NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Is Envy Ruining the Quality of Your Life?

Unrelenting envy can be a self destructive force that can ruin the quality of your life if you allow it.  it doesn't help that we're constantly being bombarded by messages in the media that we should be thinner, happier, younger looking, and more attractive, and if we're not, somehow, it's our own fault. 

All these messages can create an environment where we're constantly comparing ourselves to others who seem to have the qualities that we want and don't have.  It can lead us to a state of feeling that we don't measure up, leaving us to feel envious of others.

Successful Advertising Often Results in Our Feeling Dissatisfied
Successful advertising often results in our feeling dissatisfied with ourselves and wanting to have what we perceive others have which, in turn, leads to our going out and purchasing products or services in a never ending quest to have what we want.

Is Envy Ruining the Quality of Your Life?

Of course, advertising is not always the culprit that creates dissatisfaction in ourselves and envy of others.  In many instances, persistent messages , whether they were  explicit or implicit, from our families when we were growing up were that we  weren't good enough.  So, advertising and other forms of media often reinforce our own longstanding emotional insecurities.    

Envy:  It's Not About the Other Person--Its About You
The important thing to realize, when you're struggling with envy, is that it's not about the other person--it's about you.

When you're consumed by envy, it's often a sign that your self esteem is in the dumps. Clinical hypnosis is often effective in helping people get to the root of low self esteem and build self confidence.

Clinical hypnosis is not a "magic bullet cure."  It's not something that "done to you." It's therapeutic work.  When hypnosis is successful, you can discover what's holding you back and work on overcoming it.  

Passing Moments of Envy vs a Pervasive Pattern of Feeling Envious
We all have passing moments of envy.  Often, these are fleeting experiences.  But if you find yourself in a state of constantly comparing yourself unfavorably with others and envying them for what you feel you don't have, you owe it to yourself to explore the source of your low self esteem.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist who specializes in interactive, dynamic psychotherapy, clinical hypnosis, EMDR, and Somatic Experiencing. 

I work with individual adults and couples.

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

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

On Being Alone

In psychotherapy literature, much has been written about the unique experience that individuals have about being alone.  Donald Winnicott, the British Object Relations psychoanalyst and pediatrician, talked about the experiences of the infant who was able to tolerate times of being alone because she had an internalized sense of being alone and yet feeling the loving presence of the mother in the background.  

When things go well for the infant, this "good enough" mother is sensed as an internalized experience of nurturing that remains with the infant even when the mother isn't in sight, so the infant doesn't feel abandoned.

"Wounded Aloneness"
Michael Eigen, Ph.D., American psychoanalyst, talks about "wounded aloneness" in his latest book, "Contact with the Depths."  When the infant is unable to internalize a nurturing mother, for whatever reason, the infant experiences moments of  being alone as being abandoned, fraught with fear.  Of course, the baby has no language to express this fear, which probably is terrifying.  We know now that, contrary to former beliefs, we're not born like blank slates.  We respond and interact with our environment.  We know now about the neuroplasticity of the brain and the importance of these early experiences to the infant's developing mind.

On Being Alone

As adults, how we experience being alone is often based on these early experiences.  If the overall early experience was "good enough" in a Winnicottian sense, all things being equal, we can tolerate and even enjoy being alone for periods of time. 

We can maintain an internal sense of loving friends and family, even though they're not with us physically.  This doesn't mean that we never feel lonely.  Everyone, no matter what your early experiences have been, experiences loneliness at various times.  But, overall, being alone is, at worst, a neutral experience and, at best, a time to regroup, relax, and renew onself.

Feelings of "wounded aloneness" can lead to depression, anxiety, alcoholism, drug addiction, sex addiction, and other forms of addictive and compulsive behavior in an effort to comfort oneself.  The drink or the drug becomes the "friend" that is so hard to give up.  It's the friend who's always there, "reliable."   

When psychotherapy is going well, when there's a good match between the therapist and client, there can be a repair to "wounded aloneness."  It doesn't happen over night.  A sense of trust must be established first.  After a time, the client learns to internalize the therapist.

Even when the therapist isn't around or even after therapy has ended, when therapy is successful, the client maintains a sense of the therapist.   There are many times when I still think of my first analyst, who has been dead for more than 20 years, and remember things he said, a look, a gesture, or helpful advice.  

In many ways, my experience of him is stronger now than at any other time in my life.  This is a common experience for many people who've had good experiences in therapy.  

We used to think that trauma and experiences of neglect and abuse did irreparable damage to children and that the best one could do is accept one's fate as an adult to remain wounded and feeling emotionally damaged.  

Fortunately, we now know that it's possible to change, heal, grow and overcome early deficits.  

Getting Help in Therapy
There are many ways to heal emotionally.  Psychotherapy is one way.   If being alone for you is a hurtful and retraumatizing experience, help is available to you.  

Working with a therapist you feel comfortable with can be a life changing experience.  Often, beginning the process can be the hardest part.  

But it can also set you on a new journey, opening up a new world for you, if you allow it.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist.  Dynamic, interactive talk therapy, EMDR, clinical hypnosis, and Somatic Experiencing are among my specialties.  

I work with individual adults and couples.

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

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.