: jerbec via photopin cc

photo credit: B Rosen via photopin cc



Small Wonders All Around Us If We Take the Time to Notice

When I stop to notice, I'm often surprised and delighted at the small wonders that are all around us. Recently, I was crossing the street, on my way to the subway, when I noticed a mother and her small son stop to pick up something in the street.

Small Wonders Al Around Us If We Take the Time to Notice

The mother reached down and picked up what looked to me, at first, like a very pretty, orange, transparent piece of paper. But when I looked closer, I saw that it wasn't a piece of paper at all--it was a beautiful butterfly that had been lying in the middle of the street for some unknown reason.

As the mother gently picked it up by its wings and placed it carefully in the palm of her hand, the butterfly remained motionless.

Small Wonders All Around Us If We Take the Time to Notice

I feared that it had been run over by a car, and might have been dead. The little boy peered at the motionless body of the butterfly as the mother said, "Let's let it rest here" as she put it gently on a plant leaf in a nearby garden. Suddenly, the motionless butterfly came back to life, as if it had been temporarily stunned, spread her beautiful wings and flew away.

It was such a simple thing, and yet I felt my spirit lifted as I watched the butterfly revive and fly away. I felt so grateful to the woman who noticed it, picked it up, and rested it gently on the leaf until it could revive itself. It really made my day. The mother and her son were also delighted.

A few months ago, I was on my way to yoga class early on a Saturday morning when, from the corner of my eye, I noticed something floating in the air. I was passing a local Greek Eastern Orthodox church and against the background of the church's dark stone structure, I saw a beautiful, small, white, diaphanous silky strip of cloth come spiraling down in the air.

I couldn't imagine where this silky strip of cloth could have come from. Then, suddenly, I saw a sparrow fly over and, without skipping a beat, like poetry in motion, she clasped the beautiful strip in her mouth and flew up to her nearby nest that she was building.

It all happened in a matter of seconds. I stood there for a moment, delighted and grateful to watch this magical sight. Had I walked by a moment or two before or after, I would have missed it.

So often, there are small wonders all around us if we're open to seeing them.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, Somatic Experiencing therapist, and EMDR therapist in NYC.

I work with individuals and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or email me: josephineolivia@aol.com.



Creative Imagination and Dream Work for Writers

In my prior blog post, I wrote a post entitled, "Working with Dreams to Develop Your Creative Imagination" (http://www.psychotherapist-nyc.blogspot.com/2011/07/working-with-dreams-to-develop-your.html).

Creative Imagination, Dream Incubation, and Dream Work to Overcome Creative Blocks:
In this blog post, I will focus on how creative imagination and dream work can be a source of inspiration for writers. As I've mentioned before, among the clients that I work with in my psychotherapy private practice in NYC, I work with writers, actors, musicians, composers, and other people who are in the creative arts.

In any creative endeavor, it's not unusual to develop a creative block that gets in the way of doing the work. Dream incubation and the subsequent dream work that is possible from incubated dreams is often very helpful for writers who are experiencing creative blocks or at an impasse in their work.


Creative Imagination and Dream Work to Overcome Writer's Block


For instance, if a writer is struggling with a particular character or a scene in a story, he or she can incubate a dream to overcome this impasse. As I mentioned in prior blog posts, to incubate a dream, you can either give yourself a suggestion before going to sleep that you want to have a dream to overcome this impasse or you can work with a psychoanalytically trained psychotherapist who is trained in Embodied Imagination dream work (developed by Robert Bosnak) to help you.


Dreams and Creative Imagination to Overcome Writer's Block
When we do Embodied Imagination dream work for incubated dreams, we not only have access to our own experiences in the dream, we also have access to the experiences of the other characters in the dream.

As I've mentioned before, in Embodied Imagination dream work, we start with our own experiences, but we don't stop there. We also access the experiences of the other characters in the dream. Now, I realize that this might sound odd, but one of the basic concepts of Embodied Imagination is that we make no assumptions about where the dream is coming from or who the other characters are in the dream.

Rather than assuming that the characters are a part of ourselves, as we might in Gestalt or other types of psychotherapy, we make no assumptions. We allow the other characters to have their own "lives" in the dream. This frees us up to experience these characters from their own perspectives. Needless to say, I'm not referring to the type of hallucinations that people with schizophrenia or some other delusional or psychotic disorder might have. All I'm saying is that, for the purpose of doing the dream work, we suspend disbelief in the service of doing the creative dream work and using our imagination. For a fuller explanation of this phenomenon, I recommend that you read Robert Bosnak's book, Embodiment.

So, for example, a writer might incubate a dream about a particular character that he or she is not satisfied with in the story. The dreams that are the result of this incubation would include valuable information about the character, sometimes coming from the character's own mouth.

When we're dreaming, generally, we're in a more relaxed state than in our regular waking experience. This allows us to have access to a deeper sense of our imagination than when we're awake. In these dreams, characters and scenes "come alive" in ways that they often don't in our usual waking consciousness. And it takes no extra time since we would spend the same amount of time sleeping whether we incubated dreams or not.

I also find that, like with most things, maintaining a sense of humor helps with the creative process.

Maintaining a Sense of Humor Helps:  Snickers, the Cat, Waits for Inspiration to Come to Overcome Writer's Block
For a more in-depth explanation of Embodied Imagination, creativity and dreams, you can visit the website for Cyberdreamworks: http://www.cyberdreamwork.com.

I am a licensed psychoanalytically trained psychotherapist. I am also a hypnotherapist, Somatic Experiencing therapist, and an EMDR therapist.

I work with individuals and couples, and my office is convenient located in Manhattan.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006.

photo credit: stilleben ['stelle:bƏn] via photopin cc

photo credit: jaci XIII via photopin cc


Working with Dreams to Develop Your Creative Imagination

Dreams and Your Creative Imagination:
I love working with dreams, my own dreams as well as clients' and friends' dreams. Dream work provides us with a unique opportunity to access our creative imagination in ways that are often not accessible to us in the normal waking state.

Working with Dreams to Develop Your Creative Imagination
What Do We Mean by "Imagination"?
The word "imagination" has gotten a bad rap in modern times, especially for adults. Often, when we hear the words "imagined" or "imagination," it has a negative connotation. We often think of these words as meaning something that is false, as in: "It was just his imagination." But the word "imagination" has a much broader meaning. When we can open up to our imagination, we open ourselves to our internal world of images, ideas, emotions, and our felt sense about ourselves and the world around us. We use our imagination to learn new things and to understand and develop new concepts. We also use our imagination to come up with creative solutions to everyday problems and in our creative endeavors. Most inventions were created with the inventor using his or her imagination to come up with new ideas. Often, these inventors came up with creative ideas through their dreams.

Dreams and Creative Imagination
Children are usually much better attuned to their imagination and can enter into and out of imagined states or play with ease. They know the difference between imagination, play and everyday waking reality. But, somehow, for many of us, when we become adults, we often get the message that imagining and play are things that are left behind in childhood for the logical reality of adulthood. Even for some children who are scolded for daydreaming or "making up stories" from their imagination, they lose this precious skill early in life.

Remembering Your Dreams:
In order to do dream work, you must first remember your dreams. For most people who are motivated to remember their dreams, a simple suggestion before going to sleep as well as keeping a note pad and pen close at hand to jot down dreams is often enough to help you remember your dreams. It's important to write down your dream in the present tense as soon as you wake up.


Writing Down Your Dreams
We often think that we'll remember a dream only to have it slip away like vapor as soon as we focus on something else. Even if what you remember is only a snippet of part of a dream, write it down. By writing down even a snippet of a dream, you're giving your unconscious mind the suggestion that dreams are important. Usually, over time, snippets will develop into more in-depth memories of dreams.

Keeping a Dream Journal:
I recommend keeping a dream journal where you record your dreams. Keeping the dream journal in a safe and private place will allow you to feel free to write down your dreams without censoring yourself. Giving each dream a date and dream title and keeping an index is also very helpful in many ways. First, by giving titles to your dreams, you're giving your unconscious mind the suggestion that dreams are meaningful stories that you want to remember. Second, having an index of dream titles helps you to look back on particular themes.

How Does Dream Work Help Us to Access Our Creative Imagination?
When I do dreamwork with clients, I help them to get back into the dream state (also called the hypnogagic state) of the particular dream that we're working on. In this dream state, you have access to the images, emotions, and the felt sense of the dream.

A psychotherapist who is experienced with doing this type of dream work, such as Embodied Imagination, can help clients to access not only their own experiences in the dream but also tap into the experiences of the other characters in the dream. I've written about Embodied Imagination and Robert Bosnak in prior blog posts: (http://www.psychotherapist-nyc.blogspot.com/2011/01/dreams-and-embodied--imagination.html). I also recommend reading Robert Bosnak's book, Embodiment, available in paperback.


Dreams and Creative Imagination
If you want to develop your creative mind while dreaming, you can also give yourself a suggestion before going to sleep to have creative dreams about the issue that you want to work on. This takes some practice, motivation, and patience. Using evocative imagery just before going to sleep is often helpful to incubate dreams on a particular issue.

When I work with clients who want to incubate dreams to come up with creative solutions for a particular problem or issue, I help them get into a relaxed state to use their imagination. This might involve having them focus on their emotional experience and desire related to this issue. I help them to sense into their experience using their five senses, as well as their imagination, emotions and felt sense. Then, before they go to sleep, they practice what we did in our therapy session for a minute or so before going to sleep in order to incubate dreams. Often, these experiences can be revelatory, accessing a deep sense of creativity that is not usually available to them in normal waking life.

I recommend working with a psychotherapist who has a psychoanalytic background and who has experience using Embodied Imagination to get the full experience of using your imagination and developing your creativity. But you can also benefit from paying attention to your dreams on your own to develop your creativity.

For more information about Embodied Imagination dream work, visit: http://www.cyberdreamwork.com.

To learn more about dreams and dream work in general, visit the website for the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD): http://www.asdreams.org.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, psychoanalyst, hypnotherapist, Somatic Experiencing therapist, and EMDR therapist.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006.