NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Are You "Keeping Busy" to Avoid Painful Emotions?

People often try to avoid experiencing painful emotions by constantly "keeping busy."  To suppress their sadness, anger or other uncomfortable emotions, they keep themselves in a state of constant distraction.

Are You "Keeping Busy" to Avoid Painful Emotions?

The amount of emotional and physical energy that it takes to stay on the go and suppress these uncomfortable feelings can be enough to exhaust anyone.  And, in the end, it serves no real purpose, except as a delaying tactic.  In the end, these emotions remain in the body, and they can manifest in a compromised immune system and, possibly, illness.

Well-meaning friends and family members sometimes give unhelpful advice
Over and over, I hear my psychotherapy clients tell me that their well-meaning friends and family members have advised them to "keep busy," even when the clients begin feeling worse by all this extra activity.  This often goes along with the advice, "Just put it behind you" before the person has had a chance to experience an uncomfortable emotion.

When you're upset, it's easy to think that your natural inclination to take time for yourself is, somehow, "wrong" and your friends and family are right about staying busy.  Then, eventually, when you can't sustain it, you might feel like there's something wrong with you.  

You wonder, "Why can't I do this?"  Well, you can't do it because it's not what you were meant to do in order to take care of yourself.

Feel the emotions, without the need for constant distraction, as part of self care
Whether the emotions are about the death of a spouse, a divorce, the loss of a job or any other unfortunate event, you need to feel your emotions without being made to feel that there is something wrong with you.  

There's no way to avoid painful feelings
Somewhere along the way, as a society determined to pursue life, liberty and the state of happiness, we seemed to have come away thinking that we should never feel any uncomfortable emotions.   

And if we do, these emotions should be stamped out as quickly as possible.  And, yet, when we look at the course of a long life, we can see that it's made up of a combination of joy and pain.  There's no way to avoid it.

When we try to avoid feeling painful emotions, we prolong the pain
When we attempt to avoid feeling painful emotions, we actually end up prolonging the pain rather than just feeling the emotions and, when the time is right, releasing them.  

A friend's experience of trying to avoid feeling the pain
Many years ago, a friend, whose husband left her unexpectedly for another woman, was trying to follow her sister's advice to stay constantly "keeping busy."  (My friend gave me permission to write about her experience because she thought it would be helpful to others.)

Her sister came to my friend's home, dragged her out to dinners and movies.  Whenever my weary friend would ask me about this, I would tell her that I didn't think it was a good idea for her to exhaust herself in this way--that she needed time to herself.  But, after years of accommodating herself to others, she felt that she couldn't let her sister down.  She didn't want to seem ungrateful, so she went along with it.  

A few weeks after the marital separation, her sister wanted to host a dinner party for my friend, hoping to cheer her up.  Once again, my friend asked me what she should do.  Seeing how exhausted and irritated she looked, I asked her what she thought it would be like for her.  

After she thought about it for a few seconds, she broke down in tears.  The pressure felt overwhelming.  She summoned her courage, called her sister and rejected the idea.  

Then, my friend went home and, for the first time since her husband left her, she cried. Afterwards, she experienced a wave of relief.  Then, a day or so later, the next wave of pain and disbelief about her situation came over her again.  Rather than resist the pain, each time she felt the next wave, she went with it and she released it.  

A week or so later, she began to feel a surge of rage about what her husband did.  She punched pillows.  She yelled.  She cried.  She called to vent, and she allowed herself to release the emotions in a way that felt right for her.  She also used this surge of angry energy to get organized and to hire an attorney to protect her interests. 

After a while, she came to accept that her sadness and anger came in waves and, although it was excruciatingly painful at times, she felt better allowing herself to feel her emotions rather than suppress them.  After several months passed, she was able to look back and notice that her pain was not as great as it had been at the beginning.  

Of course, everyone's experience with painful emotions will be different.  Just know that there's nothing wrong with you if you don't feel like immediately going out dancing after a significant loss.

You don't have to go along with what others think is best for you, and you don't have to run from your feelings.

You don't always have to be engaged in constant activity.  Sometimes, you just need to be still.

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 website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

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

Friday, October 19, 2012

Are You Gazing at the Sky Through a Straw?

Sharon Salzberg, cofounder of the Insight Meditation Center in Barre, MA, writes in her autobiographical book, Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience, that Buddhists have an expression that they use called "gazing at the sky through a straw." She says this expression is a metaphor for holding onto narrow, fixed beliefs and allowing these beliefs to become the whole of our existence. 

Expand Your Vision

Rather than seeing the vastness and beauty of the sky, when we gaze at the sky through a straw, we only see a very small part of the sky and yet we think we see all of it. We don't realize that we're depriving ourselves.

I enjoy reading about people's personal quests, and I'm enjoying reading about Ms. Salzberg's quest.  She writes about overcoming childhood trauma through her explorations in meditation and Buddhism. She also discusses how, at first, she clung to her particular beliefs because they helped her to feel secure, and how she had to learn to be more open and questioning about her beliefs lest they become dogma.

Compassion and Empathy
While reading this book, I've begun thinking about what it means when we become rigid in our beliefs and ways of doing things. In telling the story of her personal evolution, Ms. Salzberg provides an excellent example of why people often hold rigidly to their particular ways, and how they can feel threatened by other people's views. We see this every day in our personal encounters with people as well as in our own government where adherence to rigid beliefs has created gridlock in our Congress, and we see it internationally between countries.  We can see it in ourselves.

If you're dealing with someone who has rigid beliefs that are creating tension between you and this person, it's not enough to tell them, "Don't be so rigid" or "Chill out." It's much more helpful to take a moment, step back and try to understand what this person's particular stance means in the context of his or her life. Then, even if you don't agree, you might still feel some empathy and compassion for this person.  You can also look at your own struggles with rigidity and feel compassion for yourself.

My Uncle Joe:
While reading Faith," I thought about my Uncle Joe. My Uncle Joe passed away from a sudden heart attack at the young age of 43. But when he was alive, he was "the rock" of my father's family. Although he wasn't the oldest, he might as well have been. He was the one that everyone depended on.

As a young man, he had never been away from home until he was drafted into the Army during World War II. Both he and my father were sent to the South Pacific where, undoubtedly, they saw unspeakable atrocities. "Unspeakable" being the operative word because neither he nor my father ever spoke about the war. When Uncle Joe came back from the war, he moved back in with my grandparents and his brothers. Having experienced the war in the South Pacific, I think he felt secure coming home to the household traditions in my grandparents' home.

Uncle Joe was a very kind and generous person. If you came to visit him and you complimented him on something that he had (whether it was a set of cuff links or a new clock), he would insist that you have it.

I'll never forget the time that one of his cousins, Junior, admired a new vacuum cleaner that Uncle Joe had just bought. Actually, I think all that Junior said was, "Oh, that's nice." 

No sooner had the words left Junior's mouth than my Uncle Joe was trying to put the vacuum cleaner in Junior's hands, insisting that he have it. Junior was red-faced with embarrassment because he never meant to say that he wanted it. And there were the two of them pushing and pulling this vacuum cleaner back and forth, each one insisting that the other have it. Finally, Junior said his goodbyes to all of us very quickly and he practically ran out the door with my Uncle Joe still insisting that he wanted him to have the vacuum cleaner.

When we were younger, my cousins and I didn't know that the sumptuous Sunday dinners at my grandparents' house were provided courtesy of Uncle Joe. As children, we never thought of such things. In many ways, we took for granted the loving, nurturing, child-centered environment in my grandparents' home. It was all that we ever knew so how could we think that it could ever be different?

In many ways, we were protected as children. As hard as it may be to believe (and even I can't believe it myself when I think about it now), as children, we never knew that my grandmother was suffering with cancer. She had an indomitable spirit. 

She was always cooking and entertaining, welcoming people into her home, piling more food on their plates and filling their glasses. Sometimes, we would see her sleeping at the table and if she caught one us looking at her, she would say, "I'm just resting my eyes." When I look at old pictures of her now, I can see the dark rings under her eyes and how tired she looked, probably from the chemo. I can look back on it now and see that, had it not been for Uncle Joe helping my grandmother, our world would have been much different.

But as generous as he was, Uncle Joe also had very fixed ideas about what was right and what was wrong and how things should be done. So, for instance, during the week, he often cooked for his parents and his brothers. After he cooked, he would label each meal as either "Monday," "Tuesday," "Wednesday" and so on. It was a running joke in our family that if his brother, Al, wanted to annoy him, he would eat Tuesday's meal on Monday or eat Wednesday's meal on Tuesday.

My grandparents would tease Uncle Joe about this, but he would really get seriously upset if the meals were eaten out of order. Looking back on it now, I think that, for him, having that kind of rigid order helped him to feel secure: In a crazy world where, as a young man, you might suddenly find yourself one day in a foreign country killing other young men that you didn't even know, these simple things were things that you could count on. I think it represented stability and security to him, just like going to the same Mass every Sunday (9 AM and never 10 AM or 11 AM) or leaving for work at the post office at the same exact time every day.

He also never left the security of my grandparent's home. My grandfather died a year after my grandmother died, and my Uncle Joe died from a sudden heart a year after that. For someone who needed so much for things to remain the same, I can't help thinking that, aside from a history of heart problems among the men on my father's side of the family, my Uncle Joe also died in part because he couldn't tolerate that his world was turned upside down after my grandparents died. He was bereft without them.

I think that, for my Uncle Joe, who needed desperately for things to remain the same, he feared change. Change meant that the rug could be pulled out from underneath him at any time. He came back from the war during a time when no one really knew about post-traumatic stress disorder. They called it being "shell shocked" and there was no real treatment for it, not like there is today with the advent of EMDR and other forms of therapy that are specifically for trauma.

Fear and Clinging to Rigid Beliefs:
Reading Faith and remembering my Uncle Joe, and other people that I've known in my life, reminds me to have empathy and compassion for people who cling to their beliefs and who might be disparaging of others who hold different beliefs. When people need to cling to their beliefs and denigrate others, underneath it all, they're afraid. They might not even realize that they're afraid, but fear can be a powerful emotion. Fear can motivate us to change or it can make us run or it can freeze us in our tracks into stultifying rigidity.

If you find that you're "gazing at the sky through a straw," you might ask yourself whether fear might be keeping you from living more fully with more openness and flexibility. Trauma often causes people to feel fearful and avoidant. Trauma comes in many forms, not just the type of post-traumatic stress that we usually associate with war.

Getting Help in Therapy
If you feel stuck because of fear and insecurity, you're not alone, and you could benefit from seeing a licensed psychotherapist who has expertise in this area.

About Me
I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist. 

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.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Being in the Present Moment

Most of us tend to lead such busy lives that we're either focused on the past or projecting our thoughts into the future, often losing sight of the present moment. When our focus is either primarily on the past or in the future, so much of what is going on in the present can pass us by. This often robs our lives of meaning and can lead to unnecessary worry and rumination.

Being in the Present Moment

How Can We Learn to be in the Present Moment?
For many people, learning to be in the present moment can be a challenge. Unfortunately, most of us are not taught this skill as children, especially if we're raised in a household that is very goal oriented. When the focus is almost exclusively goal oriented, the emphasis tends to be on "the next thing" rather than on the present.

While there are certainly advantages to having goals in term of giving our lives direction, if we only focus on goals, we're often robbed of what's meaningful and rich in the present moment. Conversely, if our focus is primarily on the past, beyond learning from our experiences and understanding how we arrived at our current circumstances, we can get stuck and paralyzed looking backwards.

Start with Small Steps
When we're learning to make fundamental changes, we can start by taking small steps. So, this might mean taking breaks in the middle of our day, finding a quiet and private moment, closing our eyes and focusing on our breath. You don't need to know how to do any special breathing exercises. Just the act of focusing on your breath can slow down your heart rate and help you to relax.

While you're focusing on your breath, you can notice the quality of the air coming through your nostrils, whether the air feels cool or warm, dry or moist, how it feels as you take air into your lungs and feel your lungs expanding. Then, as you exhale, feeling all the stress and strain of the day leaving your body. Breathe normally and focus on whatever sensations you feel in your body.

In this way, you develop a mindful approach towards de-stressing and learning to be in the present moment. This might only take a few minutes, if that's all the time that you have or, if you can do this in a more leisurely manner, you might take more time.

Usually, you're likely to find that just the act of noticing your breath can be relaxing and refreshing. The challenging part is remembering to do it so you can do it on a regular basis.

Attending a yoga class, if you're able, can also be a wonderful way to be in the moment. As your yoga teacher gives you instructions about the poses, you're very focused on following his or her instructions, including the precise placement of your body in the pose. Usually, whatever you might have been worrying about before yoga class no longer preoccupies your mind because you're very focused on the yoga poses and the coordinated breathing that goes with the pose. Afterwards, most people feel relaxed and have an overall sense of well being.

If you think you might like to learn to meditate and you're new to meditation, you can get CDs that appeal to you with guided meditations. You might find that you have "monkey mind," a tendency for your thoughts to wander from one topic to the next, similar to a monkey jumping from one tree top branch to the next. But that's okay. As each thought comes into your mind, you can notice it and just let it go, like clouds that are passing in the sky.

Getting out into nature and really noticing the sights, sounds, and scents around you can also be a wonderful way to be in the present moment. This doesn't require any special skills. You just need to be present and take in what's around you.

People who know how to be in the present moment usually discover that when they return to whatever task or issue that they were concerned about before, they come back to it refreshed and much more creative than if they just continued to plod on.

As a psychotherapist in NYC, I encourage my clients to develop both internal and external resources, including being able to visualize in their mind's eye a safe or relaxing place. If they can't visualize a safe or relaxing place, I encourage them to think about a person, pet, symbol, spiritual being (if this has meaning for them) that gives them comfort and use that in their visualization.

Each of us can learn to develop our own preferred way to be in the present moment and, in doing so, discover a sense of contentment and gratitude.

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 website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

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

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Reclaiming Your Creativity

Many clients have come to see me over the years in my psychotherapy private practice in NYC to overcome creative psychological blocks.  These include writers, actors, artists, singers, and other people in the creative fields.  Often, the psychotherapy work involves reclaiming a creative aspect of themselves.

A Creative Block

What Does "Reclaiming Your Creativity" Mean?
The following vignette, which is a composite of many psychotherapy cases to protect confidentiality, is an example of a creative psychological block and how this client was able to reclaim his creativity:

John, who is in his late 30s, is a short story writer.  At the point when he came to see me, he was struggling to complete a book of his short stories.  Every time he sat down at his computer to work on his stories, he was plagued by crushing self doubt.   He would stare at the computer screen for a long time while thoughts swirled around his head, "Who do you think you are, trying to write stories?," "No one's interested in what you have to say," "You can't write" and so on.  After a while, John would walk away from his work, pace around the room, and distract himself with something else before he went back to his writing to try again.

When John came to see me, this pattern was going on for months.  He was feeling more and more anxious and frustrated, and he feared he would never be able to write again.  Accomplished writers that John respected had looked over his work, and they encouraged him to complete the book.  But John was stuck.  He couldn't stop the critical voices in his head long enough to do any more work.

After several sessions of obtaining his personal history, which included an overly critical father who denigrated John's writing as a child, we used a combination of clinical hypnosis and Somatic Experiencing techniques to help John overcome the negative thoughts that kept him creatively blocked. The work wasn't easy for John because there were layers of trauma where John's father shamed him mercilessly.  But over time, John learned to overcome his negative thoughts so they no longer defeated him.  He also developed more confidence and he eventually completed his book and went on to other creative endeavors.

Psychological Blocks Can Occur in Any Endeavor
You don't have to be a writer or an artist to struggle with your creativity.  We all use our creativity every day to come up with ideas and solve problems in our lives.  Self doubt can be just as stifling no matter what you do, draining away your self confidence.  Often, these critical thoughts have their origins in childhood, and as a adults we re-experience them in the form of psychological blocks:
  • the singer whose voice closes up on her when she goes for an audition
  • the office manager who feels like he's about to choke, literally, when he has to give a presentation at work
  • the supervisor who has been asked to come up with a solution to a work problem who feels like she's in a mental fog whenever she and her boss talk about the problem
  • the job applicant who suddenly can't think of his accomplishments when the interviewer asks him about them
  • the broadcast journalist whose presentation is fine--except when she goes on air and she stammers through the broadcast

A Psychological Block to a Solving an Office Problem

Psychological Blocks Can Be Overcome with Clinical Hypnosis and Somatic Experiencing
Psychological blocks can be overcome with a combination of clinical hypnosis and Somatic Experiencing.  No two clinical cases are alike and there's no way to say in advance how the problem will be resolved.  Much will depend on the individual's personal history, the type of problem, if there is trauma involved, and how the individual processes in treatment.  For some people, the problem can be resolved in a matter of months, and for other people it might take longer.  But, generally speaking, I've found the combination of clinical hypnosis and Somatic Experiencing to be much more effective than just regular talk therapy.

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 website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

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

Photo Credits (in order of appearance):
photo credit: miguelavg via photopin cc
photo credit: drewleavy via photopin cc

Friday, October 12, 2012

Moving Out of Your Comfort Zone

Staying within your comfort zone can feel very safe. When you're in your comfort zone, you usually don't have to worry about making mistakes, taking risks or making other people feel uncomfortable. You can go along, as you always have, and continue doing what you've always done and get the same results or you can make changes to move out of your comfort zone.

Moving Out of Your Comfort Zone

Here is a vignette, which is a composite of many cases: 

Donald has been working at the same job as marketing rep for five years. He began as an intern and was hired soon after college. Initially, he was excited about his job. However, over time, he's learned the job so well that it's no longer challenging. The company is small and there are few opportunities for advancement. Add to this that Donald lacks confidence to advocate for himself to get a raise or to do more interesting work and you can see why he's in a rut.

His supervisor moved to a larger, more prestigious company a few months ago. Before he left, he told Donald to call him about possible openings at this company. But Donald has been procrastinating, making excuses to himself as to why he doesn't pick up the phone and call his former supervisor.

Then, one day, one of Donald's colleagues, who started at the same time and at the same level as Donald, told him that he had exciting news--he contacted their former supervisor and was hired as a marketing manager for a lot more money and better benefits. Donald congratulated him and wished him well but, inwardly, he berated himself for not calling their former supervisor and getting that job. He knew that he was far more knowledgeable and had better skills than his colleague, but he missed out because he allowed himself to stagnate in his comfort zone. He felt frustrated and stuck, and he didn't know what to do to get out of his rut.

If you would like to branch out, but you feel stuck in your comfort zone, ask yourself these questions to clarify what's holding you back:
  • What do you really want in your life that you don't have now?
  • What are the self-limiting fears that are keeping you from having what you want?
  • What are you afraid will happen if you move out of your comfort zone?
  • Are you living up to other people's expectations rather than doing what you really want?
Moving out of your comfort zone doesn't mean doing things that you're really not ready to do. For instance, if you just started taking yoga classes and you admire how some of the more advanced students can do head stands, it doesn't mean that you should try to do this as a beginner before you're ready. First, you need to learn the basics and develop your abilities to the point where you and your yoga teacher both feel that you can begin to do preparatory work for the head stand--otherwise you could injure yourself.

So, moving out of your comfort zone doesn't mean being foolhardy. Moving out of your comfort zone can be as simple as taking the next step--whatever the next step might be. So, if you've been doing yoga for a little while and your teacher encourages you to go a little deeper into a posture because she can see that you can do this safely without injuring yourself, but you decide to stay at your current level rather than work a little harder, then you're keeping yourself stagnant in your comfort zone and you won't progress.

Taking Steps to Making Changes
Small steps can lead to big changes. So, for instance, if you're afraid of public speaking, but you know it would help you to present your ideas to your boss and the senior staff, taking a public speaking class or working with a coach might be the small step you need to take in order to take the next step that could help you advance.

For most people, as they challenge themselves by taking steps outside of their comfort zone, they build confidence, and this can create an upward spiral.

Getting Help in Therapy
If you find yourself stuck in your comfort zone, you could benefit from consulting with a psychotherapist or coach to help you advance to the next step and, ultimately, help you to get what you want in your life.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist. I have helped many clients to move out of their comfort zone to lead more fulfilling lives.

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.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Keeping a Gratitude Journal

A gratitude journal is a daily diary where you write about the people, places and events in your life that you feel grateful about.

Keeping a Gratitude Journal

It can change your perspective about your life and the world around you, especially when you are feeling down or if you have developed a habit of looking at yourself and the world in a negative way.

It's Easy to Keep a Gratitude Journal
At the end of the day, write down 5 things that you feel grateful about. At first, you might feel that this would be a waste of time, but I invite you to do it for a week.

Even if, at first, you come up with 2 things, overtime, as you continue this process, you will probably begin to notice that you will start to come up with more and more items to write in your daily gratitude journal.

Your journal entries can be as basic as being grateful for the food you eat, your clothing, that you have a roof over your head or that you are alive.

How Can Keeping a Gratitude Journal Help You?
Keeping a gratitude journal helps you to be more aware of your view of yourself and the world around you:
  • Do you tend to see things as being mostly negative? 
  • Is the glass always half empty rather than half full? 
  • Do you tend to engage in all or nothing thinking? 
  • Are you overlooking the blessings in your life, no matter how simple they might be? 
  • Have you taken for granted friends and family who are loving and supportive?
As your awareness expands with your gratitude journal, you will probably begin to learn to let go of negative patterns of thinking that have held you back.

You may begin to feel more inspired to open yourself up to new opportunities. This is not about being a Pollyanna.

Remember, this is a process. Many of my clients have used the gratitude journal with success. It has helped them to overcome old negative habits that have kept them stuck and allowed them to have more of what they want in their lives.

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 website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

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

Using Your Imagination as a Powerful Tool for Change

Imagination as a Powerful Tool for Change
Your imagination can be a powerful tool that can be used creatively for making positive changes in your life, solving problems, writing prose, poetry or music, and countless other endeavors. If you allow your mind the freedom to be creative, your imagination can come up with limitless possibilities.

Your Imagination is a Powerful Tool for Change

What Does the Word "Imagination" Mean to You?
Unfortunately, the word "imagination" has a negative meaning for many people.  Often, this begins in early childhood.  Many adults, especially parents and teachers, without realizing it, discourage children from using their imagination.  They tell children, "Stop daydreaming" and "It was only you're imagination."  After a while, these children come to think of imagination as something "bad" or "wrong" rather than seeing it as a creative tool.

How Do You Use Your Imagination?
We use our imagination all the time, often without being aware of it.

The real question is how you use your imagination: Do you use it as a creative tool that can help you to grow and develop or do you use it in a negative way that causes you worry and emotional pain?

Observing yourself and seeing how you use your imagination in your life can help you to understand if you tend to use it in an optimistic or a pessimistic manner.

How would your imagination react to the following scenarios:

Your boss tells you that she wants to see you in her office now. As you're walking to her office, are you imagining yourself getting fired? If so, how would you feel if you found out that you were getting a promotion and a raise?

The new person you've been dating leaves a message on your voicemail that he'd like to talk to you right away. Do you imagine that he's calling to break up with you? If so, how would you feel if, when you called back, he told you that his friend, who had to work late, gave him free orchestra seats to see a play tonight that you've been wanting to see and he's inviting you to go with him?

You wake up on a Monday morning and as you lay in bed, you begin to anticipate your day.  Where do your thoughts go?  Do you imagine all the bad things that could happen this day?  Does your imagination automatically come up with the different things that could go wrong?  Or do you see it as a new day with possibilities of new opportunities?  And if you imagined a bad day and it actually turns out to be a very good day, how does this affect you?  Does this cause you to question how you think or do you minimize this day (and all your good days) as exceptions.

Changing How You Use Your Imagination
If you think about situations that have actually occurred in your life where you imagined negative outcomes but were pleasantly surprised by positive outcomes, you can begin to become aware of your particular pattern of using your imagination.

Whenever a particular situation comes up, notice where you mind goes. Write it down. After a while, if you notice a pattern that you don't like, you might decide you want to change your way of thinking. If so, as a first step, you can begin to challenge yourself about your negative imagination and begin to consider positive outcomes instead.

For some people who have had emotional trauma, using negative imagination becomes a habitual way of thinking because they feel it helps to prepare them for the worst case scenario each time. This is a common reaction to trauma.

The problem is that focusing on the worst case scenario all of the time doesn't really help and, in many cases, it gets in the way because these people are always anticipating emotional pain and going over painful scenarios in their lives. So, even when something good happens, it's hard for them to enjoy life because they're immersed in their negative imagination. For people with a history of lot of painful experiences, it can be very difficult to change this pattern on their own without help from a licensed mental health professional who works with trauma.

From Imagination to Action
Of course, even if you use your imagination in the most positive and creative ways, you still need to take action.  Here's where a lot of people get stuck.  They might have wonderful daydreams about how they'll change their lives, but they don't take the necessary steps to make it happen.  Emotional obstacles  get in the way.

Getting Help - Clinical Hypnosis and Somatic Experiencing
If you would like to use your imagination as a creative tool to make changes in your life, you could benefit from seeing a licensed psychotherapist who is trained in clinical hypnosis (also known as hypnotherapy) and Somatic Experiencing.  Clinical hypnosis and Somatic Experiencing are a powerful combination that allow you to access your internal world to make changes.

To find out more about clinical hypnosis, visit:  American Society for Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH).

To find out more about Somatic Experiencing, visit:  Somatic Experiencing Training Institute

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist.  I work with individual adults and couples.  I have helped many clients to overcome habitual negative thinking and patterns of negative imagination so they can lead more fulfilling lives.

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

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

Photo Credit:  photo credit: jaci XIII via photopin cc

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wellness: Learning to Visualize in Meditation

If you've been following the last couple of posts, you'll know that I've been focusing on meditation. In the last post, I explored the Safe Place Meditation where you imagine engaging as many of your senses as you can in a relaxing place of your choice.

The Challenge of Visualizing During Meditation
For many people, visualizing during meditation can be a challenge. When they close their eyes and try to visualize, nothing comes and they might feel discouraged. If this happens to you, the good news is that you can practice and improve your visualization skills. If you're patient, it usually gets better with practice over time.

The Challenge of Visualizing During Meditation
Visualization Exercises
One way to practice is to take a simple object, like an apple, and use that to practice. 

For instance, if you're using a red apple, place it in front of you, at eye level, if possible. Now, notice the color. Really notice the quality of the red. Is it a deep rich red or a lighter red? Are there other colors on your apple? Maybe your apple is also partly green. Notice what kind of green it is. 

Now, notice the size and shape of the apple. Is it short and round in the middle and flat at the top and bottom or is it wider at the top, round in the middle and narrow at the bottom? Is the stem still attached? Are there any bruises on the apple. 

Take your time. Spend a few minutes looking at the apple. Now, close your eyes, take a couple of deep breaths and picture your apple. If nothing comes, open your eyes and focus on the color again. Practice doing this a few times. A lot will depend on how much you can relax.

As your power to visualize improves, you can try other objects (sea shells, flowers, and whatever other objects you like). You can also use photographs of people's faces. The process would be the same--focus on the picture, notice the features, and then close your eyes and "see" the face from the picture.

You might try visualizing a sea shell

As I've mentioned before, visualizing usually gets better with practice so don't get discouraged. Let yourself have fun with this. Allow your playful side to come out and enjoy visualizing.

You Might Have Other Sense Experiences 
The other important thing to realize is that you might have other skills, aside from visualizing, that work for you.  For instance, some people are very good at having a felt sense in their bodies.  Other people can imagine in their "mind's ear" hearing music.  What's important is not which sense is most dominant for you, but that you have a sense that you can use to help you to relax and meditate.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR 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 (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.

Also, see my article:  Wellness: Meditation 

Wellness: Safe Place Meditation

In the prior post, Wellness and Meditation I explored basic meditative techniques. I suggested that you can start by focusing on your breath.

Safe Place Meditation

Safe Place Meditation
As I mentioned in the prior post, there are many different types of meditation. One type of meditation that I usually teach clients is called the Safe Place meditation, which I'll explore in this post.

Now, "safe" is a relative term. For some people, possibly due to their history of trauma, there might not be anywhere that they can visualize that would be "safe." So, if you're not comfortable with the words "safe place," you can think of it as a relaxing, peaceful place. Over time, practice usually makes it easier.

As I mentioned in the prior post, assuming that you're in a good place to meditate (never when you're drving or when you need to be fully alert), start by closing your eyes and focusing on your breath. After a few relaxing breaths, picture a relaxing, peaceful place. It might be a beach or your favorite place in the countryside or wherever it feels most relaxing to you.

Whatever place you choose, look around in your mind's eye and notice what's there--the colors, shapes and patterns of things around you. Really take time to notice. 

Then, notice what sounds you "hear" in this place. So, if you're at the beach, maybe you hear the sound of the waves as they crash along the shore or maybe you hear the sea gulls as they fly over the water. 

Then, just notice any scents you might "smell." Once again, if you're at the beach, maybe you smell the salt from the water. 

You might also "taste" the salt. Notice any sensations you might "feel." At the beach, you might feel the breeze coming off the water or the coolness of the water against your toes or maybe you feel the gentle heat from the sun warming your body.

If any distracting thoughts come to mind, as they often do for most people, just notice them and let them go. Let them drift by like clouds passing by overhead. 

When you're ready to return, take a couple of deep breaths. You can wiggle your fingers or toes so that you're alert and fully present in your environment. Then, open your eyes.

Meditation Practice
Meditation takes practice. If you have difficulty visualizing or imagining using your other senses, don't worry about it. It usually becomes easier over time. 

In the meantime, enjoy the Safe Place meditation.

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

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

Please feel free to call me at (917) 742-2624 or email me to set up an appointment.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Stressful Workplace? Remember to Breathe

In a prior blog post, I discussed the boss who is a bully in the workplace (Are You a Bully at Work?).  I'd like to focus today on stress management in a stressful work environment. 

Aside from bullying bosses, there are many other potential stressors that can be detrimental to your health, well being, and your relationships with your loved ones. Knowing what works for you with regard to destressing is crucial when you work in a stressful work environment.

Stressful Workplace? Remember to Breathe

Stress at Work
For many people who are fortunate enough to have a job in this long recession, the fear of losing one's job is never far away. Even if you work in the most ideal work environment with the most supportive boss and congenial coworkers, given the economy, the potential for losing your job is a common workplace stressor.

I've often heard people these days talk about being extra cautious about taking off sick days. Other people become anxious, when they go on vacation, about what might go wrong with their projects while they're away.

Some people have even shortened their vacations because they're too anxious to stay away from the workplace for any length of time. When we look at this in a calmer, more rational way, we can see this is counterproductive. But for someone who fears that something bad could come up while he or she is away, this is a very real dilemma. So, given our current economic times, you can be under a lot of stress even in the most even the ideal workplace setting.

But most people aren't working in ideal workplace settings. They're dealing with difficult or bullying bosses or uncooperative coworkers and a myriad of other workplace stressors. So, no matter what type of workplace you go to every workday, it's essential that you have a stress management regime that works for you. Finding out what works best for you might take some exploration, trial and error, and an openness to trying new things.

Square Breathing to De-stress at Work
One simple thing that anyone can do is to remember to breathe. I know that, on the face of it, this might sound odd. After all, we all have to breathe in order to survive. But many people, without realizing it, hold their breathe for periods of time or they breathe in a way that's so shallow that they're not getting enough oxygen into their systems. Poor breathing habits can cause panic attacks. A steady flow of breathing can help you to discharge stressful energy.

Stressful Workplace? Remember to Breathe

I often recommend to clients that they practice rhythmic breathing where they breathe in to the count of 4, hold for 4, breathe out for 4, and then hold out to the count of 4, and then repeat the cycle of a few more times. This is called Square Breathing. The count doesn't so much matter--you can do it to the count of 5 or 6 or whatever feels comfortable that's more than 4. The important thing is to do all breathing in, out, and holding to the same count.

People are often amazed at how calming this can be. And, it's relatively easy so most people can do it fairly easily.

Developing your own ways to destress in a stressful workplace is essential. Square Breathing is one technique that can help.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, Somatic Experiencing and EMDR 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 (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.

Also see my blog post:  An Internal Retreat 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Learning to Relax: Going on an Internal Retreat

Learning to Relax:  Going on an Internal Retreat

Taking time to yourself to relax is an important part of self care, especially for people who spend most of their time taking care of others.  Generally, when we think of retreats, we think of going away somewhere to get away from everything.  

Places like Omega in Rhinebeck, NY or Kripalu in Lenox, MA offer retreats for people who want to relax and get away from it all for a day, a weekend or longer.   

But there are times when we can't get a way to a spa or a weekend retreat.  So, can we get some of the benefits of going on a retreat without actually going anywhere?

What is a "retreat"?
Let's first look at the definition of the word "retreat."

Here are some common definitions:

     "a place of privacy; a place affording peace and quiet"

     "move away, as for privacy"

     "hideaway: an area where you can be alone"

Going on an Internal Retreat

An Internal Retreat:  Relaxation, Peace, Calm

Notice that in these particular definitions above it says nothing about having to book a spa weekend or a yoga or spiritual retreat. The emphasis is on moving away and finding privacy to find peace and quiet.

So while a retreat can be an external place, more importantly, it's a calm internal place that you go to in your mind when you have quiet and privacy to enter into that part of your internal world.

It's so important to your personal well being to have a time and place where you can retreat into your internal world and relax for at least a few minutes. Most people know this, but it's so easy forget.

Internal Retreat:  Taking a Few Minutes to Yourself to Relax

When you have privacy and some quiet time, an internal retreat can be as little as 5 or 10 minutes of just focusing on your breathing. Often, it's a matter of developing this habit and making it a regular part of your normal day. The benefits to your overall health and well being can be tremendous.

We can learn a lot from our pets, who know how to relax at just about any time and place.

Our Pets Can Teach Us a Lot About How to Relax

If you do get a chance to go out into nature, even if it's just for a short time, you can feel refreshed and rejuvenated.

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

I help clients in my psychotherapy practice to learn self care and how to relax in their everyday lives.

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.

Also, see my articles on Mindfulness Meditation and Solitude vs Loneliness.

Photo Credits:  Photo Pin

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Relationships: Coping with Infidelity

One of the most difficult and heart breaking situations for a couple to deal with is infidelity.

Deciding whether to stay or leave the relationship after you discover that your partner has been unfaithful is a hard decision to make. It's a very individual decision. 

Coping With Infidelity

For some people, finding out about a partner's infidelity, no matter what the reasons or circumstances, is beyond what they can ever tolerate or accept. There is no question in their minds that they are leaving. 

But for others, although they are very hurt, they decide to try to work it out. After the initial shock, they might feel that they've invested too much in the relationship to end it. It might surprise you that many couples are able to reconcile after infidelity and that their relationships are actually stronger as a result. This is not an endorsement for staying or leaving. It's simply an observation.

See my article:  Relationships: Should You Stay or Should You Go?

What are the various types of infidelity?
Infidelity can involve a one-time sexual encounter with someone outside the relationship. It can be a longstanding affair. It can also be a series of encounters with many different people. This is often, although not always, the case with people who engage in out of control sexual behavior. 

It can be encounters in person or encounters online in chat rooms or on various Internet and social media sites. Infidelity is not always sexual. Sometimes infidelity involves getting one's primary emotional needs met by someone else or it can be both. When the affair is strictly emotional, it can be more difficult to resolve sometimes because your partner might not see it as infidelity. However, if it's taking away from the primary relationship, it's a problem.  Both men and women cheat on their spouses and partners.  Infidelity occurs in heterosexual and gay relationships.

Infidelity on Social Media Sites
Why do people cheat?
The reasons that people give for cheating are numerous and complex. Often, the reason that people give is that they're unhappy in their relationship. They might feel that their partner is not paying enough attention to them, and they don't know how to express it without acting out. They might be angry and use infidelity to retaliate against the partner. For other people, they might have grown up in a household where infidelity was tolerated, so it's become commonplace in their minds. In other instances, people have a hard time making a commitment to one person, so they use another relationship to defuse the intensity of the primary relationship. In other instances, people don't know how to end their primary relationship so they enter into another relationship unconsciously hoping that they'll be found out and this will end the relationship. There can be so many other reasons.

What are the factors that contribute to a couple surviving infidelity:
One important factor is the quality of the relationship and how stable it was before the infidelity. All other things being equal, the more stable it was, the more likely it is that the problem can be worked out if both people are willing to work it out. It is essential that the partner who is cheating end the other relationship before anything can be worked out in the primary relationship. 

One of the most important factors is whether trust can be regained. Sometimes, even when both people are willing to work out the relationship, it doesn't work out because the partner who was cheated on just cannot learn to trust the cheating partner again. Without trust, most relationships don't survive.

Should You Stay or Should You Go?
What should you do if you find out your partner has been cheating? No one can tell you what to do. Well-meaning friends and relatives might try to give you advise, whether to stay or go, but it's your decision. Anyway, this is between you and your partner and it's not for others to decide. 

In most cases, it's better not to make any immediate decisions while you're still in shock. You need time and space to carefully consider your options. If infidelity has been an ongoing problem with your partner throughout your relationship, you might feel differently than if there was one encounter. Much will depend on whether you feel you can trust your partner again.

Regaining trust:
If you and your partner decide to try to work it out, know that it will probably take a while (for some people, months or years) to regain trust, if it can be regained at all. You must insist that your partner give up the other relationship(s). If your partner won't agree to this, he or she is not ready to honor the commitment to your relationship and you must face this.

See my article: Regaining Trust After the Affair

What if you both decide to try to salvage your relationship, but you're having problems getting past the hurt and anger?
Many couples, even when they decide to try to reconcile, have problems working out their problems on their own. They might find themselves coming to the same impasse over and over again. If that's your situation, it's best to seek the help of a licensed psychotherapist who works with couples. 

Friends and family members, even if they have the best of intentions, will usually add to the confusion. Even if you decide to end the relationship, if you can, it's better to find a way to end it in a constructive way, especially if there are children involved and you must remain in contact about them.

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 website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

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

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Mother-Daughter Relationships Over the Course of a Lifetime

One of the most common issues that women bring into their psychotherapy sessions is their relationship with their mothers. The bond between mothers and daughters can be complicated, whether they are currently positive or problematic. We are born "hard wired" to bond to our primary caregivers.  Most of the time, this is our mother.  Generally speaking, mothers and daughters tend to have a stronger bond than mothers and sons, and these relationships can change over the course of a lifetime, often in surprising ways.

Mother-Daughter Relationships Over the Course of a Lifetime

Problems in the Mother-Daughter Relationship
Problems often arise in the mother-daughter relationship when an insecure mother has difficulty allowing the daughter to have age-appropriate independence. Starting at around the age of 18 months to two years of age, most babies (both boys and girls) begin to want to assert themselves, sometimes in ways that are confusing for mothers. 

This is often called "the terrible twos" from the perspective of mothers struggling to cope with babies who are constantly saying "No!" to almost everything, including things they might really want. From a developmental perspective, this is exactly what needs to happen at this stage of the baby's development, even though it might be frustrating for the mother.

We Are Hard Wired to Bond With Our Mothers

The other stage that can be challenging in terms of a daughter gaining age-appropriate autonomy is adolescence. As an adolescent, a teens' peer relationships usually become more important as compared to earlier stages in a child's life. Teenage girls often give more credence to their friends' opinions than their parents' opinions at this stage. For a mother who has a hard time allowing her daughter to have more independence from her, this can be a challenging time, even when teenage daughters are using good judgment and have positive friendships.

This is often the time when power struggles abound and mother-daughter relationships break down. These struggles can continue into the adult child's 20s, 30s and beyond. Mothers who are insecure about allowing their teenage daughters to have a reasonable degree of independence often had conflictual relationships with their own mothers with the same issues. As a result, they are often ill prepared to handle this phase of their daughters' development and this stage in the mother-daughter relationship.

For mothers who had enmeshed relationships with their own mothers, they often expect to have the same type of relationship with their daughters--even if the enmeshed relationship with their own mothers was fraught with difficulties. Often, in these cases, it becomes increasingly difficult for these mothers to accept that their daughters, who may be in their 20s, 30s or older have their own separate lives where a spouse or partner is now the daughter's primary relationship.

The Mother-Daughter Bond
The mother-daughter bond, which is so ingrained, usually becomes the template for future relationships. When the template is a good one, this bodes well for future friendships and romantic relationships. But when there are serious problems, including trauma, this often leads to traumatic bonding in future relationships where the same type of problematic bonding is unconsciously recreated in future relationships. Of course, women can learn to overcome this dynamic, but it usually takes time and effort in therapy.

Problems in Mother-Daughter Relationships Can Be Worked Through

The good news is that many of these problematic issues in mother-daughter relationships can be worked out in psychotherapy if both people are willing. Initially, this might mean that the mother and daughter attend individual therapy to understand the role they are each playing in the dynamic. Then, if appropriate, the mother and daughter might attend therapy together to work through the problems together, assuming that both people are willing.

As a psychotherapist, I've seen many mother-daughter relationships improve over time when both people are willing to make the necessary commitment to work through these issues with open minds.

About Me
I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist who provides psychotherapy services to individuals and couples, including contemporary talk therapy as well as mind-body oriented therapy such as EMDR, clinical 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 (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.

Coping with the Loss of a Pet

Our Pets Are Part of Our Families
We love and nurture our pets and they bring us joy. So when a beloved pet dies, it can feel as devastating as the death of a close relative. We can grieve as profoundly as losing our best friends, and for some of us, they are our best friends.

Our Pets Are Part of Our Families
Whether you've had your pet for a short time or for years, it's very sad when they pass from your life. After the loss of a pet, you need emotional support from other people who understand. Often, people who don't have pets don't understand how normal and natural it is to feel very sad after a pet has died.

Allow Yourself Time to Grieve
So, what can you do to help yourself feel better? Just like with the death of a person who is close to you, know that it will probably take time to heal from this loss. Allow yourself to take the time to grieve and don't judge yourself for the depth of your feelings.

You will probably go through many of the same feelings that I discussed in my last article about losing a loved one. Some people find it helpful to make a scrapbook of photos or special mementos related to their pet. Other people find it comforting to keep an urn with their pet's ashes. No one can tell you what will be right for you.

It's Normal to Grieve the Loss of a Pet
People often ask me if they should go out and buy another pet immediately. For most people, this is not helpful. For one thing, you're still grieving for your pet who just died, and you're probably not open to accepting a new pet into your heart and home.

You might also feel guilty if you get another pet too soon--like you're betraying the pet that you just lost. If you get a new pet immediately, without even realizing it, you might also expect that pet to be just like your last pet when, in reality, each pet has his or her own personality.

The other reason that it's usually not a good idea to get another pet immediately is that you might be doing this to avoid dealing with your grief. When the time is right, after you've gone through a natural period of grief, you can open your heart again and enjoy having a new pet.

Our Pets Bring Us Joy
The important thing to know is that grief usually subsides over time if you allow yourself to feel your feelings.

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

I have helped many people to cope with the loss of their pets.

To find out more about me, please visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW.

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

Photo Credits:  Photo Pin

Friday, October 5, 2012

How Our Expectations and Beliefs Affect Us

How Do Our Expectations and Beliefs Affect Us?

In her book, Counterclockwise, Dr. Ellen Langer describes how our expectations and beliefs affect our own lives as well as other people in our lives. She makes a strong case that our thoughts and feelings affect our health and the aging process. According to Dr. Langer, the first step is to become mindfully aware of our thoughts and beliefs about ourselves and others.

As part of her research, Dr. Langer conducted social experiments with the elderly in a nursing home to see how beliefs, self perceptions and a sense of autonomy affect health. In the experimental group, she encouraged residents to make more decisions for themselves. They were encouraged to make their own decisions about where they saw visitors and when to watch movies. They were also given an opportunity to choose a house plant as well as when and how much to water it. The control group was given house plants, but they were told that the nursing home staff would water it.

After a year and a half, Dr. Langer discovered that the first group was much happier and alert, based on tests that were administered before and after the experiment. The first group was also much healthier and, on average, lived longer than the second group. She discovered that being allowed to make choices created mindfulness and helped the residents to be more engaged in their lives. Being happier, more mindful, and having a sense of autonomy contributed to the first group's longevity.

When we think about how, even in the best nursing homes, the staff often have such low expectations of residents and how few choices residents can make in their daily lives, Dr. Langer's research is compelling.

Recently, I went to visit my aunt in a nursing home. She has dementia, but she still knows who she is and who I am. When a new nurse came by with his chart, instead of asking my aunt her name, he turned to me and asked, "What's her name?" I saw my aunt's expression change from being engaged to looking disconnected. I wondered how many times the residents in this nursing home are objectified in this way, and it made me feel angry. I responded to him by turning to my aunt and asking her her name. She perked up suddenly and announced her name in a strong and confident voice.

Without realizing it, we all create self fulfilling prophesies. This nurse, who seemed kind and efficient in other ways, had certain beliefs and expectations of the nursing home residents in general and my aunt in particular. Anyone who has spent time around people with dementia knows that it can vary a lot in the same person from day to day or even in the same day or hour. But what happens when a person with dementia, who still knows who she is, is treated like she's incapable of responding to question asking her name? Based on the brief interaction I saw with my aunt and the nurse and the research that Dr. Langer has done, we disempower people. I saw very clearly how my aunt went from being engaged one moment to being disengaged the next when she was objectified by the nurse. Was the nurse being intentionally cruel and rude? That's not my impression. I think he was simply engaging in his duties in a mindless way, trying to get through his tasks as efficiently as possible.

Even though there might be variability from day to day for a person who has dementia, why not start out assuming the best instead of the worst? How much more empowering this would be! This can apply not only to the elderly, who are often stereotyped, but to any group of people.

For an eye-opening look at how we can all learn to become more mindful in our everyday interactions, I recommend reading Ellen Langer's book, Counterclockwise. The implications of Dr. Langer's work are very powerful for all of us. And, the next time I visit my aunt at the nursing home, I might give a copy of this book to the nursing staff.

About Me
I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist who provides dynamic talk therapy, clinical hypnosis, EMDR, and Somatic Experiencing therapy to 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 (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.

Photo Credit:  Photo Pin