A modern
approach to
therapy

Welcome to Cobb Psychotherapy LCSW

We believe that therapy can benefit everyone and our dynamic team of therapists work with you to take ownership of your life and your therapy. You’re in the driver’s seat and we’re honored to be along for the ride as a guide and support. We work with you to address your challenges and build on your existing strengths to overcome them. It doesn’t matter what your challenge is called, it’s about finding the solution that works for you.


“We believe that there is no one-size-fits-all approach, and we offer individual, couples, group, and online therapy.”

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Meet the Team

Our team of 35+ licensed therapists are here to make sure you get the consultation quickly and the appointment you need fast.

 

MEET THE TEAM

 

 


Psychotherapy Services

Our Psychotherapists specialize in a variety of issues, including:

Our Locations

We provide psychotherapy services in the following convenient Manhattan and Brooklyn locations:

Call us at
718.260.6462

to schedule a complimentary phone consult or to set up your initial appointment. Or fill out our contact form and we will get in touch with you,

Contact Form

Why I Do Online Psychotherapy (As Both a Therapist and Client) and Love it!

What do you think of when you hear about online psychotherapy?

In the past, I didn’t know what to think and didn’t even pay attention. As a New Yorker, I’m spoiled for choice when it comes to finding a therapist. However, my views have changed dramatically over the last few years. I’ve found that online psychotherapy can be just as powerful and transformative as the traditional face to face model we’re used to.

Let me tell you about how I became such a proponent for online therapy. I love it for personal and professional reasons. I started dabbling in online therapy as an adjunct to my regular in-person sessions. Sometimes clients couldn’t leave the office because of a tight schedule, they had to travel, were home with the flu, or didn’t want to brave the subway on a stormy day.

Is Online Psychotherapy Private?

When I did online therapy sessions I found that I felt as connected to my clients as if they were in the room with me. Our practice uses a HIPAA secure video platform called Doxy.me, which not only ensures privacy but also has amazing video and is easy to use. I practice what I preach and I started seeing my own therapist online more often than not. Even though she’s in the West Village and I was in Brooklyn, it felt far at times and it could be hard to find time between sessions to leave the office.

This past winter, after 10 years of living in New York City, I decided to make a change and move to the country. Now I almost exclusively see my clients online and I’m so happy that I can have the lifestyle I want while still being able to see my clients. One advantage of online therapy is the continuity of care. I’ve been seeing many of my clients for over three years and the thought of ending our work together saddened me. I was surprised that the majority of my clients decided to stay and go the online route. It’s can be hard to find a therapist you connect with, so I also decided to continue to see my therapist online instead of starting all over.

Accessing Therapy Online

Access is another wonderful benefit of online therapy. What if you live in a small town in Upstate New York and the closest therapist with the specialty you’re seeking is 50 miles away? Online therapy can help with that. Online therapy allows my practice to bring great mental health care to all corners of New York, not just to those of us who are lucky enough to live in NYC.

Even if you’re living in NYC, it can be tough and frustrating to get an appointment with the therapist you want, when you want it. Many of my clients can’t leave work in the middle of the day but I can’t see them in the evening. The answer? Online therapy! Many of my clients see me during the day while they’re at work. They just sneak into a conference room and we connect. So instead of calling and calling to see if your fifth choice therapist has an appointment after 6 pm,  consider going with your first choice and seeing them online during lunch.

A few caveats about online therapy.

  1. It’s not for everyone – online therapy is not recommended for people who are actively suicidal, experiencing psychosis, in an active eating disorder, or dealing with severe trauma. Online therapy is best for those who are psychiatrically stable but looking for guidance and support surrounding their lives.
  2. Not all online therapists are the same – when looking for an online therapist be sure to check that they’re trained in telemental health (TMH). There are important nuances to online therapy and it’s important that your therapist understands the legal, ethical, and clinical aspects of practicing online. At Cobb Psychotherapy, all of our therapists are trained in TMH and we are recognized as an accredited TMH practice.
  3. If you’re hesitant about online therapy, just try it! Feel free to ask for a video consult before you schedule to a session with a therapist.

Call us today and schedule your online psychotherapy session 

COBB PSYCHOTHERAPY LCSW
4 convenient locations in Manhattan & Brooklyn

The Three C’s of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

The way one thinks influences the way one behaves and feels.  This is the core concept of an effective, short-term, and goal-oriented treatment approach called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). So, if you can change the way you think, then changes in your emotions and behaviors will follow.

Anxiety is a common reason people seek CBT, and part of the process is understanding and exploring how the experience of anxiety is a result of unhelpful thought patterns. The thoughts are so automatic and fast, that many of us only notice the emotional, behavioral, and physical experiences such as an increase in heart rate, sweaty palms, and irritability that often can come along with anxiety.  Constantly engaging in these automatic thought patterns leads to significant distress. So, in CBT, a goal is to develop skills to catch the way you’re thinking, checking those thoughts for any bias, and then ultimately work to change them. These are the three C’s of CBT: Catch it, Check it, and Change it.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy #1: “Catch it”

Let’s start with the “catch it” of CBT.  This can begin with a practice of mindfulness: when you notice that you are feeling anxious, write down what happened.  What was the situation that occurred before you noticed your anxiety? Who was involved? What was going on? Where were you?  This will help you get an idea of your triggers and you will learn to be aware of the negative thoughts you are having.

Being aware of your thoughts is a challenging first step given that our thoughts are so automatic and quick. However, if you are able to catch what you are thinking, then you have the opportunity to manage the thoughts that generate negative emotions. This leads us to the next C, which is to “check it.”

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy #2: “Check it”

The “check it” step reminds us to step back and analyze our thoughts. Are my thoughts reasonable and realistic? Are there other possible explanations other than what I’m thinking? The goal is to be objective of our thoughts. However, this is difficult given that our individual thoughts contain biases. For example, think of a black cat crossing the street. Some readers may think, “that’s unlucky,” yet other readers may think, “look how cute.” The situation is the same, but the perspective can vary greatly.

Checking your thoughts means considering perspectives other than your own and challenging any biases your thoughts have. An example of a cognitive bias is black-and-white thinking, such as using words like “always” or “never.” Instead, try to think in gray: Is it accurate that things always go wrong? Find the in-between. Maybe some things don’t go your way, but have there also been times when things go well for you? This relates to having balanced and non-absolute thinking. There are several cognitive biases or thinking styles associated with CBT, particularly ones that ignite anxiety and depression. It is helpful to spend time learning about these thinking styles and finding patterns of thinking that you engage in. A helpful exercise can be asking yourself, “what would I tell a friend or family member who was experiencing the same thing?” This can help generate alternative explanations and reduce the personalization of events.

Each of these tips encourages people to “check” their thoughts. By generating evidence for and against your thoughts, you are able to then “change” your thoughts and manage negative emotions.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy #3: “Change it”

The “change it” step is about actually substituting your original thought with a more realistic or helpful thought.  Take the example below:

  • Thought: “This has been a tough week at work. Another week is done with not much to show for it.
  • Emotion: Disappointment, shame, sadness, low self-esteem
  • Action: Avoid activities that weekend that may usually bring joy, such as seeing friends

This becomes a vicious cycle. The more you avoid, the less you have to feel good about, leading to ongoing negative emotions. On the other hand, maybe there is an alternative thought that can change the resulting emotion and actions.

  • Thought: “This has been a tough week at work. But come Monday, a new week means new opportunity.”
  • Emotion: Disappointment, hope, determination
  • Action: Reach out to support

This example demonstrates how CBT is not about denying your thoughts, but about having more helpful thoughts. So, yes, it has been a difficult week and that is true. However, it also highlights that it is not helpful to only think about the past because there is nothing you can do about what has happened. Remember, you can only change the present and the future.

It is important to practice these steps regularly as it takes time for any change to take effect, particularly with your thoughts. “Catch It, Check It, Change It” is a simple way to remember how to make lasting changes.

To learn more about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), call us today to schedule a confidential appointment:

COBB PSYCHOTHERAPY LCSW
718-260-6462

* 4 convenient locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan

Tackling Mental Resistance to Change

Why do we avoid things that we know make us feel good? Many of us can easily rattle off a list of “self-care” activities but do we actually do them? Identifying areas of our lives that we want to change is a whole lot easier than actually doing the work to make the changes. So why don’t we do what we need to do? While there are a lot of tangible barriers—busy work schedule, financial costs, etc, there is also mental resistance to consider.

Making Changes is Scary

It is normal to be afraid of the unknown — it’s part of being human. Anxiety allows us to respond to danger and crisis, and is part of what has enabled us to survive. However, sometimes the anxiety surpasses what is protective and holds us back from diving into the unknown and making change that would be good for us.

So what can we do about that? It’d be great if that fear could simply disappear, but in reality, it is about having awareness and then practicing skills to challenge and overcome the anxiety. For example, say you have wanted to start making time for new hobbies and you have been thinking about trying an improv class for years. Begin by identifying the thoughts that come up when you think about signing up for the first class. Are you worried that you will embarrass yourself? That others will judge you for not being funny? After you have identified the thoughts you can begin to respond and challenge them directly. Tell yourself that not only is it okay to feel this way, but it is normal to feel anxious! Remind yourself that while you do feel anxious, you are going to take the class anyway.  If we simply wait for the anxiety to disappear, then we are likely never going to make changes!

Making Change is Difficult

Why would we willingly invite something stressful into our lives? Of course we avoid taking actions that are difficult. So remember to acknowledge that you are likely going to feel like you are swimming upstream when you do something outside of your normal routine. If we begin with the expectation that we will come up against resistance we can prepare ourselves to challenge these feelings. Say you want to begin going to yoga classes during the week but feel resistance to making a change to your work-week routine. Tell yourself: “I know this is going to be disrupting and difficult at first, but ultimately I know I will feel good if I practice making time for yoga in my schedule during the week.”

I Don’t Feel Worthy of Change

Often our beliefs about ourselves can be an obstacle to making changes that will make us feel good. Do you feel guilty when you prioritize self-care? Does making time for yourself feel too selfish? Many of us struggle to take off of work when we’re sick or will put others’ needs before our own. Instead, as counter-intuitive as it may seem, prioritizing our wellness is not selfish. It will have a positive impact on our relationships and careers because we ultimately will have more to give.

Therapy can be supportive in actively addressing these obstacles to making change.  If you would like to learn more about how therapy can help you, reach out to Cobb Psychotherapy to learn more or to schedule a free phone consult.

718-260-6462

How to Manage a Bad Mood

Most of us have used the phrases, “I woke up on the wrong side of the bed,” “I’m in a funk,” or simply, “I’m in a bad mood today.” Moods influence how we view situations, which impacts how we behave and interact with other people. For example, how do you behave on a day when you wake up in a bad mood? Perhaps you are less productive, have less patience for others, or are more easily flustered or irritable when a problem arises. Our moods can have a powerful impact on all areas of our lives, but if we can identify when we are in a bad mood, this means we can also work to manage them.

Recognition is an important first step, but it is important to take it further by first accepting the bad mood and then implementing strategies to manage or change it. The hope is we can step in before our bad mood negatively impacts our whole day. Here are some strategies for managing bad moods: 

Take a moment to identify the source of your mood.

Many factors influence our moods including hunger, exhaustion, weather, relationship problems, work stressors, etc. So this step includes checking in with what is going on in your life and how it might be contributing to how you are feeling.  This step doesn’t have to take a long time, but will go a long way with supporting you in managing a bad mood.

Give yourself a break.

Be compassionate with yourself and give yourself a moment. It can be doing 5 minutes of deep breathing or taking a lunch hour out at work.

Practice mindfulness.

Stay in the present and observe it without judgment. If you find your mind wandering to the past or the future, bring your focus back to what’s happening right in front of you. Observe it, and don’t judge it. If you have thoughts about the past or the future, simply bring your focus back to the here and now.

Distract yourself.
Sometimes a little distraction is what’s needed. Have a chat with a good friend, give yourself time to read a book, or watch an entertaining YouTube video. It can be helpful to shake things up with a different activity.

Nourish your senses.
Have a snack, listen to some music, or light a scented candle. One of these simple steps may give you a slight adjustment that changes the course of your day.

Remember, this feeling won’t last forever
One of the difficult parts of being in a bad mood is the feeling that it is never going to end. The day drags on and you may fear that this feeling will continue endlessly. Instead, imagine your mood as a wave. It builds to a peak but ultimately it will come back down. Your mood will also pass.

Bad moods are a part of life, and take practice to manage effectively. But remember, you also don’t always have to do it alone. Working with a therapist can help you to build skills to manage bad moods. A therapist can support with all of the strategies above such as helping you to identify when you are in a bad mood, supporting you in developing strategies for coping with factors that contribute to bad moods, and practicing skills such as mindfulness and acceptance.

Anxiety and the Fear of Uncertainty

What is Anxiety?

A central feature of anxiety, especially in Generalized Anxiety Disorder, is an intolerance of uncertainty. We would venture to say that most people don’t particularly enjoy uncertainty—job interviews, upcoming tests, moving—they are all stressful in their very nature because of the uncertainty involved. The difference between a person with an anxiety disorder and one without is that the person who has anxiety is likely to spend a lot more time worrying, trying to control the outcome, seeking reassurance from others, or avoiding the task altogether, than a person who has a greater ability to tolerate uncertainty.

Rationalizing Anxiety

We work with a lot of perfectionists who use worry as their primary coping tool for anxiety and uncertainty. By the time they come to therapy, the worry is usually unpleasant at best, or debilitating at worst, impacting normal levels of functioning and mood. The worry can feel paralyzing and uncontrollable, though underneath these negative aspects of worry, there are usually beliefs that somehow worry will protect them. For example: “If I think about the worst case scenario, then I’m better prepared to handle it.” In order for treatment to be successful, these beliefs must be scrutinized and challenged. I often use a cost-benefit analysis, to help the client tap into their intrinsic motivation to decrease worrying and increase their tolerance for uncertainty.

Another hallmark of an anxiety disorder is focusing on threats rather than safety signals or internal resources to cope. When this happens, the result is a feeling of helplessness, vulnerability, and increased anxiety. When clients feel anxious, they engage in “safety behaviors” in an attempt to take the anxiety away or reduce its intensity, such as drinking before an event or rereading an email five times before sending it.

Psychotherapy for Anxiety

In therapy, an important step in treating anxiety is to identify which maladaptive safety behaviors the client uses to cope and to then reduce them in order to actually address the anxiety. To make it more concrete, take an example of how a socially anxious client uses avoidance to cope with his fear of uncertainty. The client feels anxious about an upcoming first date and fears that he won’t have anything to talk about (uncertainty) and that his date will think he’s boring (threat), and in order to cope, he worries (safety behavior 1) all day at work, barely able to focus on his tasks, and eventually avoids the date by canceling (safety behavior 2). Unfortunately, these behaviors reinforce that he can’t tolerate uncertainty and strengthens his beliefs about dating as threatening. In therapy, we might use behavioral interventions to help him reduce his avoidance, while also teaching him cognitive skills to cope with and shift his anxious thoughts.

Conclusions

At its core, uncertainty is a central part of our reality, no matter how much we delude ourselves into believing we can control everything. In order to reduce anxiety, worry, and avoidance, a therapist can help clients learn the necessary skills to manage anxiety and ultimately accept uncertainty as a natural part of a life worth living.

Call today for a confidential consultation at one of our 4 convenient NYC area locations: 

COBB PSYCHOTHERAPY LCSW
718-260-6462

For more information, visit our website at: https://www.cobbpsychotherapy.com/

Psychotherapy for a Healthy Work/Life Balance

best-ny-psychotherapist-for-healthy-work-life-balance-01Navigating a healthy work-life balance is one of many reasons individuals seek out therapy. We live in a busy world, filled with high (and often unrealistic) expectations of our work lives. There is intense pressure to be busy, productive, successful, etc. With this kind of pressure, it’s no wonder that personal lives are often sacrificed. This means we have less time and energy to invest in relationships with friends and family and have less time for hobbies and leisure activities. Unfortunately, this is rarely sustainable, so we become overwhelmed, burned out, and often experience symptoms of anxiety and depression.

It’s normal to find that we are spending more time in one area of our life — we’re human! But when we find we that we are off balance, what can we do to find our center?

Set Boundaries

ny-therapist-for-work-stress-02Work to identify specifics of what a healthy work schedule would look like for you. Does it mean leaving by a certain time each day? Or not checking your email after you leave the office?  Once you’ve decided, make a commitment to honor your own boundaries.

Additionally, practice communication skills like assertiveness and saying “no.” This, of course, is easier said than done. Many of us struggle with asserting ourselves and setting boundaries because we fear letting others down or being perceived as lazy, a failure, etc. A therapist can help you in practicing these skills and challenging the obstacles to asserting your needs.

Make Time for Who and What is Important

Make an effort to identify activities that you enjoy and then make room for them in your schedule. Do you enjoy yoga?  Then sign up for two classes during the week. Does getting outside help you to relax? Make sure you take a walk each day, even if its only for 5 minutes.  Love reading? Set aside fifteen minutes before bed to read a book you find interesting.

In addition to the activities you enjoy, make sure to prioritize the people that are important to you. In a relationship? Schedule a date night every week. Want to see more of your friends? Work to find a time and place you can all get together and put it in your calendar.

Communicate and Ask for Help

psychotherapy-for-high-stress-workplace-new-york-brooklyn-03Remember, you don’t have to do this alone. You can hold yourself accountable for the changes you are trying to make by communicating with the people in your life. Go beyond simply planning a date night with your partner, and have a conversation and explain the efforts you are making.  If you find it’s hard to get yourself to do activities outside of work (like yoga or other hobbies) alone, invite someone along.

In addition to supportive people in your life, therapy can help you to cultivate a healthy work-life balance. A therapist can work with you to identify obstacles to finding balance and create a realistic plan for making changes.

Finally, the most important takeaway is that by prioritizing your wellness, you aren’t being selfish! Not only will you feel better, but you will be a better employee, colleague, boss, partner, family member, and friend.

Cobb Psychotherapy LCSW
718-260-6462

Therapy To Make Life Changes

therapist-best-nyc-brooklyn-for-planning-life-improvement-01There’s no doubt about it—change is difficult. Therapy is a great place to find support and success in making changes and achieving your goals. So why is therapy so helpful?

Collaboration and Support

Therapy is collaborative. You and your therapist work as a team to clarify and define your goals, come up with a plan of action, and identify both supports and obstacles to attaining your goals. Throughout the process, your therapist will be there to hold you accountable and to support you in problem-solving and learning from setbacks as they occur.

Effective Goal-Setting

psychotherapist-counseler-for-goal-setting-planning-new-york-02In addition to your therapist providing support and accountability, they can also help you to set goals in an effective way.  In order to make successful changes, we have to make sure that we are setting goals that are realistic. One strategy for coming up with goals is to use the SMART acronym. Below outlines the process of creating a SMART goal using the goal of increasing meditation as an example.

Specific:
Avoiding setting a goal that is too general. We are less likely to feel successful if our goal is too broad and the specifics of  who, what, where, and when aren’t answered.  For example, “My goal is to meditate more” is too broad and is setting us up for failure for a number of reasons.  So it’s important to answer some clarifying questions to help put us on the path for success:

  • Who is involved with this goal? I am involved and responsible for making time for meditation.
  • What exactly do I want to accomplish? I want to meditate three times a week.
  • Where can I accomplish my goal? I am most likely to meditate at home on my couch.
  • When can I accomplish my goal? I am usually exhausted after work, so I will meditate in the morning.

Measurable:
Set parameters so you are able to track progress and identify when you’ve achieved your goal. In addition to setting parameters, determine how you can track your progress.  Will you use an app on your phone? Your calendar?

Example: My goal is to meditate three times a week and I will mark the days in my planner. 

Attainable
While goals always include an element of challenge, we also want to make sure that it’s realistic. We don’t want to set a goal that is setting ourselves up for failure. Be realistic.

Example: Instead of “I am going to meditate every day for 30 minutes,” adjust it to something more realistic such as, “I am going to meditate three times a week for ten minutes.”  

Relevant
Make sure that your goal is consistent with more long term goals and values. This will impact your motivation and your ability to be successful.

Example: Setting a goal related to meditation supports my longer-term goals of practicing regular self-care and stress management techniques. 

Time-bound:
Set a time-frame with your goal. If we don’t have any urgency it’s hard to build up the motivation. It also gives the opportunity to evaluate. Set a time limit and then you can spend the time to reflect on the obstacles that got in your way and the supports that helped you to be successful.

Example: “I am going to meditate three times a week for one month.”

top-new-york-therapists-goal-setting-life-planning-03So, if we think about all of the above criteria, an effective SMART goal maybe: “My goal is to meditate three times a week (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays) in the morning after breakfast for one month. I will keep track of my progress by making a check mark on my calendar.”

Creating SMART goals is one of many techniques that you can learn and practice with a therapist. While the decision to start therapy can be intimidating, it can support you on the path to make meaningful change. Call us today and start creating meaningful positive change in your life.

4 convenient locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Call today:

(718) 260-6462

Overcoming Obstacles to Reaching Your Goals

psychotherapist-for-motivation-nyc-brooklyn-01Have you ever considered psychotherapy for motivation? Attaining the goals that we set for ourselves is no easy feat. Whether it is to create a regular fitness routine, learn a new skill, or set aside time for self-care, it takes hard work to stay motivated and consistent with our plans. However, there are easy fixes you can make to build your motivation, overcome resistance, and stick with your goals. These can be done on your own or with the support of a therapist.

Remove Practical Barriers

Many clients don’t achieve their goals because of practical barriers. For example, take the goal of playing tennis once per week. Failure to achieve this may not be because you don’t want to play tennis, but because of logistical issues like finding a court. When you find yourself not achieving a goal, try to get a better sense of what’s getting in your way. Is there anything you could be doing differently to make it easier to accomplish this goal? These types of questions can be part of the therapeutic process, and a therapist can work with you to problem solve the practical obstacles and identify solutions to achieve your goals.

Make Your Goals Non-negotiable

When we don’t put something down in writing (in pen), we are more likely to blow it off—especially when it’s something that doesn’t come with more tangible consequences (deadlines for work, due dates for school assignments, etc). Let’s take the goal of spending one hour a week doing a self-care activity like journaling or reading for leisure. For many of us, our needs and wants tend to have the lowest priority, and so when schedules get busy, our self-care is the first to be sacrificed. Try putting specific times in your schedule for activities related to your goals and make them non-negotiable. You can also find ways to remind yourself with phone alerts or post-it notes in strategic places.

Use Coping Statements

coping-statements-motivational-therapy-therapists-new-york-02

Many people suggest reading motivational statements such as “just do it!” and “no pain no gain!” to encourage us to follow through on our goals. Often, these platitudes seem empty and uninspiring (like those cheesy posters we used to have in elementary school). Instead, try coming up with your own personalized coping statements.

So what are coping statements? They are different from overly positive “just do it” messages because they incorporate and acknowledge what makes a task difficult. If we skip acknowledging why something is hard, the statement won’t ring true. The most important thing about a good coping statement is that you actually believe it!

Let’s practice!

Take the goal of learning a new language with the help of an app like Duolingo. Some examples of effective coping statements may be:

• “I’m already exhausted from work, but I know I’ll feel proud of myself when I finish one lesson and I’m closer to reaching my goal of learning to speak Spanish.”

• “Learning a new language is hard and it seems like I’m never going to get better at it. But every day I practice I will be getting better.”

Now What?

reach-goals-help-therapist-psychotherapy-brooklyn-ny-03So what do you actually do with these brilliant coping statements? You find some way to internalize these statements so you can draw upon them when you’re wavering over whether or not to take action towards your goals. How you do this is entirely up to you. Some clients write their coping statements on a notecard and review them several times per day, some have them in their phones and set reminders to read them, and others like to record their statements and listen to them when they feel like giving up.

Reach Your Goals

So what are some of your goals and what’s standing in the way? With the support of a therapist, you can work to overcome the obstacles that stand in the way of you reaching your full potential.

If you are considering psychotherapy for motivation, speak with one of our experts today:

(718) 260-6462

Do You Need a Psychotherapist for Trauma?

psychotherapist-for-trauma-nyc-brooklyn-01Do you need a psychotherapist for trauma? When you think of the word “trauma,” what automatically comes to mind? Maybe it’s a veteran who just returned from war, a survivor of domestic violence, or an abused child. Most people associate the word “trauma” with life-threatening events like war or a natural disaster, but what if that definition of trauma is too narrow? Today the definition of trauma is expanding and becoming more individualized. What may be traumatic for one person may not be traumatic for another person. This is influenced by family of origin, life experiences, and beliefs. Everyone’s definition of trauma is valid and every trauma is important and worthy of healing.

What is Trauma?

Often trauma is invisible so it’s hard for others to understand, and even for individuals to admit the trauma to themselves. For example, maybe you don’t have physical bruises, but systematic invalidation from a partner has left you emotionally wounded. Working on this interpersonal trauma is just as important as healing from a more “traditional” trauma.

Based on our environment growing up and beliefs we’ve learned, we may be left with a negative view of ourselves, relationships, and the world. On the outside, everything might seem fine, but inwardly these beliefs can have a negative impact on our relationships, confidence, professional success, and overall happiness.

Symptoms

trauma-symptoms-do-need-nyc-therapist--specialists-02So how do you know if you’re dealing with trauma to begin with? There is a spectrum of responses to trauma ranging from an acute stress reaction to full on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Responses to trauma can be brief, time-limited, or chronic. Everyone is different. However, some of the common signs include experiencing at least one of the following intrusive symptoms associated with a traumatic event:

  • Involuntarily reliving the traumatic experience which can include having nightmares or flashbacks.
  • Avoiding certain situations that remind you of the trauma.
  • Changes in beliefs and feelings about yourself and others.
  • Hyper-vigilance – always feeling on guard and like something terrible will happen even when you’re not in danger.
  • Somatic symptoms like insomnia, loss of appetite, panic attacks, heart palpitations, etc.
  • Difficulties with emotional regulation. PTSD is often misdiagnosed as a mood disorder like depression or anxiety.
  • Negative self-image and thoughts about themselves. Those who have experienced trauma often blame themselves. Themes of guilt, shame, and responsibility can be prevalent.

Therapeutic Approaches

emdr-for-trauma-psychotherapists-nyc-brooklrn-03The journey to healing trauma can be a long and difficult one. But with courage, resilience, and the support of a psychotherapist for trauma, it is possible. There are many therapeutic approaches and techniques that are used to recover from trauma. Some of them include:

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) EMDR works to support clients in reprocessing distress, reintegrating information, and making more adaptive connections.

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT): TF-CBT is a short-term, structured treatment approach that works to help individuals recover from trauma.

Attachment Theory: This includes working to explore and understand interpersonal and relational traumas.

We Can Help

At Cobb Psychotherapy we don’t have a one-size-fits-all definition of trauma. We have therapists who specialize in trauma and are trained in EMDR, Trauma-focused CT, and Attachment Theory.

Contact us to learn more or to schedule a free fifteen-minute phone consult:

(718) 260-6462

Utilizing CBT Therapy for Panic Attacks

cbt-therapist-for-panic-attackes-new-york-nyc-brooklyn-best-01Could you benefit from CBT therapy for panic attacks? Anxiety is an emotion that we all need as human beings. A healthy amount of anxiety is necessary in order to motivate and protect ourselves. However, sometimes our anxiety passes a point where it is no longer helpful. For example, it may become excessive worry, make us freeze up in social situations, lead us to engage in compulsive behavior, obsess over fears, or become panic attacks.

What are Panic Attacks

Panic attacks are sudden episodes of intense fear that include, but are not limited to physical symptoms such as a racing heartbeat, sweating, shaking, feelings of breathlessness, nausea, stomach upset, crying, and dissociating from one’s body. So what causes them? One major cause of panic is a buildup of emotion. When someone’s main coping mechanism is to avoid feelings, it can often lead to panic attacks.

Try to think about it with this analogy. Imagine filling up a mug with delicious hot coffee. The coffee is hot, so you wait for it to cool down. Then you take small sips and savor each one. When you’ve finished, you take the cup to the sink, wash it, dry it, and place it in the cabinet until tomorrow. Sounds pretty standard, right? Now imagine you were the coffee cup. The hot coffee is the intense emotion, waiting for it to cool and drinking the coffee slowly is the process of emotional regulation, washing the mug is an act of self-care, and having it in the cabinet is rest.

Anxiety

anxiety-panic-attack-info-top-nyc-brooklyn-psychotherapists-02In order to manage anxiety we have to regulate emotions on a daily basis in a healthy way, just like the coffee routine described above. Otherwise, we will become overloaded and possibly panic — just like if you kept pouring hot coffee in the mug and let it overflow everywhere. We must learn tools to slow down our thinking, get in tune with our emotions, and take care of ourselves effectively. Remember, a cup can only hold so much.

Anyone can have a panic attack at any point in their life. They’re quite common and can feel scary, especially if you’ve never had one before. So what do you do if you have a panic attack or experience chronic panic? We’re big supporters of utilizing all inclusive supports. Educate yourself on panic, get a physical exam to rule out health concerns, meet with a psychiatrist to assess for any medication needs, enlist the support of love ones, and meet with a CBT for panic attacks Therapist.

So what is a CBT therapist?

CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of therapy that is effective in treating panic attacks. CBT teaches clients how to build self-awareness and insight into their thought patterns and reframe thoughts and beliefs that interfere with healthy emotional regulation and relationships. Insight is power, and changing your self talk will be your best tool for managing anxiety. After all, panic attacks are accompanied by negative automatic thoughts. Therefore, learning to effectively use different thoughts is a great strategy to be able to de-escalate symptoms.

Learn CBT Skills

cognitive-behavioral-therapy-panic-attacks-specialists-03One example of a CBT skill is using a thought record. Your therapist can help you identify your triggers for panic, the emotions that arise during panic, negative automatic thought patterns, ways to categorize these patterns, evidence for the thoughts being both true and untrue, and alternative thoughts to practice soothing the anxiety. A thought record is just one example of an exercise you can do with a CBT therapist in order to learn concrete strategies to manage anxiety and panic.

Chances are that if you are open willing to learn new coping skills, you can minimize your panic and anxiety symptoms and start to feel more confident in your ability to manage emotions.

For more information about the psychotherapy modalities we use visit our main website: www.CobbPsychotherapy.com/approaches

To schedule an appointment:

Call: (718) 260-6462

Contact Page: www.CobbPsychotherapy.com/contact