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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Psychotherapy Daily News: 1/31/13

Psychotherapy Daily News for today, 1/31/13, has the latest stories about mental health issues, education, science, the environment, health and leisure, including the following stories:

  • Good Mood Helps Boost Brain Power in Older Adults
  • How to Take in the Good:  Overcoming the Brain's Negative Bias
  • Music to Heal the Mind, Heart and Body
  • Is It Time to Quit Your Job?  Best Practices
  • Excessive Alcohol Use When You're Young Could Have Lasting Impact on Your Brain

And much more

To Subscribe for Free:  Go to Psychotherapy Daily News and click on the subscribe link.

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

I work with individual adults and couples.

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

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

Psychotherapy Daily News

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Psychotherapy Daily News: 1/30/13

Today's Psychotherapy Daily News is out with stories on mental health issues, science, medicine, the environment, and education.

Here are some of the stories in today's Psychotherapy Daily News:

  • Living Fully in the Present Moment
  • Letting Go of Unhealthy Relationships:  Unrequited Love
  • OCD and Brain Stimulation
  • Networking, Professionalism, and the Internet:  Psychiatric Times
  • Tomorrow's Life Saving Medications May Currently Be at the Bottom of the Sea
  • In-Brain Monitoring Shows Memory Network
  • Epigenetic Control of Cardiogenesis
  • Targeting Anxiety to Reduce Alcohol Consumption

You can subscribe to Psychotherapy Daily News by going to the site and clicking on the "Subscribe" button so you don't miss the latest news.

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

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

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

Psychotherapy Daily News

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Psychotherapy: Therapists Listening and Learning From the Client

Psychotherapists in training and psychotherapists new to the field often feel they should immediately know and give advice to clients who present in therapy, especially with clients who are upset during the first session.  In situations where new clients come in very upset, sometimes even demanding, "Tell me what to do!,"it's better to help clients to get emotionally grounded, and not fall into the trap of giving advice with potentially disastrous results.  

Psychotherapy:  Therapists Listening and Learning From the Client

The Therapist's Experience of Getting Comfortable with "Not Knowing"
Fortunately, for most therapists, getting comfortable with "not knowing" during the initial stage of treatment gets easier with time and experience.  Rather than assuming that they're supposed to know immediately what's best for clients, skilled therapists know that they need to listen and learn about the client from the client rather than adhering to any particular theoretical orientation.

Even though the client might not get "the answer" from the therapist, this doesn't  mean that the client doesn't experience emotional relief during the initial stage of therapy. A skilled therapist knows how to create a therapeutic "holding environment," which often, in itself, brings emotional relief.

When the Therapist is Tempted to "Rescue" the Client 
When therapists feel pulled to "rescue" the client, who is not a danger to himself or others, this urge to "rescue" is potentially important information about what might be going on unconsciously in the consultation room with the therapist and client as individuals as well as dynamically between them.

This can happen to even to the most seasoned therapist.  Experienced therapists usually recognize it more readily than psychotherapists in training.  If a therapist finds it happening a lot with particular clients, it's best to obtain clinical supervision, talk to experienced colleagues or address the issue in her own therapy or all of the above if it's a big problem.

It's also important to recognize that not every therapist is for every client (see the link below for my article on "How to Choose a Psychotherapist").

Listening, Learning and Becoming Attuned to the Client
It takes more than one or two sessions for a therapist to get to know and become attuned to a client.  No matter how experienced, a therapist can't assume that she knows what's best for the client without first listening to and learning from the client, except, of course, in cases when a client is in a dangerous situation or a harm to himself or others.  (Then, it's important to know how to handle a psychiatric emergency and determine if the client is in the right level of care.)

Clients Are Looking For Answers
Clients are, understandable, looking for answers to their problems.  Why else would they come to therapy?  If they've never been in therapy before, they might equate the therapy session to a medical exam with their doctor.

During medical exams, unless further tests or consultations with specialists are needed, a doctor often gives a diagnosis and prescribes a course of treatment in one session.  In a day or so, the client might be feeling better.  But the human psyche is much more complicated than taking a pill, and it's rare that a therapist can help a client to resolve a psychological problem in one or two sessions.

What new clients might not understand, and what therapists need to help clients to understand, is that the therapist isn't there to give advice or tell the client what to do.  And even if the therapist was willing to give advice to a new client, who's to say this advice would be right for the client without the client participating in the process?

What Does the Therapist Do, If She Doesn't Give the Client "Answers"?
As mentioned before, the new client often comes looking for answers to her problems.  It might be disappointing to hear that the therapist can't provide immediate answers.

No matter what type of therapy the contemporary therapist practices, basically, the skilled clinician is trained to help the client, in collaboration with the client, to develop greater insight into her problems and work through the problems--rather than telling the client what to do.  Over time, the client, who has never been in therapy before, learns to become more open and curious about her process.  She also learns to become more resilient.  And, the healing process continues unconsciously for the client between sessions.

Mistakes, Ruptures and Repair in Therapy
Of course, therapists are human and make mistakes just like anyone else.  As I've written before, when a psychotherapist makes a mistake with a client, the most important first step is for the therapist to acknowledge the mistake to the client, and make an effort to repair the rupture with the client as soon as possible (see link below for my article, "Psychotherapy:  Ruptures and Repairs in Treatment").  Hopefully, the mistake isn't egregious, the therapeutic relationship remains intact, and the work continues.

These Days Clients Are More Likely to Approach Psychotherapy as Informed Consumers
Thank goodness, the days when therapists and doctors were assumed to be almost infallible are gone.  These days, many clients are better educated about the psychotherapy process, and they're more likely to approach it as informed consumers.  They know that during a psychotherapy consultation, they're interviewing the therapist and asking questions just as much as the therapist is interviewing the client.

Patrick Casement's Book:  Learning From the Patient
When I was in my first year of psychoanalytic training in 1996, I read Patrick Casement's book, Learning From the Patient.  It wasn't part of the curriculum in the first year.  At the time, the reading list for first year psychoanalytic students was mostly works by Freud.

During My First Year of Training, the Focus Was on Freud
While I enjoy reading Freud (especially his papers that read almost like poetry) and admire his genius, as a first year psychoanalytic student in training, I didn't always find his papers helpful when I was in the psychotherapy consultation room with a new client.

Somehow, during my first year in training, I came across Patrick Casement's book and, along with the guidance of seasoned clinical supervisors, I found it enormously helpful.

Some of the concepts that Casement writes about are now incorporated in current training programs in the first year, rather than waiting for the second or third year.  I'm sure it's a relief for first year psychotherapists in training, as it was for me, to realize that it's okay, and even not helpful, to think they should know the answers immediately, and it's more important to listen and learn.

Since my early days of training, I've learned other therapeutic ways of working, aside from talk therapy, including EMDR, hypnosis and Somatic Experience.  Whichever method I use, I value listening to and learning from the client.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist.  I work in a contemporary, dynamic way in collaboration with the client.

I work with individual adults and couples.

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

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

Also see my articles:
How to Chose a Psychotherapist

Psychotherapy: Ruptures and Repairs in Treatment


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A New Relationship: Understanding the Loyalty Dilemma for Someone Whose Spouse Died

In today's Sunday New York Times Modern Love section, there's an article by Eve Pell about her relationship with her husband (see link below).  According to Ms. Pell, they began when she was in her 70s and he was in his 80s.  One of the things that she mentions is that when they were dating, her then-boyfriend was hesitant about making a commitment to their relationship because he still felt loyal to his deceased wife, who had died several years before.

Understanding the Emotional Dilemma For Someone Whose Spouse Died
Reading this article brought to mind how common this experience is.  Rather than getting competitive with a deceased spouse, Ms. Pell, who sounds like a wise woman, understood her boyfriend's emotional dilemma and let him know.

Instead of feeling like his love for his deceased spouse meant more to him than his love for her, she spoke to him about it with a lot of empathy.  She acknowledged that she understood, respected his feelings for his former spouse, and reframed the issue as there being enough room in his heart for both of them.  According to Ms. Pell, her boyfriend appreciated this and, eventually, they got married.

Your Boyfriend Might Feel Disloyal to a Deceased Spouse By Making a Commitment to You
Working Through the Loss of a Deceased Spouse
There are times when people haven't worked through the loss of a deceased spouse and it keeps them stuck.  Each situation is different.  But reading Ms. Pell's article reminded me of how conflicted a person can feel with a new love, especially when the former relationship ended because of a death.

People, who are widowed, who are still in love with their deceased spouse, often feel that it's an act of disloyalty to begin a relationship with someone new.  Their spouse might be gone, but their feelings are still very much alive.  They might feel confused and not know how to reconcile the fact that they can fall in love with someone new while still loving their former spouse.  If the new love gets jealous and makes emotional demands too soon, it can create an even bigger conflict and ruin an otherwise good new relationship.

Reframing the Love and Loyalty Dilemma
Like Ms. Pell, it's often better to take an empathetic step back, try to understand your romantic partner's emotional dilemma and talk to him about it.  When the dilemma is reframed as there being room for both the deceased spouse and the new partner, it can reduce a lot of tension and offer options that your partner might not have seen before.  Your partner doesn't need to completely bury his feelings for his deceased spouse, which wouldn't be possible anyway.  It's really not an either/or question.  He can still honor the feelings he feels for her and make room for you.

For simplicity's sake and not wanting to continually say "he or she," I'm writing about this as the man having the deceased wife and the woman being the new love in his life.  But, naturally, it could be the other way around too--with the woman who has a deceased husband and a new boyfriend.

Whether you're the person who is struggling with the loyalty dilemma or you're the new love, there are no rules as to how long the process takes.  Every situation is different.

Some people, who have lost a spouse, never get over it, and they're unable to make a commitment to a new relationship.  For other people, this issue works itself out with understanding on both sides.  Sometimes, the person who is widowed needs help in individual therapy to work it out.  Other times, it helps for both people to come into couples counseling to negotiate this problem.

Either way, I found Ms. Pell's approach to this common dilemma to be a mature and refreshing approach.  Thank you, Ms. Pell, for a heart warming article.

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

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

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


The Race Grows Sweeter Near Its Final Lap--Modern Love, NY Times by Eve Pell (1/27/13)

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Is That All There Is? When "Having It All" Leaves You Feeling Empty

For many people, the meaning of "success" and "having it all"means making a lot of money, buying a big house, having a new car, and being married to an attractive spouse (not necessarily in that order).  For other people, "having it all" might mean being smart, having a graduate degree, and the prestige of being published and recognized as an expert in a particular field.  

Is That All There Is?  When "Having It All" Leaves You Feeling Empty

"Having It All," But Feeling Something is Missing 
But, more often than not, people who have attained their definition of "having it all," are surprised to discover that, instead of making them happy, after a while, they feel empty inside.  They're confused because they feel like there's something missing, but they can't understand what it is since they already have everything they set out to get, so what else could there be?

What Does It Mean to "Have It All"?
How we define "success"' and "having it all" usually determines our focus and the direction we take in our lives.  Early on, we're given implicit, and often explicit, messages about what it means to be successful.  In school and the world around us that usually means striving to be competitive and to get excellent grades so you're at the top of your class with the end goal of getting a well-paid job so you can have monetary success and prestige.

Is That All There Is?  When "Having It All" Leaves You Feeling Empty

Most people would agree that having a certain degree of financial comfort is better than struggling financially.  And while there's certainly nothing wrong with being smart and striving to have monetary success and prestige, if that's all you want, more than likely, when you get it, you'll be wondering, "Is that all there is?," like the song with the same title.  This can be a tremendous letdown, especially if you've invested years of your life to attain these goals.

When Disappointment Leads to Striving For More of the Same
Often, people respond to feeling this disappointment by striving even harder to have more...more money, more prestige, a bigger vacation house, a more expensive car, and so on.  They become even more competitive with their colleagues, friends, loved ones, and neighbors.  But the problem with this is that there will always be someone who is smarter, richer, and more powerful than you are, so where does this end?  For someone people, it ends with deeper disappointment. For other people, it ends with sudden cardiac arrest.

Getting Help When "Having It All" Leaves You Feeling Empty
At about this point, people who might never have come to therapy, seek help.  Striving more, working harder, being bigger and better, smarter and faster hasn't brought lasting happiness, and they're in emotional crisis.  They've done everything they've been told and everything they know how to do to be happy, but happiness eludes them, and they don't know why.  They often come to therapy feeling that their lack of happiness is, somehow, their fault.  

What Is a Meaningful Life to You? 
Rather than looking for a place to cast blame, when "having it all" leaves you feeling empty inside, it's important to take a look at how you're defining success.  Although it might sound like an old cliche, when your definition of success is only narrowly defined by the external things in your life, after a while, these things become less meaningful to you.  If you haven't broadened your definition of success to include a rich inner life and contributing in a meaningful way to the world around you, more than likely, if you're at all in touch with your emotions, you'll feel empty inside. 

Whether you call this empty feeling inside "a spiritual crisis," "a mid-life crisis" or a crisis by any other name, usually, when you get to this point, you can feel desperate because, along the way, you might not have learned any other ways for being happy other than to be more and to get more.  Perhaps you've also surrounded yourself with like-minded people.  And, when you compare yourself to them, they seem to be happy with their lives, so you might ask yourself, "What's wrong with me?"

Psychotherapy:  A Place to Explore and Discover New Aspects of Yourself
Psychotherapy is a place where you can explore and discover what it would mean to you to have a meaningful life.  In the privacy of a therapy session with an objective therapist who is empathetic and with whom you have a rapport, you can start to focus on your inner world, as opposed to being exclusively focused on your external world.  

Whereas friends and loved ones might have their own views of what it means to have a meaningful life, a skilled clinician can help you develop your own new definition of what it means to be successful in a much broader sense without judging you or imposing his or her own views.

Psychotherapy: A Place to Explore and Discover New Aspects of Yourself

Your psychotherapy session is a time and place dedicated to you where you have uninterrupted time to develop and discover aspects of yourself that you might not have even known exist.  It's a chance to discover and experiment with new possibilities of who you are and what might make you happy.

When continuing to do more of the same of what you've been doing continues to leave you disappointed, you owe it to yourself to work with a skilled clinician who can help you expand your defintion of success and happiness.  

About Me:
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist.  I work with individual adults and couples.

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

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

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Psychotherapy Daily News Summary: 1/26/13

Today's Psychotherapy Daily News is out with the latest news about mental health, science, health, education, the environment and more.  

The 1/26/13 edition of Psychotherapy Daily News is made up of articles from the Psychotherapy Networker, Psychiatric Times, APA Help Center, Science Daily, NY Times Health, Yoga Journal, Harvard Business Review, Good Therapy, as well as this psychotherapy blog and other publications.

Psychotherapy Daily News
Here are are list of some of the articles in today's Psychotherapy Daily News:

  • What's New Under the Moon--Insomnia and Sleep Deprivation
  • Talking to Your Child's Pediatrician About Behavioral Problems and Medication
  • Family Support Can Decrease Psychological Strain in Military Personnel
  • Tough Times for Psychotherapy:  Finding Strength in Community Expertise
  • Addressing Anxiety and the Negative Feedback Loop
  • "Cool" Kids in Middle School Bully More, Psychologists Report
  • Stop Surfing the Internet Now--Management Tip of the Day
  • Self Esteem in Action
  • From Flow to Slow (Yoga)
  • Qigong Improves Quality of Life for Breast Cancer Patients, Study Says
  • DNA and Quantum Data:  All That Glitters is Not  Gold
  • Dream Incubation - Planting Seeds
  • Coping with the Empty Nest Syndrome
  • Listening to the Mind-Body Connection
  • Living Authentically, Aligned with Your Values
  • Increased Fruit and Veg Consumption Associated with Positive Mood
You Can Subscribe For Free
You get Psychotherapy Daily News delivered to your mail box automatically every day by signing up for an email subscription.  You can subscribe anonymously (you won't get SPAM) by going to the site and pressing the "Subscribe" button.

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

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

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

Psychotherapy Daily News



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Can't Stop Looking at Your Ex's Facebook Page? Here Are Some Reasons to Stop

On some level, most people know that continuously reading their ex's Facebook page can be very upsetting, especially if you discover things about your ex--like he has a new girlfriend or, worse still, he got married--that you're not prepared to face.


When You're Heartbroken & You Can't Stop Looking at Your Ex's Facebook Page
Over and over, I hear from psychotherapy clients as well as people in my personal life that they can't stop themselves from looking at their ex's Facebook page, even when they know it's really over.  For many people, it becomes an obsession.  They want to know what's happening in their ex's life and, more importantly, has s/he found someone new?

It's Hard to Stop, Even When You Know the Relationship is Really Over
Although it might be tempting to keep looking at your ex's Facebook page because you feel that you just can't resist, there are some very good reasons to stop:
  • You're going to find it very hard to move on if you keep looking at your ex's Facebook page.
  • It can be a form of emotional self torture to find out that your ex is with someone new. And, anyway, what can you do with this information, aside from making yourself miserable and upset?
  • If you see her looking happy with someone new, it can make you feel awful about yourself, wondering why she wasn't happy with you (even though the pictures you see on the Facebook page might not reflect reality).
  • Like any obsessive habit, the more you do it, the more you want to do it, making it very difficult to stop.
Ask Yourself What You Hope to Accomplish by Looking at Your Ex's Facebook Page
Here are some tips that might help you the next time you feel the urge to look at your ex's Facebook page:
  • Defriend your ex.  As hard as it might be, it will help you not to have such ready access to your ex's Facebook page.
  • Try waiting 20 minutes, when you feel the urge to look, to see if the urge passes.
  • Ask yourself, "What do I hope to accomplish by looking at his Facebook page?"
  • Go out for a walk or distract yourself by doing something else.
  • Talk to a supportive friend who knows how to listen attentively to your feelings.
  • Take a break from social media and go out and do something nurturing for yourself.  
When You Don't Want to Let Go of Your Ex
Continually looking at your ex's Facebook page might mean that you're not ready to move on yet, and you might be harboring wishes, no matter how unrealistic, that the two of you might get back together again.  Be honest with yourself and ask yourself if this is what's going on with you.

When You Don't Want to Let Go of Your Ex
Are You Avoiding Feeling the Emotional Pain of the Breakup?
Nobody likes to go through the emotional pain of a breakup.  But if you're holding onto unrealistic fantasies of rekindling your romance with your ex, part of this might be an unconscious wish to avoid feeling the pain.  Unfortunately, there's no way to avoid going through the pain in order to get to the other side so you can move on.

Getting Help
Mourning the loss of a relationship is hard, but you can make it harder on yourself by holding onto what you know deep down is really over.  Everyone is different and every situation is different when it comes to mourning this type of loss.

No one can tell you how long it should take.  But if you find that, over time, it's not getting a little easier for you, you might consider consulting with a licensed psychotherapist who can help you get over your obsessive reading of your ex's Facebook page and also help you through the mourning process.

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

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

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

Also see my article:
Stalking Your Ex on Social Media


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Mentoring Groups for New Clinical Social Work Grads and Grad Students

Entering the field of clinical social work for new clinical social work graduate students still in school and recent grads can be an exciting experience.  It can also be challenging.  For social workers new to the field, having a mentor to help you develop and evolve as a professional can make all the difference in the world.

You Worked Hard to Get Your MSW.  Join the NYS Society of Clinical Social Work Mentor  Group to Continue to Grow Professionally
The NYS Society of Clinical Social Work Mentor Groups
While I was completing my social work graduate degree in 1995, I was fortunate to be a member of the NYS Society of Clinical Social Work (NYSSCSW) where they have a great mentoring program.

New to Clinical Social Work?  You Could Benefit From Joining the NYSSCSW Mentor Group
Back then, my fellow grad students and I learned a lot about the field from a seasoned professional who provided practical and clinical professional advice.  Also, having the support of other grad students and recent grads made all of the difference for me when I first entered the field.

The NYS Society of Clinical Social Work Mentor Group Can Help You Grow & Evolve in the Field
If you're a social work graduate student or a recent MSW grad living in NYC, I recommend that you look into membership in the mentor groups at the NYS Society of Clinical Social Work.

With the rapidly changing world of clinical social work, you owe it to yourself to get the  latest information and the support of a mentor group that will help you to grow and evolve in the field.

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

I work with individual adults and couples.

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

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

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Overcoming Feelings of Inadequacy with Clinical Hypnosis

In the course of a lifetime, everyone has moments where they feel a lack self confidence or feel inadequate in some way.  This is part of the human experience, and these feelings often pass.  But if you have pervasive feelings of inadequacy most of the time, your sense of inadequacy can be a major stumbling block in your life.

Feelings of Inadequacy Can Be Longstanding or They Can Seem to Come From "Nowhere"
For many people, feelings of being inadequate, such as feeling "I'm not good enough" or "I'm not lovable,"have been part of their awareness for as long as they can remember.  Other people often experience these feelings as having come, seemingly, from "nowhere."  For these people, the experience of feeling inadequate, when they normally feel confident, can be very confusing, and they often wonder, "Why is this happening to me?"

Overcoming Feelings of Inadequacy with Clinical Hypnosis
Discovering What Triggered Feelings of Inadequacy
Often, when feelings of being inadequate seem to come from "nowhere," there is a precipitating event that triggered this feeling, but the person experiencing this might not know what it is.  Working with a skilled hypnotherapist can help clients to discover the triggering event so that clients can overcome feelings of low self worth.

In most cases, the hypnotherapist will work with clients to help them discover, if possible, the first event that triggered this feeling.  The first event might be a long forgotten memory of when the client was a child that gets triggered during a current event.  This can be tricky because memory isn't always reliable.

The following scenario, which is a composite of many different cases to protect confidentiality, illustrates how clinical hypnosis can help a client to overcome feelings of inadequacy:

John:
When John, who was a successful manager, came to therapy, he was aware that he wasn't feeling good about himself.  He was very perplexed about this because, until recently, he wasn't feeling this way. But in the last month or so, he noticed that he woke up with a feeling of dread every week day morning before going to work.   This made no sense to him and, in some ways, it frightened him that he had such a different feeling about himself.

John recalled that he began feeling this way after his new director recently criticized him in a staff meeting during John's presentation.  John remembered feeling embarrassed and even a little queasy at the time.  He also had a momentary feeling of powerlessness.  But John was determined not to let it get the best of him.  So after it happened, he decided to put the incident behind him and try to forget about it.  Or so he thought...When he began therapy, he began to wonder if maybe this incident affected him more than he realized.

During hypnosis sessions to discover if there was an earlier experience that got triggered by the more recent experience with his director, John recalled an early memory (age 5) of his grandfather humiliating him in front of the whole family.  John had not thought of this memory in a long time.

As John recalled, his aunt asked John to recite the poem that John had recited during the school assembly.  In the middle of his recitation, John's grandfather walked into the room looking angry.  He glared at John and when John was finished, he said, "That was awful!  I'm glad I wasn't at your school assembly to hear that.  You're never going to amount to anything."

At the time, when John was five, he didn't know that his grandfather was a severe alcoholic and he was drunk when he criticized John that day.  This was something John realized much later.  During the hypnosis session, John remembered that, when his grandfather criticized him, he felt his face turn hot with shame, and he felt hurt as he choked back tears upon hearing his grandfather's words.  He also remembered feeling a little queasy and powerless at the time, the same feelings he felt when he was giving his presentation at work when his director criticized him.

As John continued to explore these issues in clinical hypnosis, he realized more and more that the experience with his new director triggered the feelings of the earlier memory of being humiliated by his grandfather.  He also realized that other earlier experiences of shame as a child had a much more profound effect on him than he realized.  Over time, working on this memory and other underlying experiences of being shamed helped John to overcome his feelings of inadequacy so he could feel confident in himself.

Earlier Memories Can Lay "Dormant" For a Long Time Before They're Triggered
It's not unusual, as in John's case, for earlier memories of shame and humiliation to lay "dormant" for a long time--only to get triggered by a similar recent event.  It can be one traumatic memory or it can be a series of traumatic memories that get triggered.  It's often hard to know why a particular recent event triggers these feelings and other similar events might not.  But the client usually has a gut feeling, while in a relaxed hypnotic state, of the connection between the old memories and the recent event.

Getting Help
Whether your experience with low self confidence is a recent development or a longstanding problem, working with a skilled hypnotherapist can help you to overcome this problem.  As I've mentioned in earlier articles, hypnotherapy isn't always quick or a magic bullet cure, but it's often very effective in helping clients overcome emotional problems.

You Can Overcome Feelings of Inadequacy with Help from a Skilled Hypnotherapist
I always recommend that, in choosing a hypnotherapist, you find someone who has a psychotherapy license (as opposed to someone who is a hypnotist and who is not a psychotherapist) so that you know you are working with a skilled clinician who is trained to handle whatever clinical issues might come up.

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

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

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

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Psychotherapy Daily News - 1/25/13

Psychotherapy Daily News for today, 1/25/13, has articles from Psychiatric Times, American Psychological Association (APA) Help Center, Good Therapy.org, New York Times Health, Harvard Business Review, Psychotherapy Networker, Science Daily, and this psychotherapy blog, among others, about mental health issues, science, health, the environment, and leisure issues.

Here are a list of just some of the articles, which represents the latest and most interesting news stories:

  • Your Relationship:  Should You Stay or Should You Go?
  • Relationships:  Covert Belittling
  • Overcoming Trauma with Somatic Experiencing
  • The Joy of Being Attuned to Your Inner Child
  • Working with the Borderline Client
  • Can a Sense of Control Increase Your Lifespan?
  • Red Explosions:  Secret Life of Binary Stars is Revealed
  • Scientists Discover How Epigenetic Information Could Be Inherited - Mechanisms of Epigenetic Reprogramming Revealed
  • Parenting - The Art of Benign Neglect
  • Getting Naked:  It's Not Just About Sex

Subscribe to Psychotherapy Daily News
You can subscribe to get your daily copy in your in box by going to Psychotherapy Daily News and clicking on the "Subscribe" button.  Your information will be anonymous (even to me) so you don't have to be concerned about getting SPAM.

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

I work with individual adults and couples.

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

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

Psychotherapy Daily News






Thursday, January 24, 2013

Psychotherapy Daily News - 1/24/13

Psychotherapy Daily News features articles about mental health, science, health, education plus more from various sources, including New York Time, Yoga Journal, the Harvard Business Review, GoodTherapy.com, Psychiatric Times as well as some of my own psychotherapy-related articles.

Here are a list of some of the articles in today's Psychotherapy Daily News:
  • Interpersonal Neurobiology in the Consulting Room With Dan Siegel
  • Psychiatrists With Ethics Training Less Likely to Push Brand-Name Drugs
  • Managing Suicide Risk of Clients With Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Emotional Demands:  The Exhaustive Effect on Technology Workers
  • Sugar Addiction and Mental Health:  America Needs Rehab
  • Does Religion Help You Quit Smoking?
  • Find Your Authentic Self and You Just Might Find Your Next Career
  • Starting Therapy--and Ending It Too
  • Reasons for Substance Use Predicts Treatment Outcome in Adolescents
  • EMDR Self Help Book:  Getting Past Your Past
  • Feeling Lonely in a Relationship
  • Can You Read the Face of Victory?
  • Th 28-Day Meditation Challenge Returns on February 1
  • Why You Should Emphasize Your Potential Rather Than Your Achievements on Your CV
  • It's Time to Cut Back on Social Media
  • What Capitalism Can't Fix
  • May I Be Happy?
  • Long Term Effects of Life Expectancy From Smoking
  • Addiction in the Home:  Healing Lives, Families and Communities
  • It's My Job and I'll Tweet If I Want To
  • Tips For Managing and Preventing Stress
  • Science News From Around the Web
  • Krishna Das Nominated For Grammy Award
  • Stop Underage Drinking - Gateway to Federal Resources
  • Study Links Cognitive Deficits and Hearing Loss
  • Positive Psychology News Daily
You can subscribe for free by clicking on this link:Psychotherapy Daily News and clicking on the word "subscribe" so you don't miss an issue.

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

I work with individual adults and couples.

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

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

Visit Psychotherapy Daily News for the latest information about mental health issues.




Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Psychotherapy Daily News - 1/23/13

Today's Psychotherapy Daily News, which has articles from my psychotherapy blog as well stories and videos from 
other psychotherapy sources, includes the following stories and videos:

  • Psychotherapy:  Healing Your Emotional Wounds
  • Psychotherapy and Beginner's Mind
  • Resilience:  Bouncing Back from Life's ChallengesEMDR Self Help Book:  Getting Past Your Past
  • Memory Experiment
  • Update on Adolescent Mood Disorders
  • Planck's Law of Generations - Psychiatric Times
  • Family Habits:  The Key to Controlling Childhood Obesity
  • Video:  Stories of Hope and Recovery - Jordan's Story
  • Video:  Hurricane Sandy - Dr. Steven Southwick (Psychiatric Times)

You can subscribe to Psychotherapy Daily News by going to the site and clicking on the "Subscribe" button.

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

I work with individuals adults and couples.

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

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

Visit:  Psychotherapy Daily News


Monday, January 21, 2013

The Dreamer and the Pragmatist

I'm reading Adam Phillips' book, Promises, Promises - Essays on Psychoanalysis and Literature. In Chapter One, "Poetry and Psychoanalysis," Phillips discusses, among other things, the difference, generally speaking, between two different types of clients, the Dreamer and the Pragmatist.

Psychotherapy Clients - The Dreamer and the Pragmatist:
According to Adam Phillips, the client who is a Dreamer wants to free associate in therapy and go wherever his thoughts lead him, and the Pragmatist is focused on resolving his problems in therapy.  Whereas the Pragmatist wants to achieve things, the Dreamer is focused on the experiential.

Adam Phillips says the Dreamer wants the therapist to help her get back into her reverie, and the Pragmatist wants the therapist to help her find a solution to her problem.

The Pragmatist wants to know, in a practical way, what to do.  The Dreamer wants to discover the way and see what happens.

Of course, these are generalizations, and most clients don't fall neatly into one category or another.  People are often a combination of the two.

I've worked with both Dreamers and Pragmatists in my psychotherapy practice in NYC and both types of clients appeal to the different aspects in me that I identify with.

Psychotherapy with the Pragmatist
In many ways, I'm a Pragmatist and I like helping clients in a down-to-earth manner, especially clients who come in for brief therapy, assuming that brief therapy is the appropriate form of treatment for them.  

Psychotherapy with the Pragmatist is Often Brief Therapy
Brief therapy is appropriate where a client has a specific problem, with no major trauma, that lends itself to brief solution-oriented therapy.  Often, this client just needs some direction or guidance, an objective mental health professional to check in with, and they can often come up with practical solutions to their problems.  Long-term treatment isn't necessary, unless, over time, the client becomes curious and interested in exploring more about his inner world.

Psychotherapy with the  Dreamer
I also have a side of me that is a Dreamer or Seeker, and I also enjoy working with clients who are more interested in discovering their inner world and more focused on the "journey" rather than the "destination."

Psychotherapy with the Dreamer or Seeker is Often More Opened-Ended Treatment
My original training is in contemporary psychoanalysis.  I'm fascinated by the unconscious, including dreams.  When I work with dreams, I have different ways that I work, including contemporary psychodynamic dream work and Embodied Imagination dream work, which is a post-Jungian way of working developed by psychoanalyst, Robert Bosnak.  This type of psychotherapy is more open ended than brief treatment and, as in all therapy, the client decides when s/he has completed treatment.

Many Different Types of Psychotherapy - Many Choices for Psychotherapy Clients
Whether you're someone who seeks brief therapy, more open-ended psychodynamic treatment or something in between, there are so many different types of therapy today that you have many choices, including psychoanalysis, psychodynamic therapy, solution-focused therapy, cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT), EMDR, hypnotherapy, and Somatic Experiencing, to name just a few.

I usually recommend that people looking for a therapist trust their gut instincts when choosing a therapist.

See the link below for my article, "Psychotherapy: How to Choose a Psychotherapist" for more information.

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

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

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


Psychotherapy: How to Choose a Psychotherapist

Promises, Promises - Essays on Psychoanalysis and Literature - by Adam Phillips



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Martin Luther King Day of Service

Today is Martin Luther King Day of Service. Today is the a day when we commemorate Martin Luther King's life and legacy through volunteering our service in our communities. Martin Luther King, Jr. taught us that, through nonviolence and providing service to others, we can make a difference in advancing racial equality and social justice.
Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service
We honor Martin Luther King's memory by coming together with other volunteers to help with a variety of projects in our communities, including: collecting food and clothing, delivering meals, helping to clean up parks and other community areas, reading to children, helping the elderly, and many other projects.

This special day of service helps to remind us that we need not wait for a special day to volunteer our services. There are countless ways that we can provide service to others every day. Our service need not involve grand gestures. Even small gestures that are sincere, without expectation of recognition, can go a long way to helping others. You can contact your local community organizations to find out how you can help.

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi's ideas of nonviolence and selfless service were influential in Martin Luther King Jr.'s development and his success as a peace maker and civil rights leader. The tradition of nonviolence, ahimsa, is an important part of Indian culture and India's religions, including Hinduism and Buddhism. To find out more about Mahatma Gandhi, visit: http://www.gandhiserve.org.

Mahatma Gandhi
If you would like to find out more about what you can do, visit the Martin Luther King Day of Service web site where you can obtain more information about Martin Luther King's life and legacy and the Martin Luther King Day of Service: http://www.mlkday.gov.

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

I work with individual adults and couples.

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

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


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Overcoming Problems with Body Image: Food Restriction

Prior to the 1960s, the ideal body image for women was a full-figured woman with curves--think Mae West, Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren.  Then, came the Swinging 60s and Twiggy, and the ideal body image in fashion for women was very thin, almost boyish.  

The Changing Ideal Body Image for Women 
Eating disorders didn't start in the 1960s, but the proliferation of fashion magazine with images of Size 0 and Size 2 women as the ideal for women has exacerbated the problem greatly.  These ultra thin images of women are virtually unattainable for most women, but this doesn't stop a lot of women from trying to starve themselves--sometimes to death--to become thin.

Problems with Body Image and Food Restriction
Women in Certain Professions are More Prone to Eating Disorders
Certain professions, like acting, fashion, dance often inadvertently encourage women to be emaciated in order to get a role or a job.

Much has been written about anorexia and bulimia.  I'd like to focus this article on food restriction, which is a form of eating disorder that is less recognized than anorexia and bulimia and sometimes harder to detect by loved ones and even medical and mental health professionals.

Maladaptive Attempts at Gaining of Coping and Control
What all eating disorders have in common is that they're maladaptive attempts at coping, especially when the person engaging in food restriction feels out of control.  The need to feel in control is paramount for people with eating disorders.  When all else is out of control, controlling the amount and type of food ingested and maintained in the body is one way to feel in control.

Please note:  I'll be referring to women with food restriction issues, but psychotherapists and researchers are more aware now than before that men also have eating disorders, both heterosexual and gay men.

Food Restriction:  Not Just Your Average Dieting
When I refer to food restriction, I'm not just referring to a woman who is dieting to get down to a healthy weight.  Women who engage in food restriction, like other women with eating disorders, are usually obsessed with their food intake.  A lot of obsessive thought, time and effort goes into restricting food, counting calories, exercising, fasting and "cleansing."

Matters are made worse when these same women get compliments (from people who are unaware of the food restriction dynamic) for the weight that they've lost.  This reinforces their behavior and often makes them want to lose even more weight.

Food Restriction and Secrecy
Women who engage in food restriction will go to great lengths to keep the food restriction a secret.  They learn all different strategies to appear as if they're eating normal amounts of food when they're actually eating a lot less than is required to keep them healthy.

What Causes Eating Disorders?
The cause of this, as well as other eating disorders, can have many sources.  Often, somewhere early on, a parent might have made comments about the girl's body, possibly telling her that she's too fat or, somehow, implying that the ideal is to be thin.  I

In those cases, these girls grow feeling that being thin is equated with being loved.  Many women clients with eating disorders have told me that one of their parents told them as a child that they wouldn't meet a man if they were overweight or made other remarks that made them feel unattractive.

Often, there is no discernible cause for the eating disorder.

Adolescent Girls and Eating Disorders
For teenage girls, who might have been primed with these messages early on, adolescence, which brings changes in body image and hormonal changes, can be fraught with insecurities.   Developing breasts and curvy hips, especially when peers might not have developed in this way yet, can be a source of shame.  Add to this that our culture doesn't help girls to celebrate these changes, and you have a situation that is ripe for developing into an eating disorder for some girls.

Being away at college, away from the emotional support of loved ones, can also be a time when girls, who are prone to develop eating disorders, might engage in food restriction or other forms of eating disorders.

It isn't clear why some girls develop eating disorders and other girls, in similar situations, don't.  It's not unusual to discover that girls who develop eating disorders have mothers who either have a full fledged eating disorder or they are overly preoccupied with their weight.  But it's certainly not always the case.

Food restriction often goes hand in hand with anorexia and bulimia as well as excessive exercising.  All of these eating disorders are potentially dangerous, compromise a woman's health and, in extreme cases, they're sometimes fatal.  I'm thinking of women like Karen Carpenter.

Resources:  Getting Help
I've included a link below of a New York Times article in the Modern Love section by Cole Kazdin about her battle with an eating disorder.

I've also included a link for the Renfrew Center for people with eating disorders.  They have both inpatient and outpatient treatment.  There is an outpatient facility in NYC.  I have no personal or professional connection to Renfrew, but I have referred clients with eating disorders to both their inpatient facility in PA and their outpatient center in NYC with good results.

In addition, I've included a link for Overeaters Anonymous.  This is a 12 Step program for anyone with an eating disorder.  Even though it's called "overeaters," this 12 Step program provides support for anyone, women or men, with an eating disorder.  You can also obtain a one-on-one sponsor to provide support and guidance.

With Help There's Hope
Many women with eating disorders, including food restriction, have been helped by qualified mental health professionals.  If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, it's important to get both medical and psychological help as soon as possible.  Especially in cases of anorexia, where a woman might be delusional about being overweight when she's actually emaciated, it's also important to see a psychiatrist.  In some cases, it might be necessary to seek inpatient treatment to be stabilized.

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

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

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

Resources:
Chubby, Skinny, Accepting - Modern Love, NY Times  by Cole Kazdin

Renfrew Center


Overeaters Anonymous

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Psychotherapy Daily News: 1/20/13

Today's Psychotherapy Daily News is out with the latest news on mental health, health, science, the environment, education, technology and more.  I've written some of the articles and other articles are from various sources, including the New York Times, Psychiatric Times, Harvard Business Review and other sources.

Psychotherapy Daily News: 1/20/13 
Here are a list of just a few of the articles:

  • Self Soothing Techniques to Use When You're Distressed
  • Mother-Daughter Relationships:  Letting Go of Resentments
  • Listening to Your Inner Voice to Discover Your "Calling" in Life
  • Sitting is the Smoking of Our Generation
  • Video:  Yale OCD Research
  • Holly the Cat's Incredible Journey
You can stay informed about all the latest psychotherapy news by subscribing to Psychotherapy Daily News for free by going to the site and clicking on the subscribe link.

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

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

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

Subscribe to: Psychotherapy Daily News

Friday, January 18, 2013

People Who Abuse Alcohol Often Don't Get the Help They Need

People who abuse alcohol or who are alcohol dependent frequently don't get the help they need to overcome their alcoholism for variety of reasons.  For one thing, people who abuse alcohol are often in denial about their alcoholism.  They often don't admit their problem to themselves or to others who can help them.  Shame is a major factor in their denial.  They often tell themselves, "I can stop whenever I want to," which keeps them from admitting their problem or from getting help.

People Who Abuse Alcohol Often Don't Get the Help They Need

People with Alcohol Problems Are Often Good at Hiding Their Drinking
Even when people who abuse alcohol admit to themselves that they have a problem, they're often very invested in hiding their problem from loved ones, their employers, and even their doctors.

People With Alcohol Problems Are Often Good at Hiding Their Drinking


Doctors usually don't have the time and many are not knowledgeable enough about the signs of alcoholism to ask the right questions during routine exams (see link to article below).

Families Often Collude and Enable People with Alcohol Problems
Families often, either knowingly or unknowingly collude in the problem by enabling the person who is abusing alcohol.

People Who Abuse Alcohol Often Don't Get the Help They Need:  Family Problems
More than one spouse, who was married to a husband who abused alcohol, has told me that she would rather buy him the alcohol and maintain peace in the household rather than have the husband create havoc because he's craving alcohol he doesn't have.  One person told me, "Once he has his beer, he goes in the den, drinks, and he doesn't bother anybody."  Often, this sad state of affairs can go on for many years.

Employers Often Collude and Enable People with Alcohol Problems
It's not unusual for employers, who might recognize that an employee has a drinking problem, to look the other way.  When I was a human resources manager and I asked managers why they allowed a certain employee to continue to come to work drunk, I was often told something along the lines of, "Well, Joe is a good guy.  I didn't want to get him in trouble."

Untreated Alcoholism Can Cause Serious Medical Problems
What people often don't realize, and this includes the person who is abusing alcohol and the people in his or her life, is that untreated alcoholism can cause serious medical problems.  It can even be fatal.  Late stage alcoholism can include severe memory problems and other cognitive impairments.

Untreated Alcoholism Can Cause Serious Medical Problems

Alcoholism can lead to heart attack, stroke, and kidney and liver failure.  Alcoholism also often destroys families.  It is also one of the main causes of car accidents and vehicular homicide.  It costs companies millions in lost productivity.

Alcoholism is a Medical Condition--Not a Moral Issue
Even though we now know that alcoholism is a medical condition, many people, including people who abuse alcohol, still see alcoholism as a moral issue.  They think that it's a moral failure and a failure of will on the part of the person with alcohol problems.   But this couldn't be further from the truth.  We don't moralize about other medical conditions--like diabetes.  But people with alcohol problems are still blamed, and they blame themselves, for their medical condition.  This creates a great deal of shame, which keeps the person with alcohol problems from getting help.

Getting Help:  Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.)
Rather than blaming themselves and trying to "white knuckle it" through, people with alcohol problems need to talk to other people who understand what they're going through.  I am a big proponent of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.)

Getting Help:  Alcoholics Anonymous

Sober people who attend A.A. understand the challenges involved with giving up alcohol and leading a sober life.  They're there to offer support when the person who is contemplating sobriety takes his or her first tentative steps to getting sober.  They know it's hard, but they also know that it can be done.

I usually recommend that people who are new to A.A. attend a beginner's meeting.  There are often people there who volunteer to be interim sponsors to people who are new to the program because they know that it's hard for newcomers to ask for help.  They can help new people to work the 12 Steps, starting with the first step, often the hardest for many people, to admit powerlessness over alcohol.

Sometimes, A.A. isn't enough and the person who wants to get sober might need to go to either an intensive outpatient program or an inpatient program.  In NYC, I've found, over the years, that both the Parallax Center, which also does outpatient detox, and Inter-Care are both very good outpatient programs.  Both of them offer intensive treatment.

If you have an alcohol problem, don't wait until you've "hit bottom" and you've lost everything.  Get the help that you need.  I've included resources below that you might find helpful.

Resources:
Alcoholics Anonymous:  http://aa.org
Parallax Center:  http://parallaxcenter.com: (212) 779-9207
Inter-Care:  http://Inter-Care.com:  (212) 532-0303

Docs Frequently Fail to Sniff Out Boozers - by Katherine Harmon in Scientific American

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist.  I work with individual adults and couples.

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

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