Posts Tagged ‘therapy’

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Overcoming Substance Abuse New York City and Beyond

Substance abuse does not only happen to a certain type of person. Contrary to what is portrayed on television and on the big screen, there is no stereotypical substance abuser. Substance abuse, including drug, alcohol and pain medication addiction can happen to people of all ages, of all races, of all classes, of all professions, of all walks of life. Regardless of whether you live in the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Mid-Town, Chelsea, or anywhere in between, substance abuse could very easily be affecting you, or someone you love. Every single substance abuse case is different and thus it is not fair or correct to automatically assume the reasons for substance abuse. In fact, the only constant in substance abuse cases is the pain and suffering it can cause not only the user, but also those close to him or her. Statements such as he had a hard childhood; she’s going through a difficult time; he’s got an addictive personality may help some people come to terms with substance abuse but it most certainly won’t be enough to end the pain, frustration, guilt, confusion, anger and fear that comes with battling addiction. The road to recovery is an uphill journey; however, with the right professional counseling, network of support and dedication to success, you can not only take on this mountainous battle, but you can make it out of the fog and to the top of your life.


Substance abuse in New York is more common than you may think. Sure, you may have seen the alcoholics battling in the streets but you probably did not think twice about it. Many cases of substance abuse happen behind closed doors. Furthermore, many people who battle substance abuse do not even realize they have a problem. Others want to get help but are unsure where to turn. However, the harsh reality is that one in four US deaths can be attributed to alcohol, tobacco or illicit drug use. There are 100,000 deaths each year from excessive alcohol abuse and another 16,000 deaths due to illicit drug use. These numbers are scary to say the least.


Three Factors to Consider when Battling against Substance Abuse


There is no right way. Many people will react positively to certain medication substitutes while others might be able to beat their problem by entering a rehabilitation facility. Others find it is best to discuss their concerns with a professional therapist and try to figure out what is behind the addiction. There are three things you must consider when battling substance abuse or when helping someone with an addiction.

  1. Willingness is a Must – telling yourself that you want to change is one of the hardest things to do but it is also the first step in the right direction. Many people are unwilling to admit they have a problem or believe that the addiction is bigger than them and thus, they continue down the path to self destruction. There is no perfect time to admit to having a problem and there is no perfect time to accept that changes must be made. This is an individual journey.
  2. Abuse can stem from other Problems – in many instances, substance abuse stems from an underlying problem. Overcoming death, relationship problems, career-related stress, depression, anxiety, self esteem issues or family grievances can all impact your decision to turn to drugs or alcohol. Many people are unsure of why they turn to a substance for relief while others know the case but are unable to dig into this painful experience. It’s important to remember that substance abuse is not your fault and there are ways to overcome this problem.
  3. The Right Support can make all the Difference – most people cannot battle substance abuse on their own. Even if your problem occurs mostly behind closed doors, it is best to have someone to talk to about your problem. If you or someone you love is battling from substance abuse in New York City, consider speaking to a trained counselor in the field of addiction and abuse. A professional therapist can help you overcome your problem but there are other options as well. Friends, family, support groups and even online forums can help you see that you are not alone and that you can beat this problem and move on with your life. There are millions of people across the United States fighting their own personal battle with addiction; however, there are millions of others who have overcome these demons.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to battling substance abuse is that there is help out there. You are not alone. And if you choose to accept this help – and pursue a different life – things can get better. You do not have to keep living the way you have always lived. However, it is up to you to accept the challenge.

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Saturday, November 14th, 2009

Four Steps to Overcoming Relationship Problems

Problems with your relationship can be one of the most stressful things to deal with. Your home is your sanctuary and when there is trouble brewing, then you may start avoiding the one place you used to love coming home to. There are a number of things that can cause a strain in relationships – financial issues, past relationships, work-related complications, sexual (or lack thereof) tension, family and friend interferences and different life goals can all negatively impact a relationship.


Almost every couple has problems in their relationship at some point or another. The question is – should you work it out or call it quits? This will depend on a number of factors and will vary in every relationship. However, here are four things you need to try this month before calling it quits and giving up on the life that you have built together.

  1. Do Something to let him/her Know you Care – the little things make all the difference so this week, instead of going about your day avoiding the issues at home, think of ways you can help alleviate these stresses. Send a goofy text message; pick up some flowers on the way home; offer back rubs. These small gestures may put a smile on your partner’s face and help strengthen that breaking bond.
  2. Eat one Meal a Day Together – in almost all relationships, eating every meal together is impossible. You have work; you have prior commitments; you have a life. However, scheduling a sit down dinner every night is a great way to reconnect and recharge as a single unit. Discuss your day, share stories, comment on movies, admit your frustrations and feats – open your mouth and talk. Working late? Then get up early and have breakfast together.
  3. Plan a Mini Break – okay, so it is not reasonable to simply pack up for the month and take a second honeymoon to Paris but think about scheduling a night away this month. Go somewhere just the two of you and think nothing but romance. Red wine and chocolate covered strawberries in a hot tub perhaps? A luxurious spa package and horse carriage ride through Central Park maybe? Wake up after a blissful night together and enjoy a champagne breakfast on your private balcony. A mini break will not only allow you to recharge your individual batteries, but will strengthen your bond as a team and, with any luck, remind you of why you fell in love in the first place.
  4. Make a Date – it sounds so trivial but one of the main reasons relationships crumble is simply because they get too stale and your lives become too busy. If you are both constantly on the go and notice that the only time you are actually in the same room is either to fight, or to sleep, then it’s time to step away from this routine and make some time for good ol’ fashion date night. New York City is filled with beautiful places for the perfect ‘date’ night. Even a simple stroll around Union Square, an evening of romantic cocktails in Upper East Side or a Saturday spent shopping in Chelsea can help you build on your relationship. Have a few ground rules for date night. Topics that usually bring on fights are off-limits; there will be no cell phones or other interruptions; and, like all romantic date nights, your evening must end in the perfect kiss.

When Enough is Enough


In certain instances, there are simply no other avenues to turn to. If your relationship is coming to an end, then you most likely are feeling a whirlwind of emotions – extreme sadness, failure, anger, confusion, guilt. You might find waking up every morning to an empty bed completely depressing or finding a new apartment to live in completely overwhelming. You might feel a ball of rage in the pit of your stomach every time you think of your ex-partner or you might break down into a fit of tears at the thought of what you had, and what is now gone. You might be envious of other couples who walk hand in hand through Manhattan or you may feel bitter and resentful when hearing engagement announcements and seeing wedding photos in the New York Times. These are completely natural emotions to be experiencing after a particularly tough break up. However, if you are finding that these emotions are ruling your life and negatively impacting all aspects then it might be time seek professional assistance in overcoming these emotions.


A New York City relationship counselor can help you come to terms with the past and close the book on that aspect of your life. Sure, you will miss your partner and you will most likely always feel strongly towards him or her, but you also need to know that things happen for a reason and that there is life after the end of a relationship. Overcoming the emotional strains of a relationship will not happen overnight but talking about it with a trained counselor is one of the best steps you can make to moving on. A psychotherapist can help you overcome your sadness/hatred/guilt about a relationship ending and prove that a new life is actually just beginning.

Monday, July 20th, 2009

Great quote

I recently came across this great quote by Joseph Conrad:

Facing it, always facing it. That’s the way to get through. Face it.

As a therapist, sometimes my job is to be with my clients as they ‘face it’. Which I take to mean looking at one’s situation in a cold hard light. That can be hard to do – but necessary. Because we all delude ourselves by telling little white lies. These lies can come in the form of:
It’s not that bad.
It’s not my fault.
Things will get better without me changing…I can just wait it out.

Through careful and kind counseling, I work with my clients to strip away the falsehoods and look reality in the face. And when one begins to ‘face it’, it’s good to have someone there to urge us on with encouragement and support – knowing that we are not alone. This is the gift of therapy.

Only by being honest and true, can we take a full assessment of our lives and then begin to make real and concrete changes. If we don’t, we end up just ‘doing what we’ve always done and getting what we’ve always gotten’.

Life’s too short. Change and personal growth can be difficult. But the alternative is stagnation. And a stagnant life can be full of depression, anxiety, fear, anger, etc.

Are you ready to face it?

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

A tip for dealing with Anxiety

Many people come to me complaining of overwhelming anxiety. They complain of worry, fear, a sense of overwhelming dread. They describe how their mind spins like a hamster in it’s wheel…living and reliving the possible negative outcomes of their worry.

I’ve noticed that they are able to describe their fears in vivid detail. This is usually because they have spent so much time dwelling on it. And here in lies the problem. The more time we spend relishing our fears the bigger they become.

A nice technique that I give these clients begins with a question: What if? What if you DIDNT feel like this? What would that be like?

Imagining a different way of thinking breaks the cycle. It allows the mind to create something different. In therapy, I work with my clients to see what life would be like without the anxiety and fear – and it is this imagined reality that we work to make more vivid and real. We make that image very clear, and the more clear it becomes the more we can begin to embrace it and perhaps allow it to become an option.

I often say imagination is our strongest asset. We must begin to use it to our advantage or our natural tendency will be to use it for our destruction.

Try it today. What have you got to lose? You may have spent hours and hours making your anxieties and fears and worries as large and vivid as possible. Try using the mind’s wonderful tool of imagination for the opposite effect.

Now clearly, I’m not saying that just by doing this your problems will be solved. That would wishful thinking. But it does allow balance – and that is what good mental health is all about.

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