We are excited to announce that Dr. Agnes Selinger is returning to Cognitive Behavioral Psychology of NY (CBPNY) after a two-year hiatus. Dr. Selinger did her post-doctoral training at CBPNY and then was a valuable member of our team for several years. She recently pursued additional training, expanding her CBT skills, as well as intensive training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). We are happy to welcome her back to CBPNY where she will be providing cognitive behavioral therapies for young children, adolescents, and adults. She has extensive experience providing exposure and response prevention to individuals suffering from obsessive compulsive spectrum disorders, as well as treating generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, panic disorder, phobias, depression, selective mutism, school refusal, body dysmorphic disorder, hoarding, trichotillomania, Tourette’s and ADHD.
Dr. Selinger earned her master’s and doctoral degrees from Hofstra University’s combined clinical and school psychology program, as well as an additional master’s degree in psychology from New York University. She completed her pre-doctoral clinical internship at the Southwestern Vermont Consortium, which included outpatient rotations providing individual and group therapy to clients of all ages. While there, she also provided individual treatment and parent training for children who participated in Head Start and conducting neuropsychological assessments at a memory clinic.
Other professional experiences have included an appearance on Columbia University’s radio show, “Uptown Radio.” Dr. Selinger is an active member of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) and Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA).
Please join us in welcoming Dr. Selinger back to CBPNY.
The Staff at CBPNY
Dr. Dena Rabinowitz, PhD ABPP
If you have a teenager, it is likely that they are watching the new Netflix series “13 Reasons Why,” one of the most streamed TV shows in America right now. The controversial show features a 17-year-old girl who commits suicide; the episodes depict the events which the main character blames for her suicide. The show is very controversial in that it contains both positive and concerning elements.
On the positive side, the show addresses challenges that exist in the adolescent world today. The series allows teenagers to see that they are not the only ones feeling and experiencing difficulties during their adolescence. For parents, it is a window into what most teenagers are exposed to, if not experiencing. Many of the parents in the show are portrayed as loving and well-meaning, but they are at times oblivious to and unaware of how to effectively talk to their teens. We know that one of the best supports parents can offer their children is to have open lines of communication. The show provides parents an opportunity to start conversations about difficult and important issues like social media, bullying, drinking, depression, rape, as well as the general experience of being a teenager. Also, on the positive side, the show tries to send the ultimate message that we need to be more mindful of how we treat each other, be more kind, and offer support to others.
With these strengths, the show has some areas of concern. The show features a graphic portrayal of suicide which experts do not recommend adolescents watch given the possibility of “copycat” behavior. The show’s main character also casts blame on others for her suicide and highlights “revenge” motivations for suicide. It is important to communicate to your teen that suicide is never a way to deal with their problems, to hurt those who have hurt them, or to get attention. Suicide is also not someone else’s fault, but rather often a result of severe mental illness or an extreme stressor. Furthermore, the show demonstrates a school counselor grossly mishandling an interaction with the main character and may give the impression that adults can’t help. It is important to talk to your teen about how you and other adults are there for them and can help them if they are in pain, and can also help them find effective resources.
Whether you like the show or not, your child is most likely watching it, or already has, and therefore you should too. Use the show as an opportunity to start conversations with your teen that you might not have otherwise had. If you think your teen is in trouble, get help.
Below is a link to several talking points and resources that can help you facilitate the conversation:
“13 Reasons Why” Tallking Points
Suidice and Depression Links
NIMH Teen Depression: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/teen-depression/index.shtml
APA Teen Suicide: http://www.apa.org/research/action/suicide.aspx
Suicide Prevention Life Line: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/# - 1-800-273-8255
Trevor Noah Project: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/pages/get-help-now - 1-866-488-7386
Parents Teen Suicide: http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/suicide.html
Depression For Parents: http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/understanding-depression.html
Mayo Clinic Teen Depression: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/teen-depression/home/ovc-20164553
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry:https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/Facts_for_families_Pages/Teen_Suicide_10.aspx
This week, Donald J. Trump won the presidential election and secured his place as the 45th President of the United States of America. Some are struggling with disappointment, anxiety and fear, some are feeling joy, and others are feeling relief. No matter what side of the aisle you fall, most people are seeing conflict and vitriol in their environment. This can be a particularly difficult time for children. As parents, it is important to kids that we help them navigate the messages of conflict, fear, disappointment, and joy.
Make time to talk to your kids about these issues. Ask them about how they’re feeling and what they’re hearing. Allow them to express their emotions and validate that their feelings are okay, and that it is important to express your feelings.
At the same time, it is important to remind kids to be respectful of other children’s beliefs and values. It can be helpful to remind them that while they are feeling sad, others may be feeling happy, and if the results had been different, they may have been happy and others may have felt sad. It is also very important that they understand that even if we deeply disagree with someone’s values and opinions, we can do so in a manner that still upholds respect for all human beings. It is okay, and even helpful, if they can listen and talk with people with different points of view, as long as they do so with an open mind.
If they are feeling badly, fearful, disappointed, or discouraged, remind them that these issues are complex. Talk to them about the checks and balances that exist in government- and in people- and remind them of the strengths of our democracy. Inform them that after elections, people work together to unite and work hard for the people of America.
You can also remind them that every person- children included can make a difference! Their bad feelings can be clues as to what is important to them. Find out what they are upset about and help them take action by volunteering or supporting organizations in line with those causes. Taking action to express their values and make the world a better place will empower and uplift them in a way that simply expressing negative feelings against perceived opponents never will.
Finally, remember your kids are watching you and looking at you for how to respond. It is important that parents express their feelings, but make sure to do so in a way that doesn’t scare kids or make them more anxious. In addition, you should model healthy coping- make sure to attend to your emotions and take care of yourself.
The New York Times recently published an article by Ashton Katherine Carrick entitled “Drinking to Blackout.” In this article, Ms. Carrick described the aspirational blackout culture she saw in college- one in which students purposefully drink to excess in hopes of blacking out and being unable to remember the night. Ms. Carrick attributed this blackout culture to a variety of factors, including lack of other activities, the fact that alcohol is inexpensive and accessible, and other students viewing the behavior as socially acceptable. She also said that this aspirational blackout culture comes from the pressure students are under. Ms. Carrick believes that this pressure to succeed in college, compounded by the fear of failure, not only leads students to drink in excess, but also causes the increase in mental illness seen on college campuses. She says that this issue is compounded by the fact that students accept, and even encourage, this blackout culture.
Teens attitudes and values toward drinking generally start to take shape early in their high school careers. Research has demonstrated that parents can influence their children’s alcohol consumption by speaking with their teens. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has published articles about how parents can talk to their teens about alcohol. They recommends having multiple conversations with your teen - and making sure it doesn’t sound like a lecture! One way to begin these talks is to ask your child what they know about alcohol and why they think kids their age drink.
Given the myriad of myths that people have about alcohol, it is important to provide your teen with accurate information. Explain the effects that alcohol has on the mind and body, including its effects on coordination and slowed reaction time (which greatly affects driving ability), as well as difficulties seeing, thinking, and making good decisions. Tell your teen that beer, wine, and alcohol are all equally dangerous and that it takes, on average, two to three hours for a single drink to leave their bodies. Kids also need to learn that people, and especially teens, are often poor judges of how seriously alcohol affects them, and so they often underestimate how impaired they are.
As the parent, it is important to not only share your views about underage drinking, but to also let your teen know that you understand that teens drink and that they may face a lot of pressure. Inform your child about your expectations and provide your teen with good reasons not to drink, like maintaining their ability to make good decisions and stay safe. Emphasize areas where there are absolutes: never engaging in drinking and driving, and always being in a group to safeguard against being in a situation that could involve violence or unwanted sex. Make sure they understand that while you don’t condone drinking, and that there are consequences to this behavior, their safety comes first. Explain that if they do drink or end up in an unsafe situation, they can call you and get help. Being available to help your child navigate their first exposures (and mistakes) with alcohol can help them learn safety lessons earlier on and protect against later problem when alcohol is more available and acceptable in college.
Parents play a big role in their children's’ lives and can dramatically influence whether and how their teen drinks or not. Make sure to talk to your kids so they have the knowledge they need before heading off to college!
We are excited to announce that Brooke Ziegelbaum, PsyD has joined Cognitive Behavioral Psychology of NY (CBPNY) as our new postdoctoral fellow! We are now pleased to be able to offer lower-fee CBT treatment as well as affordable neuropsychological testing!
Dr. Ziegelbaum graduated from La Salle University’s APA-Accredited clinical psychology program. She recently completed her internship in Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s combined child, adolescent and adult track.
Dr. Ziegelbaum has extensive experience in the application of evidence based treatments such as CBT, DBT, Mindfulness, and parent training, as well as testing. Her addition to our practice allows us to continue to provide excellent child, adolescent and adult individual psychotherapy and neuropsychological testing on a sliding scale.
Please join us in welcoming Dr. Ziegelbaum to CBPNY!
Dena Rabinowitz, PhD ABPP