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Is this Menopause! Perimenopause is the transitional phase leading up to menopause when hormonal fluctuations and changes in the menstrual cycle begin to occur.

Here are some of the common early signs of perimenopause:

  • Irregular periods: Menstrual cycles may become shorter or longer, and the flow might be heavier or lighter than usual.
  • Changes in menstrual cycle: You might experience skipped periods or have periods that are closer together.
  • Hot flashes: Sudden waves of heat and redness that often start in the chest or face and can last for a few minutes. These can be accompanied by sweating and sometimes chills.
  • Night sweats: Hot flashes that occur during sleep, leading to excessive sweating and waking up feeling damp.
  • Sleep disturbances: Changes in hormones can impact sleep quality, leading to difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • Mood changes: Hormonal fluctuations can cause mood swings, irritability, and mild depressive symptoms.
  • Vaginal and urinary changes: You might experience vaginal dryness, discomfort during intercourse, and urinary symptoms like increased frequency or urgency.
  • Changes in sexual desire: Some women notice changes in their libido during perimenopause.
  • Breast tenderness: Hormonal changes can lead to breast tenderness or fullness.
  • Fatigue: Changes in hormone levels can contribute to feelings of tiredness and fatigue.

It’s important to note that perimenopause can start several years before menopause itself.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms and you’re in the typical age range for perimenopause (late 30s to early 50s), it’s a good idea to consult a healthcare professional. They can help confirm whether you’re in perimenopause and provide guidance on managing any symptoms you may be experiencing.

Accepting its Menopause

Accepting menopause can be a significant emotional and psychological process. It’s normal to experience a range of feelings as you navigate this life transition. Here are some tips that might help you with accepting and adapting to menopause:

  1. Educate Yourself: Understanding the biological and hormonal changes that come with menopause can help demystify the process and reduce anxiety. Knowing what to expect can make the transition feel less overwhelming.
  2. Open Communication: Talk to friends, family, or support groups about your experiences. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with others who are going through or have gone through menopause can provide comfort and a sense of camaraderie.
  3. Self-Care: Prioritize self-care activities that promote physical and emotional well-being. This can include regular exercise, a balanced diet, meditation, relaxation techniques, and engaging in hobbies you enjoy.
  4. Medical Guidance: Consult a healthcare professional to discuss your symptoms, concerns, and treatment options. They can provide tailored advice and interventions to manage any discomfort you might be experiencing.
  5. Positive Mindset: Focus on the positive aspects of this life phase. Many women find relief from menstrual-related symptoms and enjoy a new sense of freedom from birth control concerns.
  6. Healthy Lifestyle: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help ease some menopausal symptoms. This includes staying active, eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and staying hydrated.
  7. Mindfulness and Relaxation: Practices like mindfulness meditation, deep breathing, and yoga can help reduce stress and anxiety associated with menopause.
  8. Wardrobe Adjustments: Menopause can bring about changes in body temperature regulation. Dressing in layers and wearing breathable fabrics can help you manage fluctuations in body heat.
  9. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): For some women, hormone replacement therapy may be a suitable option to manage severe symptoms. Discuss this option with your healthcare provider.
  10. Embrace the Journey: View menopause as a natural phase of life rather than a negative event. Embrace the wisdom and experience that come with age.

Remember that everyone’s experience with menopause is unique, and it’s okay to take time to adjust to the changes. If you find that your feelings are overwhelming or interfering with your daily life, consider seeking support from a mental health professional who can provide guidance and coping strategies.


If you need help navigating your current stage of life, we are running a Perimenopause / MenoPause online support group:


Social media use among adolescents has become increasingly prevalent and influential in recent years. Adolescence is a period of significant physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional development, and social media can both positively and negatively impact various aspects of their lives.

Communication and Social Connection: Social media platforms offer adolescents new avenues to connect and communicate with their peers, friends, and even people from diverse backgrounds. It allows them to maintain relationships, share experiences, and express themselves creatively. Social media can help reduce feelings of loneliness and provide a sense of belonging.

Information and Awareness: Adolescents can access a wealth of information through social media, facilitating learning, and awareness on various topics of interest. It can help them stay informed about current events, engage in educational discussions, and explore their passions.

Self-Expression and Identity Formation: Social media provides adolescents with opportunities to express their thoughts, feelings, and identity. They can showcase their talents, share their opinions, and explore different aspects of their personality. However, it’s important to note that social media can also influence self-esteem and body image, potentially leading to comparison and negative self-perception.

Cyberbullying and Online Harassment: Adolescents are vulnerable to cyberbullying and online harassment on social media platforms. Negative interactions, such as spreading rumors, sharing hurtful comments, or posting inappropriate content, can significantly impact their mental health and well-being. Parents, educators, and platforms should work together to address and prevent cyberbullying.

Mental Health Impact: Excessive social media use has been associated with mental health concerns in some adolescents. It can contribute to feelings of anxiety, depression, loneliness, and poor sleep quality. Setting healthy boundaries and promoting a balanced lifestyle, including offline activities and face-to-face interactions, are crucial.

Privacy and Online Safety: Adolescents need guidance in understanding the importance of privacy and online safety. They should be encouraged to set appropriate privacy settings, avoid sharing personal information with strangers, and report any suspicious or abusive behavior. Parents and caregivers play a vital role in educating adolescents about online safety measures.

Time Management and Distraction: Spending excessive time on social media can lead to distraction from academic responsibilities, hobbies, and other essential activities. It’s important for adolescents to develop healthy habits and time management skills, ensuring they prioritize their responsibilities and maintain a balanced lifestyle.

To navigate the potential challenges associated with social media use, open communication between adolescents, parents, educators, and mental health professionals is crucial. Providing guidance, establishing boundaries, and fostering digital literacy can help adolescents maximize the benefits of social media while mitigating the potential risks.


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It is likely too hard to tell if your mental health indirectly caused weight gain, or weight gain affects your mental health.

Obesity can have a significant impact on a person’s mental wellbeing, adults with excess weight have a much higher risk of developing depression compared to people that do not struggle with their weight. Below is a look at how obesity can affect mental health and vice versa:

  1. Low self-esteem: Obesity is often associated with societal stigma, body shaming, and negative stereotypes. People with weight issues may experience low self-esteem and poor body image, which can lead to feelings of shame, guilt, and self-blame. This negative self-perception can impact overall mental well-being.
  2. Depression and anxiety: Obesity has been linked to higher rates of depression and anxiety. The social isolation, discrimination, and negative body image associated with obesity can contribute to these mental health conditions. Additionally, hormonal imbalances and inflammation associated with obesity may directly affect brain chemistry and contribute to the development of these disorders.
  3. Eating disorders: While obesity and eating disorders may seem contradictory, they can be interconnected. Some individuals with obesity may develop binge eating disorder, which involves consuming large amounts of food in a short period and feeling a loss of control. This can further contribute to weight gain and negatively impact mental health.
  4. Poor quality of life: Obesity can limit physical mobility and decrease overall quality of life. Difficulties in performing daily activities, such as exercise or even simple tasks, can lead to frustration, decreased self-worth, and feelings of helplessness, which can affect mental well-being.
  5. Social withdrawal and isolation: People with obesity may face discrimination and social stigma, which can lead to social withdrawal and isolation. This lack of social support and meaningful connections can contribute to feelings of loneliness, depression, and anxiety.
  6. Cognitive function: Some research suggests that obesity may have negative effects on cognitive function and increase the risk of conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. This can further impact mental health by causing cognitive decline and emotional distress.

It is important to note that the relationship between obesity and mental health is complex, and individual experiences may vary. Seeking professional help from healthcare providers, such as therapists, counselors, or registered dietitians, can be beneficial in addressing both physical and mental health concerns associated with obesity.


Schedule an appointment to discuss your options and your future:


Life after divorce can be a challenging time, but it can also be a time for personal growth and new beginnings. You will likely go through many stages of emotional and practical ups and downs. At the end of the day, there is no road map of rights and wrongs, its a personal journey.

Emotional Healing

Divorce often brings a range of emotions, including sadness, anger, and grief. It’s essential to allow yourself time and space to heal emotionally. Seek support from friends, family, or even a therapist who can help you process your feelings and provide guidance during this time.


Take the opportunity to reflect on your own needs, desires, and goals. Rediscover yourself and consider what you want out of life moving forward. Use this time to reconnect with your own identity and explore new interests or hobbies. What makes you happy and brings you joy?


If you have children, co-parenting may be a significant aspect of your life after divorce. It’s crucial to maintain open communication with your ex-spouse for the well-being of your children. Focus on creating a stable and nurturing environment for them, and be willing to work together for their best interests.

Rebuilding Social Connections

Divorce can often lead to changes in social circles. Reach out to friends, join new social groups, or engage in activities that interest you. Building a support network can provide emotional support, companionship, and a sense of belonging.

Financial Adjustments

Divorce can have significant financial implications. Assess your new financial situation and develop a budget that aligns with your current circumstances. It may be necessary to make adjustments to your lifestyle and spending habits. Don’t try to have the life you had before the divorce immediately, take it slowly, it’s not worth getting into debt or make big financial decisions when you are still figuring out what your new life will be.


Focus on self-care to nurture your physical and mental well-being. Prioritize activities that bring you joy, such as exercise, hobbies, meditation, or spending time in nature. Taking care of yourself will help you regain your emotional strength and resilience. Treat yourself with kindness and understanding. Practice self-compassion by acknowledging your feelings, being patient with yourself, and practicing self-care without guilt.

Seeking out support is a perfect way to practice self-care, reach out to a therapist or counselor who can provide guidance and support as you navigate your emotions. Support groups or online communities can also be beneficial for connecting with others who may be going through similar experiences. Practice mindfulness; take time each day to be present in the moment and observe your thoughts and feelings without judgment, meditation or breathing exercises can be helpful in cultivating awareness and reducing stress.

Looking forward – Setting New Goals

As you embark on this new chapter, set new goals for yourself. Whether they are personal, professional, or related to relationships, having goals can provide you with a sense of direction and purpose. Break them down into smaller, manageable steps to make progress and celebrate your achievements along the way.

If you need help navigating this life changing time, talk to a BCS therapist.


noun:  a person who has an excessive interest in or admiration of themselves.

Common Narcissist Characteristics

  • Inflated Ego.
  • Lack of Empathy.
  • Need for Attention.
  • Repressed Insecurities.
  • Few Boundaries.

A Narcissistic Partner

A Narcissist will often deploy a variety of behaviour patterns such as control, manipulation, and exploitation to ensure that their own relationship needs are met. As the partner you could be the subject of their manipulation and abuse, while they treat everyone else with respect.

Narcissistic partners act as if they are always right, that they know better and that their partner is wrong or incompetent, resulting in their partner feeling angry, trying to defend themselves or identifying with this negative self-image and feeling badly about themselves. A Narcissist will purposefully do things to destroy your happiness and relaxing moments, or to prevent you from doing something as simple as sleep, in order to have control. While being the target of narcissistic abuse is stressful and hurtful, many narcissists are unaware of how their actions impact others. If they are aware that others feel negatively about them or about their choices, they often lack the ability to take responsibility for their actions or see them as wrong.

Narcissists are also drawn to those who can boost their own self-esteem and validate their sense of importance,being associated with someone who is successful or admired can make the narcissist feel more important by proxy.


There are four primary types of gaslighting behaviors: the straight-up lie, reality manipulation, scapegoating and coercion. Often it’s a combination of these behaviors. Narcissistic Gaslighting may include suggesting you’re “confused,” “mixed up” or “misremembering.” or saying something like, “I have no memory of that” or, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

If you think your Partner is Gaslighting you, consider these red flags: a. You are excessively questioning yourself.  b. You’re constantly feeling confused.  c. You’re frequently thinking you must be perceiving things incorrectly. d.  You feel your partner is lying to you about things that are very obvious and expecting you to believe them. Gaslighting can undermine your sense of reality, making it difficult for you to trust your own thoughts and feelings.

But be assured, this is not your fault, and it’s not a healthy relationship.

No matter if it’s a work colleague, a romantic partner, a friend, a sibling, or someone else in your life, let them know that they are Gaslighting you (they may be unaware) and that you won’t stand for that kind of manipulative, emotional abuse. Leaving an abusive relationship with a narcissist is tough, but it is possible as long as you trust your gut and have firm boundaries, and keep reminding yourself why you need to walk away.


If you would like help, join our safe, non judgemental group:

Living with a Narcissist; setting your boundaries




An article by : Nicoletta Pallotta

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Social isolation and working from home, aimed to stop the spread of the coronavirus may be making domestic violence more frequent, more severe and more dangerous. Are you or someone you love being abused? 1 out of every 3 women are in an abusive relationship and this issue becoming even more common during COVID-19, while we are stressed and forced to spend large amounts of time at home together.

Below are 10 common indicators of abuse:

  • Stalking: questioning your every move while telling you that they love you and are being protective
  • Texting or calling you constantly; insisting they are concerned about you and want to make sure that you are safe
  • Controlling your finances: forcing you to account in detail for every dollar that you spend
  • Criticizing you for every little thing you do
  • Humiliating you in front of your family and friends
  • Angering easily, particularly if he or she is drinking
  • Forcing you to have sex against your will
  • Hitting or punching you
  • Jealously of friendships or any other relationships you have
  • Isolating you from family and friends

If you can say yes to even one of these, you are in an abusive relationship.

During a calm stage, it’s easy to remain in the relationship thinking that it won’t happen again, but it doesn’t help to ignore the problem or live in hope that the abuser will change. It’s very important to be prepared and have a safety, back-up plan in case the violence erupts again.

Be prepared in case you need to call a shelter

It’s not accepting defeat to be ready. Find out about legal options or other resources available to you before you have to use them. You should know exactly where to go and how to get there, even if a situation arises the middle of the night.

Prepare an emergency bag, for a quick exit

Keep cash, a checkbook, your savings account details, identification, a medical insurance card and your address book in a safe place where the abuser can’t find it. The last thing you want to be worried about at a time like this is money!

Leave the situation

If it happens, be ready to go. If you have children, take them with you. If you are in immediate danger call 911.


What is Generalized Anxiety disorder?

Generalized Anxiety disorder (GAD) is where Anxiety is present constantly, and is there is no relief.

It interferes with daily function and makes it difficult to get a good night sleep. Anxiety can also manifest through physical symptoms such as: headaches, nausea, diarrhea, increase heart rate, hyperventilating and sweaty palms. Anxiety can be so debilitating that it can interfere with work and your relationships.

GAD effects women twice as often men. Treating GAD through psychotherapies, either talk-therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy along with physical exercise can elevate symptoms. Simple changes in your life style can help; yoga, meditation, avoiding caffeine, daily exercise, these all are proven to have a calming effect on ones Anxiety. Herbal remedies may also work to relieve anxiety for some people, Kava, Valerian root, St John wart, but before using them speak to your doctor.

Women who experience anxiety may have other psychological issues. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; Social Phobia, Panic attacks, Stress or Depression.

It is not healthy to let these symptoms continue indefinitely. Schedule an appointment with one of our friendly and experienced Therapists. We are here to help you.

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an article by
Nicoletta Pallotta, MD, LCSW
CEO & Founder

As the much anticipated ‘return to work’ takes hold… my overwhelming concern has been once the pandemic was under control and social distance has been lifted, how would I manage our physical locations, for our clients and the 150 therapists that work for BCS Group.

I not only need to consider everyone’s safety, but also the new ‘norm’ for our practice, many clients and therapists have expressed a strong desire to continue with our tele-health model.

When COVID first forced me to shut down the physical locations, my focus abruptly shifted from assigning rooms to schedule our clients, to providing secure, Live Video services. The upside to this change gave us the ability to extend our hours, care for more clients, and hire more therapist. But also, it gave us the capability to reach out to more remote areas, where clients and therapist that previously may not have been able to connect with us, now could.

As I plan for the opening of locations and develop a real sense of the future balance between in-person and online, I decided the best way to forecast the future was to engage directly with our therapist and clients, to see what their preferences really are.

I was really surprised to learn that most therapists are more interested in the remote model, as are our clients, they are really enjoying tele-mental health; the convenience and flexibility, generally they feel their therapy sessions have been more relaxing from the comfort of their homes, along with not needing to arrange childcare, no more commute or waiting rooms. Overall, online counseling is a lot less stressful.

I think the pandemic helped us all realize that remote care is here to stay.


Even through, as an essential worker, i was in my office everyday through the pandemic – i saw my clients via Live Video Chat, i supervised therapists through Live Video Chat and i managed most of my staff through Live Video chat.

I have been asked a number of times “it must be so much better seeing clients in person, right?” I have spent much time thinking about this, and caught myself reflecting on just this question during sessions… I stumbled on the realization that when we see our clients in their own environment, over Live Video, we really do learn a lot about them we might not get to see when they come to our office.

Their home environment tells the clinician a lot about how they live and what is important to them, whether it is art they have hanging on their wall, or their connection to a dog or a cat or maybe both!

Seeing our clients in their own comfort zone allows us more understanding to who they are, which will undoubtedly help the therapeutic relationship. People often take for granted their environment and wouldn’t think to share some of the aspects of their home life with their therapist.

One of the main benefits of Online Counseling, besides the end of the commute and no more uncomfortable waiting rooms, is when our client is in their natural environment, often they are more relaxed and open to the process.

Dr. Nicoletta Pallotta
BCS Group – Founder, CEO


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 it’s also works.