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In one way or another, the COVID-19 has impacted everyone’s lives.

Not surprisingly, the pandemic has triggered a wave of mental health issues. Anxiety, depression, social isolation or just the general stress that’s a result of living through COVID-19, we’re all feeling it.

I am a mental health professional with over 35 years’ experience, dealing with all forms of mental health care – yet I am no different.

When the New York State shut down all non-essential offices in March, life became very different for me. It was challenging. My practice in Dyker Heights, Neighborhood Counseling Center, is an Article 31 so was considered an essential business, therefore we needed to stay open.

My primary consideration for the past 9 months has been to keep my staff and our clients safe. It kept me up at nights, trying to work out a schedule that would allow as many employees as possible to work from home, while still manning the office for essential in-person scheduling.

I decided to change the office hours to 10 to 6 Monday to Friday and Saturday 9 to 5, with online counseling offering a wider range of appointment hours. I reflect on how lucky we were that we had already introduced Online Counseling to our range of services, we were already set up technically, we just needed to demonstrate to our clients, that online counseling was as affective as in person.

Most people were relieved that they could continue with their Therapist from the safety of their own home, but some still needed in office services.

I am the only clinician to remain on site every day, to assist with clinical consultation, review new admissions and supervise my staff. I am constantly doing crises intervention with new and existing clients, and i have been, and will continue to work 7 days a week until the pandemic is over.

We actioned strict CDC guidelines, yet I found myself constantly worrying that the support staff at the office was safe and managing the emotional stress of home and work life. I encouraged self-care, I bought them lunch, made sure they had enough supplies and assisting them with their anxiety.

The anxiety level among our clients and the general population imploded. Existing appointments continued and the requests for new appointment increased like never before. We had also made the decision to expand our BCS Group Practice to the 5 boroughs. There are so many people who need help, but most local private practices closed their doors.  I leaned on my management team to keeps things running as smoothly as possible, and our intake team to help communicate and facilitate appointments via our secure online platform.

I also needed to support our therapists who were working remotely, helping them emotionally and supporting them professionally with issues they were experiencing with their clients.

I was taking care of everyone around me, but also, I had to take care of myself. I had to remind myself that I am in a high-risk demographic for Covid-19, having asthma and high blood pressure, it was imperative I protect myself from getting sick so I can take care of those around me. I became extremely proactive, making sure that I, and all my staff followed the rules. Wearing a face mask, staying six feet apart. Constantly sanitizing, not touching my face. But most important I eat right, exercise and get enough sleep.

On a personal note, my daughter is in her last year of college, my anxiety about her safety, and her anxiety about my safety skyrocketed. Thankfully her college is doing classes online, but she still lives on campus. Like many during this pandemic, she adopted a cat. My job as a mother is to make her feel safe and help her through this difficult time.

2020 has been a challenging year for most, but I know i am one of the lucky ones. My family, my staff and I are currently safe and well. We are looking forward to Christmas and the new year. So many people around the world are not so lucky, our thoughts are with them as we head into the festive season. We will continue to serve our community as best we can, staying safe and encouraging others to do the same.

Happy Holidays to you all.


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After a traumatic event, it’s normal to feel powerless, anxious, scared, angry. We encourage you to reach out and connect with a professional counselor to explore effective and healthy ways to cope with your emotions.

You may experience feeling hopeless and experience withdrawing or isolating yourself, excessive sleeping, the use of drugs or alcohol more than usual.

At a time like this, simple things can help. Try to:

  • Talk to close friends or family about your feelings
  • Stay present, take breaks from social media and the news
  • Take a walk, go to the gym, run errands to keep active and healthy
  • Spend time in person with family and friends, try to stay positive

Please take care of yourself and those around you – physical health and emotional connectedness can go a long way toward making you feel like yourself again.


If you need to talk to a professional, schedule an appointment with us:

For billing/insurance purposes, we must have your legal name exactly as it appears on your insurance ID Card

(Please write N/A if you do not currently have one)


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Stress

You should never underestimate the affect that stress can have on your body and your mind. The symptoms of large amounts of stress include tiredness, illness, and the inability to concentrate or think clearly. Sometimes, prolonged periods of stress can even cause a mental breakdown. If you suffer from extreme stress or are stressed for a long period of time, your body will eventually wear itself down.

But sometimes a small amount of stress can actually be good in that it can help you gather yourself and take action. For example, when you have an important task to perform, stress can kick in and motivate you to meet your goals. During times of crisis, stress can send you into “automatic pilot” mode where you are able to block out the chaos around you and react effectively in the situation.

Some common stress factors include academic demands; moving house; being on your own in a new environment, new responsibilities; a new job or promotion; changes in family relations and your social life; financial responsibilities, and of course, a global phenomenon such as COVID-19, where our way of life has changed completely and the future is uncertain.

Whether in school or employment, pulling an “all-nighter” can lead to stress-driven exhaustion the following day. Caffeine starts with a temporary energy boost and ends in a crash, which can leave you feeling worse than you did originally. Waiting until the very last minute to get something done which forces your body to run on adrenaline.

Some ways to manage stress relief would start with managing your time wisely and staying organized. Try to get some form of exercise daily and eat healthily. A very important consideration when you are going through a stressful time, get enough sleep, it may seem a simple answer, but its also works.

Anxiety

Anxiety becomes a disorder when your symptoms become chronic and interfere with you daily life and ability to function. While having an anxiety disorder can be disabling, preventing you from living the life you want, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health issues—and are highly treatable.

Anxiety symptoms may include; muscle tension, poor memory, fear or confusion, constant worry, upset stomach, shortness of breath or poor concentration

Depression

People who are already overwhelmed by stress may be especially prone to depression, which can affect your body, state of mind, thoughts and behavior. It’s a serious condition, not just a passing mood. Clinically depressed people aren’t able to simply “pull themselves together” and bounce back, but it thankfully this condition can be successfully treated. 80% of those who seek professional help are able to improve and regain their sense of self.

Depression be can caused by the use of drugs and alcohol, or by the withdrawal you experience when you stop these substances. The sooner you get help the better.

Depression can make you feel exhausted, worthless and hopeless. It’s important not to give in to negative thinking and remember that your symptoms will fade as treatment takes effect. Don’t hesitate to ask questions to find out more and understand your illness.

What can you do? – Treatment Works

It you think you might be depressed or suffering from stress or anxiety, you should discuss your concerns with a healthcare or mental health professional who can evaluate your concerns.

Our commitment to our clients remains the same; To deliver optimal mental health care with compassion, respect and support. To promote emotional well-being and encourage true life potential.

When you are ready, if you’d like to speak to someone, schedule your appointment here.   Or take the BCS Wellness Check-in, and we’ll get back to you with options!

 

thank you

Nicoletta Pallotta, MD, LCSW
CEO & Founder

 


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BCS recognizes and understands the feelings of anxiety, distress and concern many people may be experiencing in relation to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and offers the following well-being advice.

Working from home:

  • Be realistic about what can be achieved.
  • Keep the hours you work in check and be mindful of work-life balance.
  • Stay in touch with family and friends.
  • Eat well and prioritize sleep
  • tay physically fit, there are many home fitness YouTube’s you can follow
  • Try and find time to switch off from Coronavirus infomation overload on tv.
  • Monitor warning signs of poor mental health.
  • Reach out to mentors and colleagues for support.
  • Maintain interests outside work.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Common signs of mental illness in adults and adolescents can include the following:

  • Excessive worrying or fear
  • Feeling excessively sad or low
  • Problems concentrating
  • Mood changes, including excessive highs
  • Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
  • Avoiding calling or face time with friends
  • Difficulties understanding or relating to other people
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Feeling tired and low energy
  • Changes in eating habits such as increased hunger or lack of appetite
  • Inability to carry out daily activities or handle daily problems and stress

If you feel you need a little extra help – Online Counseling is convenient, private and it works.


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Chances are you’ve been “Ghosted” at sometime.

Ghosting is when someone you’re dating ends the relationship by cutting off all communication, without any explanation. And we’re not talking about not returning a text back after one awkward first date, but receiving the ultimate silent treatment after several dates, or when you’re in a committed relationship.

It’s also worth noting that Ghosting also happens in friendships.

There are many reasons why someone Ghosts, but at its core, Ghosting is avoidance and often stems from fear of conflict. Which may mean that Ghosting is about wanting to avoid confrontation, avoid difficult conversations and/or avoiding hurting someone’s feelings.

For many people, being Ghosted can result in feelings of being disrespected, used and disrespected. If you have known the person beyond more than a few dates then it can be even more stressful. When someone we may like and trust disengages from us it can feel like a very deep betrayal.

One of the most emotional results of Ghosting is that it doesn’t just cause you to question the validity of the relationship you had, it causes you to question yourself. Don’t allow someone else’s bad behavior to rob you of a better future by losing your vulnerability and shutting yourself off from another relationship.

In a nutshell, Ghosting is basically rejection, only without the finality. It often happens out of nowhere and can leave you feeling confused, hurt, and anxious.

What should you do if you think you’ve been Ghosted? Step away. It’ll only lead to turmoil, heartbreak, and pain that you don’t need in your life.


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It’s totally normal to feel stressed or anxious from time to time, but there’s lots of things you can do to manage your anxiety.

Remember: there’s a difference between feeling stressed every now and then, and experiencing ongoing anxiety. If the stress or anxiety is starting to take a toll, consider talking to a mental health professional.

1. Talk to someone you trust about how you’re feeling
Just talking to someone about how you feel can take a weight off your shoulders. Make sure you trust the person, then work out what you want to say to them. We’ve got four more steps for talking to someone you trust here.

2. Focus on the present
Have you ever noticed that feeling stressed or anxious often coincides with dwelling on the past or worrying about the future? Simply focusing your mind on the present moment can help you feel a little more relaxed. You might be surprised to know there’s lots of ways to do this, even if you don’t like meditating. Here’s five simple ways to be more mindful.

3. Take some time out
A fully packed schedule would make a lot of people feel stressed. Make sure you fit in at least one thing you enjoy each day, whether it’s a hobby, a Netflix show, or a chat with a friend. It can also help if you schedule the enjoyable activity into your day, so that you don’t feel guilty about not doing something else.

4. Monitor your thoughts
Sometimes we don’t even know what’s making us stressed or anxious. Writing down your thoughts can help you figure out what the cause is. Once you’ve done that, you can work on challenging and changing your negative thoughts. You can use a diary to do this, or an app such as Mindshift.

5. Challenge your thoughts
If your head is full of negative thoughts, of course you’re going to feel stressed or anxious. But even though our thoughts feel true, it doesn’t mean they reflect what’s really happening. Try writing down what you’re thinking, then adding facts that support or disprove each thought. You might be surprised by how many of your thoughts are exaggerated or aren’t reality. Read more about how to challenge negative thoughts here.

6. Move more, eat well, sleep
It’s pretty well known that exercise lowers stress, reduces anxiety and improves mood. And the good news is: you don’t need to run a marathon to get the benefits. It takes just 30 minutes of exercise a day to make a difference. We’ve got some tips on how to exercise when you’re not feeling motivated.

7. Face your fears
If you always avoid situations that make you anxious, this might be stopping you from doing things you want or need to do. It sounds weird, but facing the things that make you anxious can reduce your anxiety.

It’s best to do this with the help of a professional, though, so that it doesn’t get too full-on for you. If you’d like to speak to a experienced, qualified and friendly Counselor – click here

Article by reachout.com


 

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Training yourself to be a better listener is the best way to drastically improve the quality of your relationships, from your spouse and children to bosses or coworkers.

  1. Stop giving advice and always trying to fix it.
  2. Ask open-ended questions that will encourage more communication.
  3. Reflect back to understand what you’re hearing.
  4. Validate their emotions even if you think they are misguided.
  5. Validate your own emotions, but remember you are there to listen, not talk about how you are feeling.