Should you work with a psychiatrist, therapist, psychologist or coach? What is the difference? In order to help you identify the best provider for your specific needs, below we have outlined some of the key differences between a psychiatrist and therapist.
Should you start therapy or work with a life coach? In New York City, the options for mental health care seem endless, and it can be challenging to know which kind of practitioner you need at this stage of your life journey.
If you’re uncertain of whether to begin therapy or explore meeting with a life coach, we’re here to help you understand the major differences in these services. If you need more personalized help deciding, be sure to schedule a free consultation with our staff care coordinator. Healthy Minds NYC offers both therapy and life coaching options so whichever method of care you choose, we’re ready to work with you.
In order to help you get decide the best option for your situation, below we’ve identified the main differences between therapy and life coaching.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THERAPY AND LIFE COACHING IN NEW YORK CITY
1. Dysfunction versus desire. Therapy focuses on reducing negative symptoms or stressors that interfere with one’s ability to live a healthy lifestyle. This process is perfect for anyone feeling burdened by pain from their past or dysfunctional patterns or behaviors in the present they feel unable to conquer. Life coaching is goal-focused and sessions are centered on helping clients reach specific objectives or desires.
2. Emphasis on the past versus focus on the future. The degree to which one’s past is explored in therapy depends on the concerns of the client and treatment methods of the therapist. However, therapy always requires a history of the presenting issue. Life coaching is focused on the present experience of the client and future goals. Therefore, a clinical diagnosis and history of the situation are not always needed. Our staff life coach is also trained as a therapist and if she determines more therapeutic help is required, she can refer you to another mental health professional to provide the appropriate level of care.
3. Regular weekly sessions versus open-ended sessions. Therapy is best provided through routine weekly sessions during which clients can find stability and build on the insights they are gaining from week to week. The length of treatment varies for every client, however, it’s not unusual for people to spend months or even years meeting with their therapist. In life coaching, sessions can occur more sporadically, and the frequency or length of treatment can vary greatly depending on the goals of the individual client. In our practice, we allow clients to book individual coaching sessions or choose bundled packages that may be more cost effective.
4. Insurance coverage versus self-pay fee structure. Providing therapy requires a license from the state of New York and the cost of therapeutic services may be offset by an insurance carrier. Be sure to visit our Insurance page to learn how we work with insurance benefits for therapy. Life coaching is an unlicensed field, though our life coach does hold a credential with the Paterson Center and a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Life coaching services are not covered by insurance.
5. In Person versus virtual sessions. Therapy sessions typically take place in person due to the sensitive nature of the therapeutic process. Despite the popularity of tele-therapy, nothing quite replaces the value of what happens when a therapist and client are physically in the room together. At Healthy Minds NYC, we do offer our clients the option for virtual therapy or medication management sessions at the discretion of the therapist based on the health of the client and current treatment goals. However, the preference is always to provide care in person. Life coaching sessions can occur virtually by video or phone, allowing clients to more easily integrate their coaching sessions into their work day or regular life rhythm.
HOW DO I GET STARTED WITH THERAPY OR COACHING?
If you’re looking to begin any services with Healthy Minds NYC, the easiest way to start is by scheduling a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation with our care coordinator. During this call we’ll help determine the best course of care with you, explore your payment options and schedule your first appointment. Our goal is to speed you along your journey toward health with the best process that meets your unique needs.
What if you could go back in time and change how you experienced trauma in the past? A modern form of psychotherapy called EMDR is doing just that and clients are finding the results to be incredible. At Healthy Minds NYC, we have therapists trained specifically in this method and below you’ll find a brief primer on the basics of EMDR treatment.
WHAT IS EMDR AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a type of psychotherapy proven to be effective in relieving the emotional distress associated with many psychological disorders.
EMDR was originally designed in 1987 to treat individuals suffering from PTSD as traumatic memories from the past caused disturbing emotional responses in the present. In recent years, EMDR’s use has expanded to treat a variety of disorders beyond PTSD, such as chronic anxiety, depression and acute trauma.
While many forms of therapy, such as CBT for example, focus on resolving a client’s distress by directly accessing and reformulating the thoughts, actions and emotions that resulted from a traumatic experience, EMDR takes a different approach. In EMDR, we focus directly on the traumatic memory and re-process the experience to store the memory in the brain in a way that reduces the symptoms the client is facing.
AN OVERVIEW OF EMDR SESSIONS
EMDR follows a specific sequence of treatment through eight phases.
Phase 1: History. First, the therapist and client work together to get a full history for the client and identify a particular memory to target.
Phase 2: Preparation. Next the therapist helps prepare the client for treatment by explaining what to expect, how the treatment will progress and supportive methods to help the client remain emotionally and physically safe and calm throughout the process.
Phase 3-6: Processing. Then the client is asked to access the chosen memory on a cognitive, affective, behavioral and physiological level. The client is prompted to think about that memory and hold it in mind while using their eyes to track the therapist’s hands as they are moved back and forth across the client’s field of vision. Alternatively, the therapist may use a small machine to simulate the back and forth movement instead of the hands. As the client experiences this Rapid Eye Movement or REM action, the traumatic memories are re-processed with new positive significance. As this new interpretation is strengthened for the client, the therapist encourages the client to scan their body for any residual physiological distress.
Phase 7: Closure. During the closure phase of treatment, the client may be asked to keep a log throughout the week to monitor their experience. They will also be directed to utilize the new self-calming activities identified earlier in treatment whenever they are triggered.
Phase 8: Evaluation. At the end of the process, the client and therapist evaluate how the client now feels and what effect the treatment has had. It may be determined that additional memories can now be targeted or continued focus on the previous memory may be necessary.
HOW LONG DOES EMDR LAST?
While a typical EMDR session may last anywhere from 60-90 minutes, the length of treatment varies in relation to the amount of trauma the client has experienced.
LEARN MORE ABOUT EMDR
Do you think EMDR could be helpful for your mental health? Consider booking an introductory session with our team of trained therapists. Schedule a free consultation with us today to learn more about how this treatment or others could be helpful for you on your journey toward health.
Congratulations on your engagement!
Before you tie the knot, be sure to carve out time to prepare for marriage through premarital counseling. While wedding plans can occupy a lot of a recently engaged couple’s time, energy and finances, premarital counseling is undoubtedly one of the best areas to focus. You’re getting married after all, not becoming professional event planners.
WHAT IS PREMARITAL COUNSELING?
Premarital counseling is a special form of couples therapy that helps you strengthen your relationship and identify any blind spots prior to getting married. Think of it as preventative care for your future wedded bliss, allowing you to avoid major conflict in the future or learn how to navigate simple challenges that could escalate to massive issues down the line.
Research shows that couples who complete premarital counseling are 30% less likely to divorce or separate than couples who have not spent time preparing for marriage. With the average form of premarital counseling lasting about 8 hours, that’s less than a day of effort that help lead to a lifetime of a rich and satisfying relationship.
HOW IS PREMARITAL COUNSELING DIFFERENT THAN COUPLES THERAPY?
Couples therapy is typically centered on addressing an area of disconnect or stress within a particular relationship. While premarital counseling may help you discuss conflict or difficulties as a couple, it’s much more proactive and focused on equipping you with the tools you need to become a “master of marriage” as the Gottmans often refer to happily married couples. Note that the Gottmans are therapists who have been able to predict with 93% accuracy whether or not a couple will divorce simply by watching their interaction. (At Healthy Minds NYC, our relationship expert who offers premarital counseling is certified by the Gottman Institute).
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF PREMARITAL COUNSELING?
Styles of premarital counseling vary just as much as therapists do. However, you’ll typically find that they fall into one of the following categories: independent study, private counseling, group workshops and online assessments. At Healthy Minds NYC, we offer a variety of premarital counseling options such as the following:
Private Premarital Counseling. Our practice offers a marriage prep program that includes an online assessment from Prepare Enrich. After taking the assessment, you and your partner meet either in-person or virtually with our certified relationship expert to explore the results and discuss the areas of strength and growth in your relationship. We integrate exercises from Prepare, our marriage and family therapy training, and our experience counseling hundreds of New York City couples to help you enter marriage with confidence. We even provide a certificate of completion!
Premarital Counseling Group Workshop. If you’re interested in a condensed program that covers all that major topics most couples face in marriage, we offer the Healthy Minds NYC Premarital Counseling Workshop throughout the year. Visit http://healthyminds.nyc/premarital-workshop to find out our next date. In this workshop, we integrate the Prepare online assessment so you receive personalized information about your unique relationship. Then you gather with other couples for exercises, lecture, and private couple discussion. It’s a fun and enriching day to focus on the loving relationship you’re building together.
Prepare Enrich Online Assessment or SYMBIS Assessment. If you prefer to work independently and just want a research-based therapeutic assessment of your relationship, our practice provides access to the Prepare Enrich assessment or the SYMBIS (Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts Assessment). This option is perfect if you want an overview of how your relationship is doing so you know where to focus your energy as you move toward your wedding day.
WHAT TOPICS ARE COVERED IN PREMARITAL COUNSELING?
In premarital counseling, you always have the option to focus on the topics that matter most to you. However, we find that it’s critical for couples to discuss the following topics:
Communication - Assertiveness and Active Listening
Children & Parenting
Extended Family Relationships
WHEN SHOULD YOU START PREMARITAL COUNSELING?
One of the biggest mistakes we see couples make when considering premarital counseling is waiting too long to begin. Don’t put off premarital counseling until weeks before the wedding or after you’ve made significant investments in the wedding process. As soon as you’re engaged, seek out what type of premarital counseling you’d like to do and allow more than enough time to complete the process. Generally, 6 months before the wedding date as a minimum is ideal. You’ll want to allow enough time to have important discussions about your relationship and the life you’re building together without any pressure from your social circle, financial investments or busy schedule. It’s not uncommon for long ignored issues in your relationship or individual pasts to get triggered as you discuss your future. Give yourself time to fully process whatever may arise.
Despite how weighty premarital counseling can sound or feel, it’s often one of the most joyful experiences a couple can have together on the road to marriage. By exploring individual and shared desires for the future couples usually see their intimacy grow as well as their confidence and excitement about the mate they have chosen.
If you want to learn more about premarital counseling options here at Healthy Minds NYC, visit our Premarital Counseling page to choose which option is best for you. As always with our practice, you can schedule a free consultation with our care coordinator who is happy to help you identify the best path for your unique circumstances. Schedule a free consultation with us today!
Finding the best psychiatrist to help manage your medications in New York can be challenging. Your insurance company may offer a long list of potential providers, but how do you know if they are any good? Location and availability aren’t always the best determining factors for who will be the best doctor for you.
In an effort to cut down the time you spend on your search for a psychiatrist, we’re here to help. Below we’ve outlined some of the reasons it’s hard to find a good psychiatrist in NYC and we’ve provided a few unexpected considerations to help guide your search for the best New York City psychiatrist.
WHY FINDING A GOOD NEW YORK CITY PSYCHIATRIST IS SO DIFFICULT
1. There are a lot of mental health care providers in the city. The city is saturated with mental health care providers with all types of degrees. After all, psychology has a rich history in New York, particularly in the area of psychoanalysis. While this is a major benefit to living in New York, it can also make the search exhausting.
2. Many prominent psychiatrists use outdated methods and lack diversity of clients and approach. One of the reasons our director started Healthy Minds NYC was out of a passion to provide contemporary psychiatric care to a diverse group of New York professionals. In his training here in the city, he found that some psychiatrists can be very rigid in their treatment, leaving clients feeling unknown, unsupported, and funneled through a process. It is important to our practice to take a modernized and tailored approach that honors the individual clients best.
3. Psychiatrists in Manhattan who don’t take insurance can be expensive. The cost of care can be one the most difficult challenges of finding a good psychiatrist in the city. Psychiatrists in-network on insurance panels are often full or have poor availability. Those who do not work with insurance often charge very high rates. One pro tip is to find a psychiatric practice that is out of network yet still works with your insurance benefits. For example, at Healthy Minds NYC we are not in-network with any insurance panels. However, we regularly work with our client’s out of network insurance benefits and functionally operate much like your in-network provider. We file all of the reimbursement claims and only charge you a reduced co-insurance rate that takes into account what your insurance company will pay for your care. Learn more about our insurance policies here online or contact our care coordinator to find out what your specific care rate would be.
4. Psychiatrists in private practice can be hard to reach. Unlike a primary care physician who has more frequent breaks between patient interactions while nurse practitioners or physicians’ assistants handle some of the preliminary assessment work for you, your psychiatrist is a one-stop shop. Your doctor does all of the work directly meaning he or she has little time to handle some of the administrative tasks that come along with caring for patients. (Note: this is also why the per-hour cost of seeing a psychiatrist may be more than you’re used to paying other physicians out of pocket.) While they can be hard to find, there are some group practices like Healthy Minds NYC and other larger counseling centers who have dedicated administrative staff to field your calls and inquiries while your doctor is in-session.
So, given the constraints outlined above, how can you find a reputable psychiatrist who is a good fit for your particular needs? We have found that you can best navigate finding a psychiatrist in New York by trying some of the following methods.
HOW TO FIND THE BEST PSYCHIATRIST IN NEW YORK CITY FOR YOU
1. Choose an office where it is easy to contact the doctor. Medication management frequently takes the form of monthly visits to your psychiatrist. Be sure you are able to easily communicate with your doctor outside of session if you need a change to or refill of your prescriptions. For example, Healthy Minds NYC offers texting with your provider as well as a responsive care coordinator who can respond to messages when your doctor is in session with another patient.
2. Select a psychiatrist who provides medication management and psychotherapy. Even if you’re only seeking medication management at this time, find a psychiatrist who is willing and able to provide psychotherapy. Research shows the best treatment for most disorders is a combination of addressing the biological components of your condition as well as addressing the psychosocial factors that influence your health. You need a psychiatrist who is comfortable hearing not only how your prescription regimen is impacting your body but also how the other aspects of your life may be impacting your condition.
3. Choose a doctor with a connection to a teaching hospital. Prescription drug coverage and options change every day. It’s important that the doctor caring for you knows the latest drugs available for you on the market as well as the latest research on how these drugs may impact you. Physicians in private practice who also stay connected to teaching hospitals are more likely to be up to date on the latest treatment techniques and medications. For example, here at Healthy Minds NYC, our director, Dr. Lanre Dokun, is also a Faculty Advisor for Mount Sinai Hospital helping guide the training for younger doctors. This connection helps our practice stay in the know on many of the offerings of a top hospital like Mount Sinai.
4. Find out if video sessions are available. Your schedule is likely quite busy if you’re a professional in New York City. Having the flexibility of fitting in short medication management sessions around other critical meetings and appointments is important. Make sure you’re working with a psychiatrist who is able to leverage modern technology by offering remote video sessions you can take from the comfort of your home or office. Just make sure the technology they are using is HIPAA compliant to protect your privacy. At Healthy Minds NYC we use the VSee app for our video conferencing that meets the latest standards in patient confidentiality.
We would love to help connect you to a great psychiatrist here in the city. Contact our office today or book a free consultation to see how our care coordinator can help you find a trustworthy doctor that meets your needs.
Recently, Healthy Minds Director Dr. Lanre Dokun was interviewed by Fatherly.com about the difficulty of managing anxiety on Sunday evenings as we prepare to head back into the work week. Read below for reasons the close of your weekend might cause a shift in your mood.
"Mondays are the worst — which explains why you’re a messy knot of anxiety every Sunday night. But just because feeling crappy is common doesn’t mean it’s not concerning. Sunday night anxiety can easily spiral into regular, debilitating anxiety throughout the week, experts warn. And pressures put on new dads to get back to work while still bonding with their new babies makes them especially vulnerable."
Another nor'easter is headed toward New York City. With 4 to 8 inches of snow looming on the first day of spring, you might feel like you're slipping into the winter blues. You're not alone. After months of cold and gray weather, it's common for New Yorkers to experience symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is a form of depression that occurs specifically during certain seasons of the year. The change in daylight hours can spark hormonal changes and throw off your circadian rhythm. If you're experiencing any of the following symptoms, it's time to prioritize your mental health.
Common Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
- depressed mood or irritability
- fatigue or loss of energy
- change in appetite
- weight loss or gain
- change in sleep
- feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- marked loss of interest or pleasure in activities you once enjoyed
- difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- thoughts of death or suicide
While Seasonal Affective Disorder can improve in time as the weather shifts and days length with the arrival of spring, you can take steps now to kickstart your health. If you're stuck in a pattern of feeling down here are a few ways to help you manage your emotions this week:
1. Get moving
With the winter cold, exercise routines can easily fall by the wayside. It's difficult to get to the gym through inches of snow and hard to be active outside when the temperature drops. But remember that exercise is critical to your mental health in addition to all of its benefits for you physically. If you can't make it to your favorite local gym, pick up an exercise routine at home. Try a meditative exercise like yoga (try Yogaglo online) if you lack space or download an app to guide you through a quick high intensity workout you can do from your living room. In just 30 minutes you can make a radical difference in your affect.
2. Let in some light
Natural light is hard to come by in the concrete jungle of New York. However, sunlight is an important ingredient to help beat the winter blues. Maximize what access to natural light you do have. Open your curtains or blinds to let in as much sunshine as you can. Then turn on lamps around your home and office to to help improve your mood. If you want to go the extra mile, purchase a simple sun lamp to improve your mood and reset your circadian rhythm.
3. Connect with loved ones
While a night out on the town might be harder to arrange, get creative about investing in quality time with close friends or family members. Invite friends over for a warm potluck meal. Or bake some cookies and drop them off to a neighbor next door in your apartment as an excuse to say hello. Small moments of connection can work wonders at changing your mood. If the elements outside make travel dangerous and prohibitive, schedule a Skype or phone date with a friend.
4. Reach out for help
If you suspect that your sadness is more than seasonal or your symptoms of depression are beginning to worsen, speak to a doctor or mental health professional as soon as possible. Connecting with a trained professional can help you move toward health today and gain tools needed to manage future seasonal dips.
For a free consultation with a Healthy Minds NYC care coordinator, call (929) 399-7120 or contact us today. We're here to help!
Taking control of your mental health by reaching out for help is a courageous step. However, knowing where to find a quality therapist in New York City can be a stressful endeavor. How do you know what type of therapist to choose? Is it possible to gauge how warm, competent and experienced the therapist will be? And most importantly, how can you ensure that your care is affordable?
The city offers an abundance of mental health care providers, but choosing the right therapist can be a difficult decision for anyone to make. In order to aid your search, below we have outlined our best tips for finding quality mental health care in New York City.
Where to Start Looking
Getting referrals from close friends and family members can be a great place to start your search for a therapist. You might find they have worked with a provider in the past who would be a good fit for your particular challenge. However, keep in mind that every person is unique and what worked for one person’s needs may not be the exact kind of care you’re looking for at this time.
Search online at Psychology Today. This helpful directory allows you to search for credentialed professionals by zip code. You can even further refine your search by important details like insurance carrier, gender, issue or even treatment style. Each listing provides a short description of the therapist’s background, issues they treat and quick contact information.
Choose a group practice. While therapists working in private practices are often fantastic, working with a group practice can provide an extra level of insurance for your care. You’ll have confidence that your therapist has been vetted and verified by their peers. Plus, therapists working as a team often collaborate on cases, ensuring the best treatment plan is developed utilizing their collective skill sets.
Connect with non-profit organizations like schools or faith communities that may have referral lists. Many therapists provide regular support for local groups who can speak to their expertise. Healthy Minds NYC, for example, is a recommended psychotherapy practice for many organizations, such as the School of Visual Arts and Redeemer Presbyterian Church here in the city.
Ask your other medical providers. Your primary care provider or other physicians may have great recommendations for trusted therapists. If you’re happy with the care you’re receiving from your PCP, see if they collaborate with or have previously worked alongside any mental healthcare providers. For example, our psychiatrists were trained at the reputable Mount Sinai Hospital here in New York City. As a result, they have worked side by side with many local medical professionals who have firsthand experience with our team and can verify their competence.
The Different Kinds of Therapists
In your search for a therapist, you’ll quickly see that providers have a wide range of backgrounds and training. Here is a quick overview of the most common types of care providers in New York City:
Psychiatrist (MD) - A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in mental health care. These physicians can provide both psychotherapy and medication management to address both the psychological needs you have as well as the biochemical aspects of mental illness.
Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) - A marriage and family therapist is equipped to provide care for individuals, however has special training to focus on relationship dynamics both within couples and families. Marriage and family therapists are excellent resources for conflict in relationship, marital therapy or working through issues such as codependency, boundaries, anxiety and relational stress.
Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) - A clinical social worker is similar to a marriage and family therapist in that they both work with individuals, couples and families, however they often are comfortable addressing larger systemic issues you may face such as difficult work environments, managing long-term relationship problems or a history of addiction.
Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) - A mental health counselor can support you through most common mental health problems such as care for mood disorders like anxiety or depression, addiction, substance abuse, and relationship challenges. Most mental health counselors are able to treat individuals and couples.
Keep in mind that fees for psychiatrists will be the most expensive due to their high level of training and specialized skills. After all, they are medical doctors. But remember, of the most common mental health care providers, only psychiatrists are able to prescribe and manage medications. At Healthy Minds NYC, our psychiatrists provide both psychotherapy and medication management. And they work in collaboration with our other mental healthcare providers as a team so regardless of who you’re seeing for psychotherapy, you can have all your mental healthcare needs met in one place.
Common Types of Therapy
Regardless of their particular credential, all mental health care providers generally utilize the same types of therapy with specialization in certain areas. Here are some of the most common types of therapeutic modalities we see in New York City:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) - a highly researched form of therapy that treats problems by addressing negative patterns of thought, behavior, and emotions.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) - a specialized form of therapy that helps individuals manage intense emotions, develop greater distress tolerance, and learn skills to communicate more effectively and reduce interpersonal conflict.
Psychodynamic Therapy - a form of talk therapy based on psychoanalysis that helps individuals uncover unconscious pain from the past to heal in the present.
Solution-Focused Therapy - a form of therapy designed to focus on quickly resolving current problems by finding available solutions now and exploring hopes for the future.
What to Ask a Prospective Therapist
Once you’ve selected a few potential therapists, it’s time to reach out for an introduction. You may find that email is the best way to reach some therapists since they are often in-session and unavailable to take calls. If you find it difficult to reach the therapists, try searching for another practice that offers a customer service or care coordinator team to receive calls during business hours. Much like Healthy Minds NYC, these group practices may be able to schedule you sooner instead of waiting to connect with a therapist around their client sessions.
In your initial communication here are some helpful questions to ask your prospective therapist:
Are you accepting new patients?
Do you work with clients who are struggling with my particular issue?
What is your particular license or training?
What is your treatment style? Do you use any particular method of therapy?
What are lengths and frequency of sessions?
Do you work with my health insurance for either in- or out-of-network benefits?
What are the rates I can expect to pay? What form of payment do you accept?
Do you have any cancellation policy I should be aware of?
What to Expect in Your First Session
Your first session is primarily for assessment. Your new therapist will want to learn more about why you are seeking treatment, what your goals for health are, and anything else you may find important. Your therapist will also be assessing their ability to adequately serve you based on their knowledge of their skills and your expressed needs. This is the time to ask for what you want and be open with any concerns you may have about the therapeutic process.
This first session is also your chance to assess your therapist. Ask any questions you have about their training, background, or ability to treat you. Pay special attention to how you feel in the session. Ask yourself, does this feel like someone I could talk to and be open with in the coming months?
You will likely complete some paperwork. Expect to sign some consent forms that usually provide your basic information to your therapist and inform you of your privacy and rights to confidentiality. You will also establish how to pay your therapist each session. Keep in mind that some therapists do not accept payment at the time of your session in order to maintain a focus on your treatment rather than administrative details. For example, at Healthy Minds NYC, our central office handles all payment electronically following your session, so your time with your therapist can be one hundred percent about your treatment.
You will collaborate with your therapist on a basic meeting rhythm. Psychotherapy is generally a weekly commitment and during your first intake session, if both you and your therapist would like to proceed with working together, you’ll establish your next session time and date.
Remember this is a relationship. Like all new relationships, it can take time to connect with your new therapist. Be patient if you don’t click right away in your first session. On average, we find clients hit their sweet spot in therapy after 3 sessions.
Ready to Get Started?
If you’re ready to get started with a therapist today, Healthy Minds NYC is accepting new clients. We are also happy to provide you with a free consultation with one of our care coordinators to help you on your search for mental health care. Contact our office at (929) 399-7120 today or Contact Us online.
Some of the best apps to help you relax are available right now for free in your pocket. Though our phones can be an incredible source of stress with alerts and notifications pinging us at what seems like every minute, our handheld devices can offer a bit of digital relief with some incredible and easy to use relaxation apps.
Here are some of our favorites to use when you're feeling anxious:
Has your therapist recommended you practice deep breathing during times of stress or as a regular practice to help you remain mindful and centered? If you find deep breathing difficult on your own, this free app guides you through a deep breathing exercise with relaxing music and beautiful images, and it helps you rate your stress level along the way.
Do you find yourself often losing focus during meditation or struggling to implement deep breathing practices to help manage your stress? The Calm app is quite sleek offering a beautiful user interface to help you relax. It includes both deep breathing exercises and meditation with programs you can choose to build skills around your stress-reduction goals.
Want to add a communal element to your meditation? Headspace offers a free 10-day program to get you started with the process of meditation. If you enjoy this program, for an additional fee you can subscribe to other programs to develop mindfulness in specific areas of your life. Headspace also allows a communal program where you can meditate with friends if you'd like the accountability.
The American Psychological Association (APA) has released preliminary findings from its annual “Stress in America” poll, and results show that regardless of political party, age or race, U.S. adults are suffering from a decline in mental health due to last year's election and the ongoing political climate.
Adults using social media are particularly at risk, with 54% of men and women who engage outlets like Facebook or Twitter reporting significant stress versus 45% of adults who do not use social media. Likely the added stress for social media users is due to information overload and constant exposure to the onslaught of potentially vitriolic exchanges that can take place through digital communication. Without face-to-face human contact tempering statements, the collision of opposing ideals online can lead to often hurtful or enraging disagreements.
So how can savvy New Yorkers save their sanity in the midst of this political climate?
- Take a sabbatical from social media. The APA recommends people manage their stress by periodically disconnecting from the 24-hour news cycle to recharge and focus on self-care. Once you’ve consumed a sufficient amount of information to stay informed on top issues, log off and prioritize your personal health. Get moving with physical exercise or indulge in non-political intellectual stimulation, like reading a favorite book or catching up on Netflix. Spend time offline with loved ones and invest in hobbies that bring pleasure to your life.
- Don’t borrow worry from the future. Our director, Board-Certified Psychiatrist Dr. Lanre Dokun of Healthy Minds NYC, calls this type of thinking “catastrophizing.” He says, “A common habit of anxious or stressed out people is believing that if the thing they are worrying about occurs, they will be unable to cope. This is patently untrue. Think about the things you worried about last week, or month or year! And yet, here you are, In one piece!” Trust you’ll be able to navigate whatever the future holds and live in the present.
- Transform anxiety into action. Stress isn’t always negative. Acute stress in small doses can be helpful in spurring us to take needed action. For example, feeling stress when preparing for a big presentation at work can encourage you to do your best. Stressing about what to say on a first date might help you come up with a list of topics to discuss in a pinch when the conversation lulls. But this type of stress is very different than chronic stress that is ongoing, indirect and causes disruption in multiple areas of your life. Instead of allowing stress to linger, acknowledge the anxiety the political climate presents and then channel your feelings into a productive response.