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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.


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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


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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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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.


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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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Rhoda Rabkin. Mentor & Friend.

March is Women’s History Month. I think the best way to celebrate this month is to honor a woman in your life that made an impact that changed who you are today.

My Rhoda is gone almost 16 years.

Not one day goes by that I do not think of her. Rhoda was a constant force in my life, she taught me to always trust your instincts and there is nothing you cannot do, and to always follow my passion.

Since she left me as her legacy, it is my role in this world is to help other women by inspiring them the way that she inspired me. I wouldn’t be the person I am if it wasn’t for her. Thank you Rhoda.


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I always wanted to build our BCS Counseling Group to incorporate Telehealth. But the onset of the pandemic led to a rapid uptake and escalation in use of virtual care.

Who knew that from March 2020, Telehealth was going to be our only form of providing psychotherapy to our clients, luckily we were set up to do it from day one, and my great team stepped up and helped inform, educate and connect our clients.

Since day 1 of Covid-19, I have been on the front lines. As an essential worker, I had to turn up day after day to keep things running, manage my team, emergencies and deal with unforeseen crises, and there have been a lot.

I manage a team of over 150 therapists, my door is always open if they need me, they have shared stories of overwhelming anxiety, depression, stress for the future, loss of loved ones. Weddings being cancelled, graduations and holiday gatherings cancelled. Or just the little things, like the inability to visit a loved one or hug a friend. These are the things that makes us feel human, make us feel loved and needed.

I have been asked on many occasions ‘are you getting burned out from all this?’
my answer: “yes of course”
It is a very traumatic and trying time, but at the end of the day, I am blessed to do what I love, I’m in a position to help people, so this is what I do.

On a lighter note, our clients and therapists have had to create spaces for privacy for the Live Video Sessions. Some are using bathrooms, cars, bedrooms, even closets. Wherever you can get comfortable with your device and an internet connection, that’s the new norm for the therapist’s couch.

We all needed to find a little humor in this difficult time, and although we’re all in this together, no two stories are the same. One of my clients showed up at session looking quite different to our ‘normal’ sessions. When I questioned her if she was okay, she started laughing. “I am not wearing makeup and I do not feel like fixing my hair! I feel free.’ We laughed. Another client was crying and sad because her father was COVID positive, then I hear a loud flushing noise… it was the toilet flushing! The new norm!

When the COVID-19 pandemic is over, a lot of things will go back to the way there were ‘before’. We will stop wearing masks, we’ll pack into restaurants and we’ll hug family and friends at the drop of a hat! But I believe Telehealth is here to stay. I expect to see continued expansion in telehealth services. It’s proven to be a very effective way to provide care, especially for those who can’t easily get to their provider’s office. We can increase the hours we can connect with our clients, as Therapists and clients no longer need to factor in a commute or ‘office hours’.

Clients are finding a newfound freedom; flexibility and convenience, and Therapist who may live in more rural or remote areas, can now build their client base on secure and easy to use platforms.

I am committed to helping as many clients and team members as possible through this pandemic, and if I have to work 7 days a week (which I do), I am happy to do it. My mission has always been to give back to a community that has given me so much love over the years. Mental health is essential to an individual’s well-being, and is fundamental to a healthy, balanced life, which is essential during these difficult times.

Nicoletta Pallotta, MD, LCSW
CEO & Founder


 

If you would like to talk to someone, a trained, qualified and compassionate therapist, please contact us now:

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There are different shades or levels of Anxiety that we as women, suffer from. Why are so many of us struggling with it?

Anxiety is a normal emotion, we experience it in our daily lives and often in new situations. When does it become a problem? when it grows out of proportion and becomes debilitating or interferes with your daily life activities?

Anxiety can be manifest differently for each individual.

Generalized Anxiety disorder (GAD) is when 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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If we just push through, things will eventually get better.

I’m not sure where that mindset came from, but I am certain that it was learned – and that it’s wrong.

Many people don’t seek therapy until things have become so unmanageable that they can no longer function properly. Somewhere in the craziness of life, we have stopped listening to our bodies, minds, and spirits when they tell us we are doing too much, or that our lifestyle is not sustainable.

As with most medical conditions, early diagnosis usually leads to better outcomes. Getting the help you need as soon as possible can help you prevent things getting worse. Treatment can help you avoid the negative effects on your daily life, from strained relationships to difficulty managing work and finances.

So, what are the issues that eventually push women to find a good therapist?

Depression and Anxiety
Life Adjustment Disorders
Difficulty in Relationships
Addiction
Mood Instability
Disordered Eating
Grief
Personal Growth

Talk to us, we are a team of friendly, fully qualified and experienced therapists, from all walks of life and backgrounds. We will pair you with the therapist that suits you best.

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