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An article written by our Founder and CEO,
Nicoletta Pallotta, MD, LCSW

14 months of a Pandemic no one saw coming and no one was prepared for. I have seen clients struggle with social distancing, isolation, struggling with remote working, and/or home schooling their children. We have all been mentally challenged with having no physical contact and not being able to see our friends and loved ones. And of course, the devastating reality of some of us losing loved ones to Covid-19.

I was committed to being one constant in the lives of our clients, to continuing to see every single one of them that needed us, but also being available for so many, many more that reached out for our help. These unique and stressful times pushed us to do psychotherapy in a different way that we were used too. Our roles became overwhelming with responsibilities, with day-in and day-out struggles for my amazing team, who’s dedication and compassion came shinning though day after day after day.

What does the future of mental health look like?
“I believe that we don’t know the full impact of the pandemic, and that many people are still in survival mode.”

Many people are still living day to day, coping with the devastation of personal loss and financial concerns as best they can. Mental services are now more needed and demand than ever before. We still don’t fully know the consequences of social isolation and how it has impacted us and what effect it might have on our children and their futures. We will have to wait and see.

Tele-mental health is here to stay. Technology helps us reach more people who need us, particularly in remote areas, and our therapists turn up every day to help those who need us. And I am here to support them every step of the way.

The future is brighter – I am sure of it.


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An article written by our Founder and CEO,
Nicoletta Pallotta, MD, LCSW

The fear is, because tele-mental health is a newer, alternative form of treatment, it is somehow less effective or a less desirable standard of care.

But the truth is, this technology platform represents much of the future in healthcare, and will likely lead the charge into the next era. In my opinion, having provided mental health care for over 35 years, tele-health works particularly well using digital, video-based care models, allowing us to reach more people in need, who otherwise, go without quality care.

This is one of the few health specialties that does not necessarily require ‘touch’ when doing an assessment or delivering treatment. Without that physical need, the Care Provider does not typically need to be in the same room as the client, allowing many more ways this care model could benefit their clients.

One might ask; does this communication between client and provider be as good as an in-person visit?

This may have been true when tele-health was in its infancy and lacked the technological capabilities it currently has. With the recent advancements in video conferencing systems and the ability to access much higher Internet speeds, the quality of video provides an environment in which there is little difference to an in-person consultation. The Care Provider will still be able to pick up on nonverbal cues and observe other factors such as their behaviors, facial expressions, hygiene, and speech patterns.

Tele-mental health care is as effective as in person sessions.

It also greatly increases access to care for many clients who may not otherwise be able to seek treatment. Allowing the client to seek treatment in their community, or even in their own home, has led to less travel, fewer absences from work, less time waiting, more choices for treatment, and ultimately, these factors lead to greater access for clients. This is especially important given the huge shortage of providers in this field.


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Life has a way of teaching us how to love ourselves through aging, an inevitable metamorphosis, whether we accept it or not.

I’m 69 years old. I’m proud of who I am, what i have achieved, and what i have contributed to my community. My age has never defined me, how i look, how I dress, how I act.

I know women who are younger than I am, that seem… well, older some how. This led me to a theory; maybe the way we perceive age is mainly, in part, due to how the women who raised us also perceived it? As child, I grew up with sisters who where 20 years older than me, through my eyes, the women in my family always seemed old and looked old. I thought they represented aging as slowing down until death.

I personally, like to perceive getting old as a promotion, or a victory celebrating what I have overcome throughout my life. What I began to understand was that maybe the resentment of aging is more psychological than physical. I am convinced that aging is not the end of a beautiful thing, but is the beautiful thing itself.

In spite of my upbringing, I am learning to dwell in the present, embracing each phase of my life for what it is, and what it has to offer, without resenting the years that I have yet to be graced with. When we grow older, we tend to only think of the end, we can lose sight of the fact that life is not about preparing for the end, but how we seize the years in between.

There will be days when I do not recognize the face of the woman I see in the mirror, although her eyes look the same. Despite that, I have decided that I will be mindful even now, not to burden my older years with dread. I know who I am, and i will not let my age or society dictate what I should be. I will live in the moment, and i will live my life to the fullest.


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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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Every woman has the ability to make a difference in the community in which they live.

As well as impacting the people we encounter every day on some level, we’re role models for our daughters, granddaughters, sisters, nieces and friends. Helping to make a positive change in the lives of others is especially important during this time of COVID-19, when so many people are stressed and under financial, emotional and all other kinds of stress and anxiety.

If you’re wondering how you can contribute to your community, remember it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, things you may take for granted could make all the difference in someones life.

Here’s one uplifting example:

“Susan, a stay at home mom, who has 3 children at school was exploring ways that she could contribute to her community. Having to be home for her children meant that she had limited free time to offer, but she still wanted to give back. One day, she found the opportunity to volunteer at a canned food drive that was run by one of the local community programs. Susan couldn’t believe how fulfilling it was to help other people. When she met with the person in charge of the food pantry, she presented the idea of distributing food to seniors in the community who are unable to leave their homes”.

Imagine how rewarding this experience was for Susan, and how her actions could influence the women in her life? When you perform an act of selflessness, and give your time and energy to others, you’re not only helping people but setting an example. Paying it forward is such an important life lesson and a great message to share. No act of kindness can ever be too small, whether it’s helping a person in your community, with poor vision, across the street or assisting someone who is struggling to make a doctor’s appointment.

In the words of Oprah: “When we think only about ourselves, we live a half-life, when we give back, we live a full life”.


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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.