Blog & Video Archives
Past Bridge Street Mental Health segment with accompanying text.
Given the heightened level of tension and polarization present in today’s world, empathy is, ironically, the thing which is most needed and in the shortest supply.
Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and care about the feelings of another. It is feeling compassion for someone else. Although neuroscience estimates that 98% of people have the neural capacity for empathy , the current level of societal anger generated by both the hardships imposed by the coronavirus crisis and racial unrest toward police reveals that many folks are not feeling or expressing it. Instead of understanding and compassion, fear and mistrust are keeping us from uniting together against the common threats of Covid-19 and racism.
Apart from the larger cultural and political unrest, empathy is a key ingredient needed in everyday life to help partners , families, friends and colleagues, to get along better and reduce conflicts. The ability to put ourselves in another person’s shoes and experience and discover how another person has many of the same hopes and fears that we do goes a long way towards overcoming mistrust and hostility. Here are four simple steps to help you improve your understanding of and increase your caring about others:
COVID-19, Boredom and Stress Eating : 7 Tips to help prevent weight gain during the coronavirus crisis.
As restrictions caused by the coronavirus continue and the frustration they have created mount, one of the common casualties reported by many folks is unwanted weight gain. This phenomenon is especially problematic for those who are sheltered-at-home. Changes and restriction in daily customs and work routines has created situations where folks don’t know what to do with large amounts of idle and unstructured time. This over-abundance of unstructured time has resulted in boredom which has in turn has driven many folks to distract and soothe themselves with comfort foods and by binge eating. Likewise, the food’s people are likely to choose for anxiety-based eating , things which are usually loaded with sugar , simple carbs and fats, are not helpful for maintaining a stable weight. Uncontrolled stress-eating combined with reduced activity levels spell trouble for anyone trying to avoid putting one a few pounds.
You get the point. Folks whose lives are normally filled with jobs and other vigorous activities have been caught off guard by the social side effects of COVID-19. The absence of a normal routine and a lack of meaningful stimulation has resulted in people feeling bored. Uncontrolled eating has been what many have relied upon to cope with this unresolved public health crisis.
Nevertheless, it is important to understand that unhealthy weight gain is not inevitable that but preventing it will take some increased awareness and intentional effort. If you are struggling with this issue, here are seven tips to help you resist the impulse to pig-out :
With more and more people working at home and sheltering, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many couples are spending additional time in physical proximity to one another. This increased togetherness has resulted in many partners taking advantage of the increased opportunity and having more sex.
Unfortunately, for other couples, the forced togetherness has exposed previously avoided problems of intimacy and romance and created some uncomfortable awkwardness.
As a clinician who helps couples have better sex lives, I see the coronavirus crisis as an excellent opportunity to address and fix an embarrassing and discouraging problem.
The good news is that the solution is really fun but doesn’t involve sex at all. The key for many couples to re-ignite the flames of passion is unlocking pent up inhibitions and learning how to get silly . Yes, that is not a typographical error. Increasing silliness in couple is good and allows passion to follow. Let me explain:
It’s been almost two months since all counseling here in New York State has been conducted via tele-therapy , i.e. over either a telephone or a video platform.
At first, speaking with your counselor in this way may seem artificial or odd, but my experience and the experience of many others has been that, with a little practice, it becomes quite natural and normal.
While remote counseling is not new,, ( I first provided Skype style sessions for military families with deployed members almost twenty years ago), many folks don’t know much about it.
So , if you have been considering getting some counseling but have been reluctant due to this different format, here are some frequently asked questions and answers about tele-therapy to help you understand it and feel more comfortable with it.
Okay , my apologies for not posting earlier about this. With all the attention given to and disruptions caused by COVID-19, I almost neglected to acknowledge that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
That said , I want to address a serious two headed problem faced by many who have been sexually assaulted: Shame and Self-Blame. Too often, even after many years have passed, many folks who have experienced sexual assault as children say that, even though they “know better”, they still can’t shake the feeling deep down inside that what happened was their fault.
It is important to understand that self-recrimination is a common psychological phenomenon experienced by many who have been abused. The good news is that, once understood, individuals can break its depressing hold and free themselves from this false sense of guilt and responsibility . Let me show you how.
As the Covid-19 crisis drags on and the isolation restrictions take their emotional toll, how to deal with increased irritability and anger is one of the of the most commonly asked questions by many cooped-up couples and families.
For me, both as a pastoral counselor and a psychotherapist, The Bible is filled with stories which can help us in times such as these. The Old Testament book of Job offers some especially valuable guidance.
What is remarkable about Job’s anger is how it is expressed and where it is directed . Unlike most of us when we get mad, Job did not externalize or displace his frustrations onto others or God. He did not become verbally abusive or name-call nor did he blame or make excuses. What he did in perfect I-statement form, was to talk about his experience and his pain and what he wanted.
Applying this illustrative story to our situation, here are the key points to remember about Job’s model for dealing with anger and frustrations while living in cramped quarters and restricted circumstances:
In an effort to make it easier for folks to cope during these stressful times which has been created by the COVID-19 crisis, New York’s governor , Andrew Cuomo has declared that a state of emergency exists.
To ensure that folks continue to seek, to receive and to afford needed counseling ,in addition to requiring, non-face to face, tele-therapy for counseling, the state had has ordered that due to the virus crisis:
All Insurance Co-Pays and Deductibles Are Suspended until further notice.
Rev. Michael Heath, LMHC, Fellow AAPC.
In response to the unfolding coronavirus crisis, I want to re-assure everyone that Pine Ridge will continue to provide the highest quality of psychotherapy and pastoral counseling throughout this ordeal.
In keeping with the best medical and public health recommendations, however, all therapy and counseling will be tele-therapy conducted via phone and video platforms.
If you have any questions about how to proceed during these trying and uncertain times, please call us at ( 315 380 1005 ) and I will be glad to help.
Rev. Michael Health , LMHC, Fellow AAPC 3 22 2020 .
It’s Okay to Be Afraid but there is No Need to Panic: Tips for Managing Coronavirus Fear Rationally.
Okay, everyone needs to just take a deep intentional breath or two and reflect for a moment. Although it is unprecedented and very difficult to accept (much less understand), over the past week, the coronavirus has completely changed the world and life as we have come to know it. Even worse , even the experts don’t know how bad it is going to get or how long it will be before life returns to normal.
Indeed, these are frightening times and being afraid is normal and not a sign of paranoia or some other anxiety disorder. That said, while it is normal and okay to be afraid, it is important not to panic. Here are some basic tips to help you tell the difference between fear and panic and how to manage fear rationally :
In response to concerns about the coronavirus problem, I want to reassure clients that, even though there has not been a reported case of COVID-19 in Onondaga or its surrounding counties, our offices are cleaned with sanitary wipes after each appointment and that every precaution is taken to prevent the potential spread of the disease including having hand sanitizer available .
Likewise, for those who are ill and wish treatment or for those who are simply anxious about going out in public, teletherapy is available through phone and HIPAA compliant internet based video platforms.
With respect to other medical appointments you may want to consider telehealth options. Please contact your doctors to see if they provide such remote consultation services.
It is important to know that we will continue to provide counseling services no matter how intrusive or disruptive the virus becomes.
In the mean time , here is a link to a CDC sight which lists basic precautions which should be taken if you are over 60. https://ix.cnn.io/dailygraphics/graphics/20200311-coronavirus-tipsheet/CNN-coronavirus-tipsheet-en_US.pdf
Rev. Michael Heath, LMHC, Fellow AAPC 3 12 2020
Over the past few weeks, there has been wall to wall coverage of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), epidemic. In addition to the impact on the sick, the fear of the spread of this disease has caused world-wide alarm and has had a devastating impact on industry and the world’s stock markets . Concerns about limiting and containing the spread of the virus have already resulted in significant daily living disruptions with measures such as quarantines, cancelled conventions and air flights. Going forward , how to prevent a general public panic is uncertain.
Unfortunately, the problem is made worse and more confusing because government preparation and responses have been inadequate and statements from the White House and public health agencies about the virus or what to do are often contradictory. As a result, it is difficult for the public to know what is true and just who to believe.
Fortunately, there is wide-spread agreement among health experts about what common sense measures should be employed to lesson the risk of contracting the disease: — Use disposable tissues. — Be mindful of what you touch. — Wash your hands frequently after touching things like door knobs, light switches, etc. — Avoid unnecessary public contact like shaking hands. — And MOST IMPORTANTLY — Don’t touch your face.
It is important to realize , despite all of the media attention, the virus is not the Black Plague. Although many will be infected by Coronavirus, most will not even feel sick. That said the threat of the virus goes beyond a medical risk. COVID-19 poses a severe psychological stress which create individual and even mass panic. Even for those who don’t get sick, the emotional strain of non-stop media hype in addition to the disruptive precautionary measures will pose a serious menace that will, in some way, impact almost everyone sooner or later. Although no one can control the spread or extent of the disease, there is a lot which individuals can do to control the anxiety produced by this difficult situation. Here are some important tips:
Depending on your romantic situation, Valentine’s Day can mean dramatically different things. For lovers and married folks, it can be a joyful time to reflect on and express love and affection for one another.
However, this heavily media-hyped day can be an excruciating and heartbreaking time for folks who have lost, are without partners or who are in the midst of relational strife or divorce. Indeed, the plight of those who are lonely can be overlooked and ignored in the wake of the red-hearted deluge of the holiday.
We need to remember that, for these folks, Valentine’s Day is at best awkward and at worst a painful reminder of loneliness, frustration, disappointment and loss.
Beyond the pain of being without or losing a loving partner is the destructive impact on one’s self-esteem . Unfortunately, partner-less and divorcing folks often blame themselves for their lack of romantic success and see themselves as defective or permanently damaged such that they will always be alone.
While some folks do suffer from emotional issues which make sustaining intimate relationships difficult or problematic, that is not the case for most. And for those who are bummed out on Valentine’s Day, here are some thoughts and tips for coping with loneliness until Cupid’s arrows work their magic.
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and so it’s a perfect time to talk about romance and how important and necessary it is to a lasting and satisfying marriage.
It is ironic that , while that most folks think that romance is a good thing, many married (and unmarried) couples admit that there isn’t a lot of it in their relationship and would like more.
Unfortunately, many erroneously believe that once romance disappears from a marriage, there is no way to get it back. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to rekindle romantic feelings and restore excitement to your marriage. Given the all of the bad information and discouragement surrounding romance, here are some basic facts to remember that explain: 1) Why romance is so important, 2) The key factors that go into keeping romance alive and vigorous and 3) Tips for re-igniting romance and passion that may have flagged :
Recent studies have repeatedly shown that Americans are having less sex. One statistic reveals that over half of single folks under forty haven’t had sex in a year. Factors such as work-related anxiety and financial worries leave many singles either too busy or too stressed out to bother with sex.
Shockingly, more and more married couples are reporting that they aren’t having sex either. Sexless marriage hasn’t been talked about much in the past but, lately, it’s attracting more clinical attention because the fact that couples aren’t having sex is emerging more frequently with patients who are seeking help for other issues.
Sadly, many sexless couples don’t seek help because they are discouraged and feel that there is nothing that can be done. Unfortunately, untreated, the problem only becomes worse and worse. While sex may not be the most important thing in life, it’s probably in the top ten. Therefore, couples need to know that sexual problems in marriage, while difficult to talk about at first, are very treatable.
Here are some important facts about sexless marriages:
As we come to the end of the year, encouraged by tradition and media hype, many will think about new year’s resolutions and making important changes in their lives.
Likewise, many will look back on the year just past with disappointment and discouragement over the well intentioned but failed efforts from the previous year’s resolution list.
Frankly, change is hard. It takes more than good intentions to actually succeed in making significant and needed improvements in our lives. Many who undertake plans for things like losing weight, quitting smoking or exercising more, for example, fail to understand the necessary factors which are required on one hand and those which work against change on the other.
Taking a little time to reflect may not only improve your chances of succeeding but also help to help you to avoid the pain of not following through. With these complications and pitfalls in mind, here are a some things to think about before undertaking the challenge of a new year’s resolution .
- May 31, 2017
Understanding the Parallels between Biblical and Psychological Wisdom
- May 14, 2017
Aprreciating the Emotinal Complexity of Mother’s Day
- May 02, 2017
Redefining Mental Health: The Struggle to be Reasonable
- April 16, 2017
Easter and the Therapeutic Process: The Rest of the Story
- April 02, 2017
Judgers and Perceivers
- March 19, 2017
Communication Tip # 6 : Understanding the Differences between Thinkers and Feelers
- March 04, 2017
Communication tip #5 : Understanding iNtuitive and Sensate Personality Differences
- February 21, 2017
Communication Tip # 4: Understanding the differences between Extroverts and Introverts
- February 03, 2017
Aristophanes and the Myth of Androgyne: The Soulful Meanings of Love
- January 15, 2017
The Myth of “Holding on” to the Past : Neuro-science and the Grieving Process
- January 02, 2017
Being Reasonable about New Year’s Resolutions:
- December 17, 2016
New Research offers Hope for Resistant Depression
- December 04, 2016
Bursting Some Common Myths About Pastoral Counseling
- November 23, 2016
Thanksgiving: A Time for Regaining Perspective and ,for some, Conflict
- November 11, 2016
Dealing With Political Grief
- November 02, 2016
Explaining the Facebook Study: Turns out Cyber Friends Are Important Too
- October 19, 2016
Beyond Romantic Myths: 9 Tips for Getting real about what it takes to have a great marriage
- October 03, 2016
Why Mental Health Check-Ups Are a Good Idea
- September 15, 2016
Appreciating the Health Benefits of Good Friends
- August 31, 2016
When it comes to sex, men are Windows and women are DOS
- August 14, 2016
Good News for People Who Worry about Memory Loss
- August 05, 2016
The Psychology of Blaming: Learning to See the Fear Behind the Anger
- July 07, 2016
Psychological Manipulation: What it is and How to deal with it.
- June 21, 2016
Coping with the Absurd and the Horrifying Stories in the News
- June 05, 2016
Do you have to be “crazy” to see a therapist ?
- May 18, 2016
Sex in Marriage : Are You having Enough ?
- May 07, 2016
Updating the Image of Psychotherapist: A Life-Tour Guide
- April 29, 2016
Updating the Image of Psychotherapist: From Orthodontist to Helicopter Pilot When people think abo
- April 12, 2016
Spring Cleaning for your Marriage
- March 28, 2016
Some thoughts about the importance of Hope
- March 16, 2016
I-Statements 101: The Keys to Expressing Anger Constructively
- March 02, 2016
Understanding Leisure as an Essential Part of Self-Care
- February 12, 2016
Romantic Myth # 3: Love is a Special Feeling
- February 09, 2016
Romantic Myth #2 : Love Never Ends
- February 06, 2016
Bursting Popular Myths about Love
- January 25, 2016
How to Make a Worry List: The Importance of Emotional Triage
- January 12, 2016
Want More Intimacy In Your Relationship? Try Sharing Your Dreams
- January 02, 2016
The Secret to Keeping New Year’s Resolutions
- December 21, 2015
Light and the Meaning of the Holidays
- December 07, 2015
Dealing with Increased Terror-Related Anxiety
- November 20, 2015
Dealing with the stress of Holiday Gatherings
- November 10, 2015
Are You An IMpatient Person ?
- October 27, 2015
How Exchanging Marital Report Cards Can Improve Your Relationship
- October 07, 2015
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
- September 21, 2015
Understanding the new “Female” Viagra
- September 12, 2015
Talking about end of life issues and facing our fears of dying
- August 24, 2015
Bursting the Forgiveness Myth
- August 13, 2015
Understainding our False Guilt about Sex
- August 02, 2015
Do you know your “Organ of Distress”: Recognizing when an emotional fire is about to break out.
- July 20, 2015
How to Build Trust After an Affair .
- July 05, 2015
The “Emotinal Cigarette” – A breathing exercise to help you relax.
- May 18, 2016
Sex in Marriage : Are You having Enough ?
- June 24, 2015
Good News for Work Outs
- June 15, 2015
Sneaky Depression Triggers
- June 03, 2015
Human Sexuality Is More Complicated Than You Think.
- May 28, 2015
Mental Health Myth # 4: Talking to friends is the same thing as going to therapy.
- May 28, 2015
Myth # 3: Psychological disorders are very rare
- May 06, 2015
The Myth of Mental Illness: 2.0
- May 03, 2015
Did you know that May in Mental Health Awareness Month ?
- April 25, 2015
Bruce Jenner Interview Outshines Olympic Gold
- April 10, 2015
White House Supports Ban on “Conversion Therapy” for Gay and Transgender Youth
- April 03, 2015
Sexism in FDA: Continues a Double Standard, Hurts Women
- March 16, 2015
Taking Your Emotinal Pulse
- March 05, 2015
Your Emotional Docimeter
- December 21, 2015
Rekindling Passion: Part Two – The Secret to Re-igniting the Fames of Desire
- January 30, 2015
Rekindling Passion: Part One – The Truth about Aphrodisiacs
- January 14, 2015
Emotional Triage and the Worry List
- January 06, 2015
A Check-List Before Making Your New Year’s Resolutions
- January 30, 2015
- December 10, 2014
Reducing Stress Around the Holidays
- November 23, 2014
Feeling Grattitude When Times Are Hard
- November 07, 2014
Reducing Stress for Seniors : Tips for Dealing with Everyday Worries and Finding More Joy in LIfe
- October 27, 2014
Five Things You Didn’t Know About Halloween
- October 14, 2014
Having Good Sex is a Sign of a Healthy Marriage
- September 30, 2014
New “Consent” App Asks Partners Important Questions to Think About Before Having Sex
- September 09, 2014
Lame Excuses – Why we make them. How to stop.
- August 13, 2014
Robin Williams’ Severe Depression: Keeping Things in Perspective
- July 16, 2014
The Quiet Crisis: Adult Children Caring for Aging Parents
- June 18, 2014
Clearing up the confusion about Transgendered People and Gender Non-Conformity: Getting the medical
- May 21, 2014
Getting Rid of Grudges: Just let it go – or maybe not.
- April 16, 2014
Finding Romance among the Diapers
- March 26, 2014
Bursting the “Hard Work” Myth”: The Importance of Leisure
- February 12, 2014
Wedding Insurance and Pre-Marital Counseling :Bursting the Obligation Myth.
- January 15, 2014
Submissiveness and Leadershipin the Modern Marriage
- December 23, 2013
Reducing Stress Around the Holidays – A Pastoral Counseling Approach
- December 18, 2013
Balancing Career and Family
- November 19, 2013
Dating Younger: How the internet and social media have expanded dating choices for single people
- October 30, 2013
Five Things You Didn’t Know About Halloween
- October 09, 2013
Are You Bing Bullied in the Workplace ?
- September 04, 2013
Are You Addicted to the Internet ?
- August 14, 2013
Post-Partum Depression: What every expectant or new mom needs to know.
- July 31, 2013
Secrets of Assertiveness 101:
- July 08, 2013
Sex Education for Adults: Cheating
- June 17, 2013
- June 05, 2013
Leaving the Nest – Vaulable Tips for Parents and Young Adults
- May 22, 2013
Five Mental Health Myths
- May 08, 2013
A Spring Cleaning for Your Marriage: Personal Appearance
- April 17, 2013
Dealing with the Boston Marathon Bombings?
- March 28, 2013
“Breaking up” with your Hairdresser
- March 13, 2013
Is This ( am I ) Normal
- February 27, 2013
Romantic Second Chances: When should I give him (her) another chance?
- February 13, 2013
Caring and Consideration: The Keys to Lasting Passion
- January 17, 2013
Emotional First Aid: Tips for Responding to Everyday Psychological Distress
- January 02, 2013
New Year’s Resolutions: Why We Brake Them, How To Keep The,
- October 30, 2012
Here’s the Skinny on Scary: The Facts about Phobias
- October 19, 2012
Oh, I Remember it well … or maybe not !
- September 26, 2012
The Importance of Remembering
- September 05, 2012
Going Back to School Chaos: Help for Parents
- August 17, 2012
Money Conflicts and Marriage: Tips for Keeping the Peace
- July 30, 2012
Using Your Imagination to Overcome Procrastination
- July 23, 2012
UPreventing Tragic Story Overload in the Wake of the Colorado Massacre
- July 09, 2012
Redefining Normal: An Inclusive Way of Understanding Mental Health
- June 27, 2012
PTSD National Awareness Day : Myths and Facts
- June 20, 2012
Reducing Stress When You Travel
- May 30, 2012
How to Cope with an Unreasonable Boss
- May 16, 2012
How to Disagree without Being Disagreeable
- May 14, 2012
Myths and facts about happiness: What really makes us happy ?
- April 25, 2012
Body Language: Our Emotional Traffic Lights
- April 04, 2012
The Importance of Work Place Colleagues
- March 14, 2012
Stress and Relationships
- February 29, 2012
Is It Love or Chemistry ? Tips for knowing when real love comes along.
- February 13, 2012
Can Love and Romance Last ? Yes, But It Takes Work !
- January 18, 2012
Why am I so Impatient ? Tips for Dealing with the New Technologies that are Driving us Crazy./a>
- January 04, 2012
The Psychology of Successful Weight Loss — Tips for Avoiding the Emotional Pitfalls which Sabotage
- December 23, 2011
Are You Emotionally Out of Shape ? Here’s a Check List to Help You Become Emotinally Fit
- December 07, 2011
Don’t be So Defensive – Tips for Dealing with Criticism Gracefully
- November 23, 2011
Feeling Gratitude in the Wake of Hard Times
- November 08, 2011
The Truth about Secrets and Itimacy in Marriage
- October 26, 2011
How to Have A Constructive Argument
- October 12, 2011
The Psychological Cigarette – Understanding the Breathing/Relaxation Connection
- October 03, 2011
Am I OCD or just really particular ?
- September 12, 2011
The 411 about Marriage Counseling – What it Can and Can’t do.
- August 09, 2011
Psychology and Smart Phones: The Risks of Overusing your PocketPC
- August 01, 2011
The Art of Compromise: Keys to Successful Marital Negotiation
- July 20, 2011
Planning your wedding ? Don’t forget your relationship: the Essentials
- July 05, 2011
Creating 2nd Chances: Tips for Turning a Bad Situation into a Good One
- June 08, 2011
The Seven Year Itch: Why it Happens and How to Prevent i
- May 25, 2011
Fair Fighting – Some Ground Rules for Resolving Marital Conflicts
- May 11, 2011
Unnecessary Criticism: Why we do it ; How to stop it
- April 27, 2011
Money Conflicts in Marriage: It’s not just about the Money
- April 13, 2011
Spring Cleaning Your Marriage: Personal Appearance
- April 01, 2011
Understanding and Coping with Jealousy in Marriage
- March 16, 2011
Therapeutic Self-Talk: What it is, Why it’s Helpful and How it Works .
- March 09, 2011
Breaking the Ice After an Argument: Understanding the Psychology of Post Argument Silences
- February 23, 2011
Guilt-Tripping and Emotional Manipulation No one likes to be guilt-tripped, yet it happens all
- February 14, 2011
The Secret of Keeping Romance Alive: Tips for Busy Couples
- January 26, 2011
Sibling Relationships 101:Tips for Updating your Sib Status
- January 19, 2011
How Words Can Help Us to Heal The tragedies of the Tucson shooting has created many emotional wounds
- January 14, 2011
A Myth About Mourning Although most of the country was moved by the ceremony held for the victims
- January 06, 2011
Boosting Your Brain: Sorting out the Facts from the Myths
- December 29, 2010
End of Year Marital Review and Marital Resolutions for the New Year
- July 19, 2010
- June 28, 2010
Are You Just Discouraged or Really Depressed ? How to Tell the Difference
- May 25, 2010
Emotional False Alarms
- May 06, 2010
The Science of Making Up
- April 12, 2010
Spring Cleaning for your Marriage
- December 07, 2009
Marital Make-Overs for the Holidays: Tips for Fallling in Love All over Again
- November 02, 2009
Marriage Is Hard
- October 05, 2009
Keeping Your Cool
- September 10, 2009
Nagging: Why we do It , How to Stop
- July 23, 2009
- June 30, 2009
- June 01, 2009
Helping our Parents with Difficult Decisions
- March 09, 2009
The Good News About Stress
- February 19, 2009
Talking to Teens about Sex