Take a mental health screening tool


RECOGNIZE THESE SYMPTOMS?

+changes in energy level and sleep patterns
+frequent thoughts of death or suicide
+loss of interest or pleasure in activities
+noticeable restlessness or irritability
+difficulties in concentration or decision making
+changes in appetite, eating habits, or weight
+feeling sad, empty, hopeless, worthless, or guilty

Click here to take a screening test. **If your score indicates positively for symptoms, the clinicians at our practice NYC Cognitive Therapy can help. Call today to schedule an appointment, (347-470-8870).

Mental Health Screening Tools Click here to take a screening test.

Taking a mental health screening is one of the quickest and easiest ways to determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition. Mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, are real, common and treatable. And recovery is possible.

 

Tests include:

Depression Test

Anxiety Test

Bipolar Test

PTSD Test

Youth Test

Parent Test (for child)

Alcohol or Substance Use Test

Psychosis Test

Eating Disorder Test

Work Health Survey

**If your score indicates positively for symptoms, the clinicians at our practice NYC Cognitive Therapy can help. Call today to schedule an appointment, (347-470-8870).

*Tools are provided by mentalhealthamerica.net.

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A List of Pro-Women, Pro-Immigrant, Pro-Earth, Anti-Bigotry Organizations That Need Your Support


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Does the current political climate lead you to feel stressed? angry? depressed? or hopeless? In my experience as a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist (CBT) and helping clients (a) to change how they think, and (b) improving problem solving and coping skills, one of the BEST ways to cope with distress about the state of affairs is to proactively get involved. There are many ways to help.

Here are a few organizations that work to fight for the rights of our most vulnerable populations, and ways you can volunteer or donate to make sure they are able to work harder than ever.

Note: Please reply to the forum with other organizations that you recommend. 

The American Civil Liberties Union works to defend individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution. Donate here.

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to “stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” Today, it fights against anti-semitism and bigotry as one of the largest civil rights organizations in the country. Find your local affiliate here and donate here.

Border Angels is an all-volunteer non-profit that advocates for immigration reform and social justice focusing on the U.S.-Mexico border. It offers educational and awareness programs and migrant outreach programs to San Diego County’s immigrant population. Donate here.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of America offers enrichment programs and support for children when they’re not in school. Donate and learn about ways to volunteer here.

Campaign Zero advocates for policy solutions to end police violence in America. Fill out this survey to learn how to get involved.

The Center for Reproductive Rights is the world’s foremost legal advocate for securing women’s access to quality reproductive health care. Donate here.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is the country’s largest Muslim civil liberties organization. Donate here or find your local chapter here.

The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) is a national civil rights law and policy center devoted to advancing the rights of people with disabilities through advocacy, training, education, and public policy. Donate here.

EarthJustice is the largest nonprofit environmental law organization in the country, working to protect wildlife, for healthy communities, and for cleaner energy options. The organization represents its clients free of charge. Donate here, and sign up for action alerts here.

EMILY’s List is a political action committee that works to elect pro-choice Democratic women candidates to public office. Donate here, or find out how to how to run for office here.

Lambda Legal is a national legal organization dedicated to fighting for the civil rights of the LGBT population and people with HIV through litigation, education, and policy work. Donate here.

NARAL Pro-Choice America is a political advocacy group focused on fighting for women’s reproductive rights and freedom. Click here to donate and here to volunteer.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) works to promote the civil rights of people of color and to eliminate race-based discrimination. Donate here, and find your local chapter for more ways to get involved here.

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund fights for racial justice through litigation, advocacy and education. Donate and learn about ways to get involved here.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV)advocates for victims and attempts to change policy surrounding domestic violence. Click here to donate.

The National Immigration Law Center is dedicated to fighting for the rights of low-income immigrants through litigation, policy analysis and advocacy, and various other methods. Donate or learn how you can attend a local training here.

The National Immigration Forum is another leading immigrant advocacy group that offers various programs to integrate immigrants into the workforce and obtain citizenship. Donate here.

National Organization for Women (NOW) is an activist organization, foundation and PAC that advocates for equal rights for women. Donate here, and look for volunteer programs, like clinic escorting, on your local chapter’s page.

The National Women’s Law Center has worked for over 40 years to enact policies and laws on behalf of women and families. Donate here.

The Native American Rights Fund provides legal assistance to Native American tribes, organizations, and individuals nationwide who may otherwise go without adequate representation. Donate here.

The New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault lists a number of ongoing volunteer opportunities in childcare, community training, rape crisis counseling, and legal advocacy here.

NextGen Climate Action works politically “to prevent climate disaster.” Click here to donate and click here to volunteer.

PEN America works to protect free and open expression in the United States and across the world through literature and writing. Donate here.

Planned Parenthood is the country’s leading sexual and reproductive healthcare provider. Click here for nationwide volunteer opportunities (including as a clinic escort) and click here to donate. Local chapters also list more extensive volunteer opportunities, so take a look at your specific chapter (here’s New York’s page) for more.

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) is the country’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, which operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-HOPE; online.rainn.org; rainn.org/es) and programs to help victims of sexual violence. Click here for information about how to volunteer for the hotline or in your community, and click hereto donate.

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press offers legal resources, support and advocacy to reporters to protect the First Amendment and freedom of information rights. Donate here.

The Reproductive Health Access Project is a non-profit that trains clinicians to make quality reproductive healthcare more accessible. Click here to donate.

Running Start is another organization dedicated to educating young women and girls about the importance of politics, through the Young Women’s Political Leadership Program and various other fellowships and internships. Donate here.

She Should Run is a non-profit that aims to get more women into elected leadership roles. You can donate here or anonymously ask a woman you know to run for office.

The Sierra Club is the largest grassroots environmental organization in the county, and works to protect millions of acres of wilderness and pass legislation like the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. Click here for ways to give.

The Southern Poverty Law Center fights hate groups and bigotry using education, litigation, and advocacy. Donate here.

The Sylvia Rivera Law Project provides legal services specifically to low-income people and people of color who are transgender, intersex, or gender non-conforming. Click here to donate, and click here for to volunteer.

The Union of Concerned Scientists works to create solutions to the planet’s most pressing scientific problems through research, advocacy, and policy. Donate here.

The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights works to protect the best interests of children who come to the U.S. on their own. Donate here or learn about how you can volunteer as a Child Advocate in Chicago, New York, Houston, and Washington D.C. here.


Fear of terrorism


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This is a post from 2015 on how we can be more rational in responding to our fears of terrorism. 

Certainly terrorism is a horrible thing and the victims have suffered from a significant evil, but in evaluating your own risk, we might want to look at how we may feed into our fears by irrational appraisals of risk.

 

Best, Noah

Noah Clyman, LCSW-R, ACT

Academy of Cognitive Therapy (ACT) Diplomate & Fellow
Certified Trainer/Consultant & Credentialing Committee Member
Clinical Director, NYC Cognitive Therapy
347-470-8870, x700
Fax: 347-470-8870


Making Friends with Your Anxiety


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Anxiety is a function that is built into the human nervous system, for better or for worse. Understanding that it is natural (though seldom logical, and almost never comfortable) allows space for questions such as, “What would it feel like to fully accept anxiety when it is present?” “If I stopped fighting, what would happen?” “Can I be fully present during the experience of anxiety?” If you have a strong reaction to these questions, remember that sentiment, and check to see if it still feels true at the end of this blog.

 

I am far from the first one to pose these kinds of questions. Let’s examine a story from about two millennia ago. What follows is my own paraphrasing of an old teaching parable that I believe speaks volumes to the questions at hand (remember that parables are intended to be metaphorical, not literal):

 

A king, departing for travel, tells his attendants to take care of his throne in his absence. Not long after he departs, a demon enters the castle and sits down right on the king’s throne. The attendants are horrified, and in trying to uphold their obligation, they attempt to get rid of the demon. They try yelling, fighting, screaming, pushing, bribing, ignoring, and every method they can think of to force this demon out of the throne. With each attempt he simply grows larger and stronger, until he is so massive and imposing that the attendants feel hopeless and give up, fleeing to another part of the castle.

 

When the king returns from his travels, the attendants relay to him what is waiting on his throne, explaining that they have exhausted every conceivable option for getting rid of the demon. Being a wise and experienced king, he smiles and enters the castle. “Hello demon!” he exclaims, and to the shock of the attendants, the demon begins to shrink. “It looks like you’re enjoying my throne. Feel free to stay a little longer,” the king adds, and the demon shrinks further. “Would you like a cup of tea while you’re here?” he asks, as the demon continues to shrink. With each bit of kind and skillful attention that the king pays to the demon he continues to diminish until he ceases to exist altogether.

 

Dr. Padesky from the Center for Cognitive Therapy states that anxiety is typically described as an overestimation of danger, and an underestimation of resources. She contends that in therapy the overestimation of danger often receives most of the focus, but the underestimation of resources can be a much more powerful area to explore. Facing anxiety and fear with the right skillset and guidance brings about long-term change. If someone believes they do not possess the resources to rise above anxiety, it is only because they have not yet uncovered them.

 

People often treat anxiety like a demon, attempting to get rid of it by pushing, fighting, ignoring, and suppressing. Just as in the parable, this tends to have the opposite effect. CBT teaches us that we must first learn to be aware of our thoughts and feelings, and this means we can no longer ignore or suppress them; such defenses only reinforce the cycle of anxiety and phobia.

 

People often believe anxiety is static, but in CBT we come to learn that it is actually a constantly changing series of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. In mindfulness practice we spend time getting to know the intricacies of every experience, and we see that even intense panic is changing from moment to moment and is not a solid piece of us, but an impermanent sensory and psychological experience that can happen to anyone.

 

When anxiety evolves from something that occurs once in a while into an issue that greatly impedes someone’s life, it is often the case that the relationship with the anxiety itself has become worse than the triggers that produced the anxiety in the first place. Thoughts can seem so disturbing, feelings so distressing, and bodily sensations so uncomfortable that they are grouped into a blanket experience (dubbed anxiety), and demonized. Just as in the parable, fighting only succeeds in strengthening it by activating the sympathetic nervous system. Anxiety and fear-driven thoughts lead to more anxious feelings, which trigger more thoughts and bodily sensations, all modulated by our beliefs and assumptions, and this cycle can continue indefinitely. Anxiety cannot persist without fuel, which this cycle provides in surplus.

 

The solution lies in befriending the “demon.” While not an easy or comfortable option, it is the greatest long-term solution to anxiety. To resolve anxiety one must spend time observing it and understanding it, taking note of its components. The various thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations that make up anxiety can be most effectively dealt with if they are experienced with mindfulness and compassion, at which point the activating cycle will be interrupted and the fuel source dissipated. This is especially true when done in a safe space with a therapist.

 

If you are interested in doing this kind of work with a therapist, feel free to contact me at 347-470-8870 extension 706, or at mikecomparetto@nyccognitivetherapy.com.


Worry Challenge Results – Review what we’ve learned!


Congratulations!  You’ve reached the finish line of the Noah Clyman 7 Day Worry Challenge.  How did it go?  What did you learn?  What strategies did you like best?  Why?  Where there any challenges along the way?  What benefits did you get from these exercises?

Let’s review what we’ve learned.

Tools for conquering worry:

  1. List your worries and write about them
  2. Schedule worry time
  3. Cut our your catastrophizing
  4. Ask yourself some good questions
  5. Use coping self-talk
  6. Go to yourself for advice
  7. Talk about it

Final assignment: Now is the time to create your ongoing plan to manage worry effectively moving forward.  Come up with a “worry plan” for each day moving forward.  Your plan could be identical to the 7 steps outlined above, or you could make some changes.  Find a plan that works for you and write your plan in your notebook or day planner.

I would love to hear about your results!  Use the message board to anonymously share your experience.


Worry challenge day 7: Talk about it


How are you doing so far?  Do you notice that as you apply these tools the intensity and frequency of your worry changes?  Are there some worries that fade away and others that hang around?  For these worries, I suggest you talk about it with someone.

We feel better and worry less when we’ve had an opportunity to talk to someone about those things that are bothering us.  When we can get our worries on the table, say them out loud, it gives us some perspective, and with this perspective can come greater feelings of control and hope.  You need, of course, someone to tell your worries to.  That person could be a family member, a friend, or a therapist.

Some of my best therapy sessions have resulted not from my brilliant insights, but from just letting my clients talk about their worries.

Today’s assignment: Share your worries with someone.  Allow this person to offer support, guidance, and compassion.


Worry Challenge day 6: Go to yourself for advice


One of the quirks we have is that we seem to be terrible at dealing with our own problems, but we’re usually pretty good at solving other people’s.  Why not use this bit of psychological irony as a tool to help you worry less?

Today’s assignment: Imagine that someone is sitting in a chair opposite you.  He or she has come to you for advice.  For whatever reason, this person values your opinion and guidance.  Even more strangely, he or she has the same worry you have.  Restrain yourself from your first impulse – throwing your hands up in frustration – and reach deeply into your storehouse of wisdom.  You may find that you can come up with some wonderful ideas.  You are an incredible solution-finder.  Some share these ideas with yourself.