Tag: therapy

Finding Peace Among the Chaos: Strategies for Mental Well-Being in NYC

New York City, with its dazzling skyline and relentless pace, offers an exhilarating backdrop for life’s adventures. However, the very elements that make NYC iconic can also pose unique challenges to mental well-being. The constant hustle, coupled with the city’s high cost of living and competitive environment, can lead to stress, anxiety, and feelings of isolation. As a psychotherapy private practice based in the heart of this bustling metropolis, we understand the complexities of maintaining mental health in such a dynamic setting. In this post, we’ll explore strategies for building resilience and fostering a sense of inner peace amidst the city’s ceaseless rhythm.

Nurturing Connections

In a city of millions, it’s paradoxical yet common to feel alone. Cultivating meaningful relationships is crucial for emotional support and can act as a buffer against the stressors of city life. Whether it’s joining local community groups, engaging in social activities that align with your interests, or simply making an effort to connect more deeply with friends or colleagues, building your social network can provide a sense of belonging and support.

Finding Nature’s Respite

New York City is dotted with green oases that offer a tranquil escape from urban intensity. Regular visits to parks like Central Park, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, or the lesser-known havens in your neighborhood can provide a necessary breather and reconnect you with the calming influence of nature. Engaging in mindful practices like meditation or yoga in these natural settings can amplify the restorative effects.

Establishing Work-Life Boundaries

The city’s work-centric culture often blurs the lines between professional and personal life, leading to burnout. Establishing clear boundaries is essential for mental health. This might mean setting strict working hours, unplugging from digital devices post-work, or dedicating time to hobbies and interests outside of your job. Remember, productivity also includes taking care of your mental and emotional well-being.

Embracing Mindfulness and Self-Compassion

Practicing mindfulness can help anchor you in the present moment, reducing the overwhelm that comes from the city’s fast pace. Pair this with self-compassion, especially during tougher times, to foster resilience. Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would offer a friend, acknowledging that it’s okay to not always have everything figured out.

Seeking Professional Support

Sometimes, the most effective strategy is to seek guidance from mental health professionals who can provide personalized coping strategies and therapeutic interventions. Whether it’s through cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), or other modalities, professional support can be a cornerstone in building a healthier, more resilient self.

In conclusion, while NYC’s vibrant energy is invigorating, it’s vital to prioritize mental health amidst the hustle. By nurturing connections, seeking nature’s solace, setting clear boundaries, practicing mindfulness, and perhaps most importantly, seeking professional support when needed, we can navigate the complexities of city life with resilience and grace. Remember, taking care of your mental health is not just about surviving in the city but thriving in it.

Written by: Kat Heidelberger, LMSW

Understanding Dissociative Identity Disorder and the Role of Therapy

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder, is a complex psychological condition that is often misunderstood. It is characterized by the presence of two or more distinct personality states or identities within a single individual. These identities may have their own names, ages, histories, and characteristics. Individuals with DID may experience gaps in memory and consciousness, which can significantly impact their daily functioning and quality of life.

The Complexity of DID

DID is believed to stem from severe and prolonged trauma during early childhood, often related to extreme, repetitive physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. The disorder is a sophisticated coping mechanism; the individual dissociates themselves from a situation or experience that’s too violent, traumatic, or painful to assimilate with their conscious self.

Symptoms and Challenges

The primary feature of DID is the presence of multiple identities or personality states, each with its distinct mode of being and perceiving the world. Individuals may find themselves doing things they don’t remember doing, finding unfamiliar items among their possessions, or feeling like there are different voices trying to take control in their head. These symptoms can be highly distressing and may lead to significant disruptions in the person’s life.

The Role of Therapy in Managing DID

Therapy is crucial in the treatment and management of DID. The therapeutic process involves several key components aimed at integrating the separate identities into one primary identity and helping the individual cope with their traumatic memories in a healthy way.

1. Establishing Safety

The first step in therapy is creating a safe and supportive environment. Individuals with DID have often experienced significant trauma, making it essential to establish a sense of safety and trust within the therapeutic relationship.

2. Diagnostic Clarification

Given the complex nature of DID, careful assessment and diagnosis are critical. This involves a detailed exploration of the individual’s history, symptoms, and functioning to ensure that the treatment plan is tailored to their specific needs.

3. Stabilization

Therapists work with individuals to develop coping strategies to manage distressing symptoms and to stabilize their emotional state. This may involve techniques for grounding, mindfulness, and emotional regulation to help individuals stay connected to the present moment and reduce dissociative episodes.

4. Trauma Processing

Central to the treatment of DID is the careful and gradual processing of traumatic memories. This is done in a controlled and supportive environment, often using techniques like Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) or trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

5. Integration

The goal of therapy is not to eliminate the different identities but to help them work together more cohesively. Integration involves fostering communication and cooperation among the identities, reducing amnesia, and consolidating memories and experiences into a more unified sense of self.

6. Rehabilitation

As individuals gain greater control over their symptoms and start to integrate their identities, therapy focuses on rehabilitation. This involves building skills for better daily functioning, improving relationships, and working on life goals that were previously hindered by the disorder.


Dissociative Identity Disorder presents unique challenges, but with appropriate, specialized therapy, individuals can achieve significant improvements in their quality of life. Therapy offers a path towards healing, helping individuals to integrate their different identities, process their trauma, and move forward with a greater sense of wholeness and self-understanding. It’s a journey of reconnection with oneself, guided by the compassionate support of psychotherapy.

Written by: Kat Heidelberger, LMSW

5 Techniques to Conquer Anxiety and Realign with Joy

There is no denying the intensity of the moment. The constant barrage of stimulation from all directions can be astounding, and it is very easy to be consumed by overwhelming anxiety. Here are 5 ways to pause and address your anxiety, so that you can restore calm and refocus on joy:

  1. STOP! Check in with yourself. Often we are so used to living with some level of anxiety and overwhelm that we aren’t fully conscious of it. We just know that we feel off. Sometimes our anxiety is very pronounced and we are quite aware of its presence. Yet, there are many times that our anxiety is less obvious and sort of lingering close by, causing us to feel discomfort. Pausing for a moment to check in with ourselves and explicitly asking, “what exactly am I anxious about?” can help us get to the root of our discomfort. 
  1. Establish the core emotion underneath the anxiety. There are 7 core emotions: sadness, fear, anger, disgust, joy, excitement and sexual excitement.  Anxiety is considered a secondary emotion that is often a response to feeling a core emotion. Sometimes our brains will use anxiety to protect us from feeling an emotion we find threatening. For example, experiencing anxiety because you are angry. Even positive experiences can cause us to feel anxious. For instance, being anxious after getting a new job due to fears about having to deliver. Whenever we feel uneasy because of anxiety, it’s best that we dig deeper and address what is really going on for us. 
  1. Go in. Sometimes getting to that core emotion requires an extended analysis of our inner world. Being inundated all day, every day with notifications, ads, news, messaging and so on can create a lot of mental noise for us. Meditation is one way that we can pause and tune into ourselves. Journaling is also an effective way to be with and observe our thoughts. Both journaling and meditation are great ways to slow down and notice those thoughts that have us on edge. Noticing the narratives on autoplay in our mind gives us a chance to confront them and perhaps get rid of them. Journaling and meditation can help us become aware of the stories we live with. This awareness makes it easier to notice things like when our inner saboteur is talking to us. We can then tell it ‘beat it’ quicker.
  1. Get out. On the other hand, it may be helpful to get out of our heads by connecting with another person. Therapy is one of the most effective ways to get back into the real world. Being with someone we feel safe and comfortable with can be very soothing. Speaking to someone else is a great way to get away from “the committee” in your mind. The committee being the various threatening thoughts and voices whirling around in our heads, often spewing antagonistic messages and/or bad advice. 
  1. Work it out. Exercise can be great for reducing our anxiety. Working out releases feel-good endorphins in our brain. Having a gym membership in conjunction with seeing a therapist can enhance our overall sense of well being. A great gym with a good group fitness schedule offers many options for us to find the class that puts us in a state of flow. Being in a flow state allows us to be in the moment and puts space between our minds and those nagging thoughts. 

Combining meditation, fitness, and therapy creates a wellness regimen that is holistic. The anxiety produced by these uncertain times doesn’t stand a chance against a complete mental, physical, and spiritual self care regimen. Just remember that the first step to rejuvenation is to pause and stop anxiety in its tracks. 

Written by Antonio Thomas, MSW

What To Do When Imposter Syndrome Creeps Into Your Professional Life

What To Do When Imposter Syndrome Creeps Into Your Professional Life

Feeling like an imposter in your job? You are not alone. Whether you just landed your first job after graduating or transitioning to a new career path or even just a new role, it can feel overwhelming and stressful to take it all on. A common hurdle many young professionals face is imposter syndrome – the nagging feeling of being inadequate despite evidence of your incredible abilities to succeed. However, there are strategies and techniques that we can use to alleviate this feeling and help become our best selves in our professional lives.

Acknowledge and Normalize Your Feelings!

First and foremost, understand that the self-doubt you are feeling is imposter syndrome, and it is a common experience. You may feel isolated in your experience, but in fact, many successful individuals have battled with feelings of being a fraud at some point in their careers. Know that you are not alone and that what you are experiencing does not have to define you.

Recognize Your Accomplishments:

You are in your position for a reason! Take moments to reflect on your achievements and the journey that led you to where you are today. Often, imposter syndrome clouds our judgment and causes us to downplay our successes and abilities. Remind yourself of the skills, knowledge, and experiences that have prepared you for your role. Reframing your mindset can help boost your confidence and remind you that you are capable of whatever you put your mind to!

Challenge Your Thoughts:

Imposter syndrome often manifests as negative thoughts and self-talk. It’s crucial to recognize that and challenge it when it begins to creep in. Acknowledge the thoughts and why they are coming up for you, and then remember the evidence that opposes these thoughts: your strengths, achievements, and positive feedback you have received.

Seek Support and Guidance:

Don’t hesitate to seek support from your friends, family, or mentors when imposter syndrome comes up. It is likely that they have experienced this themselves, and they may be able to give you a fresh perspective, reassurance, and advice for how to move forward.

Set Realistic Goals:

Setting realistic goals is essential in managing imposter syndrome. Break down your objectives into smaller, more attainable tasks. This will help make them feel less overwhelming and you more confident in achieving them. Remember to celebrate each milestone too! Celebrating your progress reinforces your self-belief and reminds you that you are capable of reaching your goals.

Prioritize Self-Care:

Taking care of your well-being – physically, emotionally, and mentally – is crucial in combating imposter syndrome. Make sure to engage in activities that bring you joy and peace. This can include exercise, meditation, your favorite hobbies, spending time with friends, etc. Utilizing self-care helps reduce stress, maintain a healthy work-life balance, and fosters a positive mindset that ultimately helps overcome imposter syndrome.

Utilize Therapy as a Resource:

Therapy provides a safe and supportive space to explore and address the underlying causes of imposter syndrome. A therapist can help you develop effective coping strategies, build self-confidence, and navigate the challenges of your professional life.

Embarking on a professional journey as a young adult can be both exciting and daunting. We at Refresh are here to help you through it, tailoring our work to your specific needs. Remember: you are capable, deserving, and on the right path towards your professional goals.

If this resonated with you, feel free to reach out to any of our wonderful clinicians today. 

Written by Isabel Golan

Clean Your Social Circle: Identifying and Addressing Toxic Relationships

Toxic relationships come in various forms and can be found in any area of our lives, including friendships, romantic partnerships, family relationships, and even professional connections. While it’s normal to encounter conflicts or disagreements in any relationship, toxic relationships go beyond that, draining our energy and causing significant distress. If you’re finding yourself in relationships like this, cleaning your social circle may be an essential step toward cultivating a more positive mental space.

The first step in cleaning your social circle is recognizing the signs of toxicity. Some common red flags to look out for include:

  1. Constant criticism and belittling: Does this person often undermine your self-esteem, making you doubt your abilities and self-worth? This may look like criticizing your appearance, achievements, or personal choices, leaving you feeling inadequate and insecure.
  1. Emotional manipulation: Does this person manipulate your emotions to get what they want? They may guilt-trip you, play mind games, or use emotional blackmail to control your actions and decisions.
  1. Little respect for boundaries: Does this person disregard your boundaries and personal space? They may invade your privacy, constantly demand your attention, or pressure you into doing things you’re uncomfortable with.
  1. Unbalanced and One-Sided: Toxic relationships often lack reciprocity and balance. If you find yourself constantly giving, supporting, or sacrificing without receiving the same level of care or consideration, it’s likely an unhealthy dynamic.
  1. Lack of support: Does this person rarely show genuine support or empathy and only seem to care about themselves? They may dismiss your problems, invalidate your feelings, or even sabotage your efforts to succeed.

Once you’ve identified toxic relationships in your social circle, it’s crucial to take proactive steps to address them. Here are some strategies to help you navigate this process:

  1. Set boundaries: Clearly define your personal boundaries and communicate them assertively. Let the person know what behaviors are unacceptable to you and what consequences will follow if those boundaries are violated.
  1. Practice assertive communication: Learn to express your needs, opinions, and emotions assertively, without resorting to aggression or passivity. Assertive communication allows you to stand up for yourself and set those boundaries while maintaining respect for others.
  1. Limit Contact or Distance Yourself: If the toxic relationship involves a non-essential person in your life, consider limiting contact or creating some distance. This may include reducing interactions, unfollowing them on social media, or even severing ties if necessary.
  1. Prioritize self-care: Take care of your own well-being by engaging in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. Cultivate self-compassion and surround yourself with positive influences that uplift and inspire you.
  1. Seek personal and professional support: Reach out to trusted friends, family members, or mental health professionals who can provide guidance and support as you navigate the challenges of addressing toxic relationships. Their objective perspective can help you gain clarity and confidence, and help guide you through the healing process. 

Cleaning your social circle can be challenging and emotionally draining, but it is an essential step toward prioritizing your mental health and well-being. Remember, you have the right to surround yourself with positive, supportive individuals who contribute positively to your life.

By identifying toxic relationships, setting boundaries, and seeking support, you can create a social circle that nurtures your growth and fosters a healthy state of mind. Don’t be afraid to let go of toxic relationships and make room for healthier connections in your life. Your mental health matters!

Written by Katherine Heidelberger



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