Beginning a Journaling Practice

By Kathryn O’Connell, LCSW

Someone, somewhere, whether it be your parent, teacher, or therapist, has probably suggested journaling to you to improve your mental health. Journaling can help someone work through difficult emotions, develop a mindfulness practice, and even boost confidence. Although the benefits of journaling are well known, starting to write can be intimidating! What will I say? Where will I end up? When will I have time? These unanswered questions can keep us from trying. So, how do you get going? I’ll share some ideas that motivated my journaling practice.

Read More
Elizabeth Cobb
Digital Minimalism: Using Technology Mindfully

By Rosie Barton, LMSW

It’s no secret that many of us are continually assessing the connection between social media, smartphone use, and mental health. Recently I’ve been exploring my own beliefs and guiding principles in terms of the role I want my phone to play in my life. I knew that I wanted it to take up less space, but let me explain why I think this is such a fundamental question for every person to ask themselves, regardless of mental health history. 

Read More
Elizabeth Cobb
How Do I Know If I’m Overreacting?

By Salina Grilli, LMSW

We’ve all been there. Walking down the overcrowded streets of NYC only to get bumped into by a seemingly rude, self-centered New Yorker rushing to work. Maybe you scowled or took it a step further and started yelling obscenities at the perpetrator. Maybe you held onto that anger, fixated on how New Yorkers are incredibly rude and self-centered. Then found yourself snapping at your coworkers all day. We often respond to situations based on our interpretation and judgments of the events, rather than the actual facts.  These interpretations can have a powerful effect on how we feel, as well as on our behavior.

Read More
Elizabeth Cobb
Therapy is Not a Place to Lie to Yourself (or Your Therapist)

By Erica Cramer, LMSW

Therapy starts with honesty. In so many areas we are supposed to “act” in a certain way even when it is not genuine. At work, we are supposed to “act” professional and hardworking. On a date, we are supposed to “act” attractive and interesting. At school, we are supposed to “act” smart and sophisticated. All this “acting” can sometimes cause us to forget who we are and how we genuinely feel about certain aspects of our life. 

Read More
Elizabeth Cobb
Cutting Out Caffeine

By Amy Brightman, LCSW

There is nothing like the smell of fresh brewed coffee and that first sip in the morning. When it comes to coffee, I love the dark, rich roasts, no milk, no sugar—just straight up. All I need is 1-2 cups in the morning, but boy do I love the ritual of it. So, when my acupuncturist suggested cutting out caffeine for general wellness and balance, I thought “yeah, right!” But, fine, challenge accepted. Here is what I’ve learned by quitting caffeine:

Read More
Elizabeth Cobb
The Ripple Effect

By Julia Suklevski, LMSW

When one tosses a pebble into a still body of water, the pebble breaks through the surface, sinking to the bottom.  Yet, the impact of that pebble on the body of water is quite profound: the contact with the water creates a ripple effect when the tiny waves created by the pebble radiate outwards.  I like to use this imagery to help clients recognize that their actions, no matter how small, brief, or “surface level” as they might be, do have a longer, profound impact on themselves and others.

Read More
Elizabeth Cobb
Alleviating the Pressure of Dating in Your Twenties

By Hannah Tishman, LMSW

Dating in your twenties is not so easy. Clients come to me all the time stating their concerns around not being in a relationship and with the fear of being alone permanently. I’ll begin by saying: if you want to end up in a relationship, you will. It might not happen in the exact time frame you would like or expect, but it will happen if it is something of value to you. Twenty-somethings often put an enormous amount of pressure on themselves to find a partner by comparing themselves to those in a relationship seen on social media or their parents who met and became married at a young age. It’s important to consider if putting this pressure is helping to lead us towards finding a partner or if it is adding more distress to our lives.

Read More
Elizabeth Cobb
 Letting go of food rules

By Kathryn O’Connell, LCSW

“Eat low fat, no eat high fat.” “Graze all day, no have three meals.” “Everything must be whole wheat, no, wait, no more gluten!” Rules are everywhere in diet culture and are often inconsistent and/or contradictory. It is difficult to keep track of what is “healthy” these days and we find ourselves taking advice from the “experts” rather than listening to the true experts - our bodies. We imagine the rules are a form of control over our situation and we place judgment on ourselves if we don’t follow the rules to a T. Imagine a world without these rules - how much time would you have to think of other things?

Read More
Elizabeth Cobb
Let's Talk About Loneliness

By Rosie Barton, LMSW

In my opinion, it’s something that has remained taboo and shameful, especially for men and women living in New York City, who often feel like no one else feels as alone as they do. The truth is, everyone experiences loneliness at some point, or many points, in their lives. It’s not a personal defect. It takes tremendous courage to be able to say that you are lonely. It takes even more courage to initiate getting coffee with an acquaintance, instead of just following them on social media or waiting for them to reach out to you. 

Read More
Elizabeth Cobb
Summer Boredom...Plan For It!

By Alisha Bennett, LMSW

We help kids when they are sad, mad, and frustrated. We give them strategies and teach them how to “calm down.” We teach our children coping skills for these stronger emotions, but what about when they feel bored? Research shows that feeling bored isn’t so bad and that it can actually help our children figure out what they are interested in and truly like. It can also help bring out their own individual creativity.

Read More
Elizabeth Cobb
A DBT Skill in Review: Opposite Action for Anger

By Kristen Quinones, LMSW

I recently started incorporating DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) skills into my work with clients. One of my favorite skills is called Opposite Action. The name says it all. Act in the opposite way you would typically act for any given emotion. Every emotion has what we call an action urge. So it is important to identify what your action urges typically are for different emotions and then reflect on what the opposite would be.

Read More
Elizabeth Cobb
Is Your Perfectionism Getting in the Way of Success?

By Salina Grilli, LMSW

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been victimized by your own perfectionism. SAME. While I consider myself a “recovering’”perfectionist (as an old supervisor once poignantly reflected), I sometimes find myself falling back into the perfectionist trap. In general, I’m efficient at writing. I sit down with an idea, write a rough draft, edit it a couple times, and then submit. For whatever reason, writing this piece was different. I found myself procrastinating and re-writing it over and over again trying to get it “right.” Which I will admit is ironic given that this article is about perfectionism. Once I realized what I had fallen into the perfectionist trap, I was able to get myself out. 

Read More
Elizabeth Cobb
The Neuroscience of Gratitude

By Hannah Rogawski, LMSW

Many of us often hear about the power of gratitude and its capacity to improve our mental health. Many studies over the past couple of years have confirmed that people who consciously work on and express gratitude tend to be less depressed, less anxious, and happier overall. Studies have even found that gratitude can improve your sleep, boost your immune system, and enhance your relationships. What is going on in our bodies to cause such powerful effects? 

Read More
Elizabeth Cobb
Emotional Reasoning: Feelings Aren’t Facts

By Amy Brightman, LCSW

When using Cognitive Therapy, we catch the way we think and need to check our thoughts in order to change them. In order to do this, we often have to look for cognitive thinking traps. A common trap that comes up is what we call “emotional reasoning.” This is when we use feelings to reason with our reality. In other words, we make our feelings facts.

Read More
Elizabeth Cobb
How to Counteract Negative Communication Styles in Your Relationship

By Valerie Capili, LMSW

All relationships have conflict— even the healthiest ones. Learning about how we navigate conflict can provide insight into whether the relationship is more likely to succeed or fail. A renowned relationship psychologist, Dr. Gottman, conducted a study and found four styles of communication that are the biggest predictors of a relationship ending. He termed these, “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.”

Read More
Elizabeth Cobb
Learning to Love the Lapse

By Urmi Chakrabarti, LMSW

Spring definitely is a time where we start to come out of our winter cocoons and start feeling revived as we anticipate the sun and warmth to come. At the same time, it is a reminder of all wellness routines that we tried to implement during the beginning of the year that may have slowly gone awry — maybe it was going to yoga weekly or bringing your lunch to work instead of buying out. The key to making sure a new habit is sustainable is learning to honor and love the lapse. Following are ways you can embrace and love the lapse in your new health and wellness routines within a bigger picture of lifestyle change.

Read More
Elizabeth Cobb
The Healing Process After a Breakup 

By Heather Matzkowitz, LMSW

One of my good friends recently went through a difficult breakup with a partner they were with for many years. This person came to me, on many different occasions, expressing how saddened and defeated they had been feeling. They missed their partner, and despite knowing that ending things was the correct decision, they were having trouble dealing with the despondency they were experiencing. Let’s be honest, breakups are incredibly difficult and each person's situation is unique — just as their healing process is.

Read More
Elizabeth Cobb
The Mind-Body Connection of Stress

By Kathryn O’Connell, LCSW

Often our minds and bodies can seem disconnected, as if they were detached and serving different functions; however, research has shown the contrary, that their relationship is essential to our well-being. On a basic level, our bodies and minds are designed to keep us safe and secure. In an effort to help manage acute stress, our bodies increase stress response hormones, which may prepare us for difficult and/or unpleasant future events. Regrettably, for some individuals, it's possible that stress may persist on a weekly, daily, or even hourly basis. If stress becomes chronic and unmanageable, issues in the body and mind often arise.

Read More
Elizabeth Cobb
The Mental Health Benefits of Volunteering

By Charity Diaz, LMSW

The month of April is National Volunteer Month, a time that recognizes the dedication of volunteers and their collective social impact.  In my experience, volunteerism is a gratifying way to step outside of oneself and express compassion to strangers in need while teaching them new hard skills. These interactions are about the altruism in teaching a fellow human being the accomplishment of grasping a new skill or the nourishment of a hearty meal.  However, the interaction of volunteering is also very much about the human connection, the teaching component, and the mental health benefits.

Read More
Elizabeth Cobb
Are Defense Mechanisms Bad or Brilliant?

By Alessandra Mikic, LMSW

You’ve probably heard someone describe a negative or undesirable behavior as a “defense mechanism” or “defense” for short. It’s usually used with a negative connotation, but here’s the thing: we all use defenses at times — and they’re brilliant. But why are defenses brilliant? In very simplified terms: because your go-to defenses were likely developed earlier in life, maybe even way back in childhood, when you didn’t have someone older and wiser to help you regulate your anxiety and effectively tolerate and process your big feelings.

Read More
Elizabeth Cobb