Welcome to the CBT/DBT Associates Blog

Our blog is a resource for clients and interested members of our community to learn more about our practice offerings, including groups, workshops, and other new programming.

Anxiety About Returning to “Normal” Life

Kristen Roman Psy.D.| Director of the Young Adult Program: Lately I’ve been thinking about how strange it is that many of us have transitioned from being eager to return to “normal…
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Worried about the COVID vaccine? Here’s how to make the best choice.

By William Benson, Psy.D. | Staff Psychologist We’re all sick of COVID and want life to get closer to normal.  But many of us may be skeptical or nervous about the…
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How to Talk to Children About the Current Political Climate

Alison Bellevue, Psy.D. | Director of Child, Adolescent, and Family Services It would be difficult to find someone who was a fan of 2020. While I do not have research to…
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holidays in a pandemic

How to Cope with the Holidays in a Pandemic

Michelle Litwer, Psy.D. | Staff Psychologist: The holidays can be both an exciting and stressful time in our lives. During a global pandemic, stress levels are likely already high, and…
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Social Distancing as the Weather Gets Colder

Kristen Roman | Director of the Young Adult Program: As the weather gets colder in NYC, many of us are noticing anxiety and sadness creeping in about what this will…
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Sitting with Uncertainty During These Times

Haley Rottenberg, Psy.D. | Staff Psychologist: Uncertainty is one of the biggest causes of anxiety. When we are not sure about what is to come, we start to feel nervous.…
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pandemic OCD

Managing Pandemic OCD

Courtney Barich | Marketing: As a 26 year old woman living in New York City, I was having a hard time the first few months of this pandemic. I am…
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blended learning

Staying Organized During Online and Blended Learning

William Benson, Psy.D. | Staff Psychologist: Has this ever happened to you? Your child has a large homework assignment or project due tomorrow. He has yet to start. Worse, he…
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dating in a pandemic

Dating in a Pandemic

Michelle Litwer, Psy.D. | Staff Psychologist: Dating typically brings up a wide range of emotions. These emotions can be especially overwhelming and tough to manage while dating in a pandemic.This…
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Preparing for Difficult Conversations with Your Kids

Alison Bellevue, Psy.D. | Director of Child, Adolescent, and Family Services: As parents, it’s our job to teach our children about themselves and the world around them, which at times,…
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Your Buffer Against PTSD in a “New Normal”

Kyle Haney, Ph.D. | Staff Psychologist: Covid-19 has put our world in a place of upheaval. It is completely understandable to worry “how is this pandemic going to affect me…
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The Door to Therapy is Always Open

William Benson, Psy.D. | Staff Psychologist: CBT and DBT are both therapies that we often describe as “time-limited,” meaning the idea is not necessarily to be in these therapies all…
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Productivity May Look Different During This Time and That’s Okay

Shimon Littman, Psy.D. | Staff Psychologist: Every day I find myself trying to avoid “the pile.” That’s what I call the ever growing and changing mountain of responsibilities, chores, reading,…
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healthy eating

Maintaining Healthy Eating Habits During Quarantine

Michelle Litwer, Psy.D. | Staff Psychologist: If you’re anything like me, you’ve been struggling with healthy eating habits during the quarantine. It has been challenging to maintain a consistent routine…
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What’s Keeping Me Up At Night? It’s Not What You Think!

Tory Tomassetti, Ph.D. | CBT-I and Staff Psychologist During these unprecedented times, many of us are seeking comfort in routines old and new.  We are spending most (or all) of our time…
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How to Prepare for Teletherapy

Kristen Roman, Psy.D. | Director of the Young Adult Program Whether you started therapy recently, or have been meeting with your therapist for years, transitioning to teletherapy in the midst of the…
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Remote Resources to Cope with Social Distancing and Self-Quarantine Amid COVID-19

In light of the current health crisis due to COVID-19, here are some remote resources and at-home activities to help cope with social distancing and self-quarantine.    Check out these…
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working remotely

10 Tips for Coping with Working Remotely and Social Distancing

Dr. Lisa A. Napolitano, J.D., Ph.D.| Founder and Executive Director Check out 10 tips for coping with working remotely and social distancing in the midst of COVID-19 from our Founder and…
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Managing Health Anxiety in the midst of Coronavirus

With all of the news about flu season and coronavirus, it is easy to get swept up by fears of illness. Many people are cancelling travel, scheduling extra medical appointments, and wearing face masks to avoid catching the flu or coronavirus. While these behaviors can be helpful for some of us, they can also lead to becoming too fixated on health. Often, our health anxiety can convince us that we have a deadly disease or that we are more likely to catch an illness than statistics show. As a result, we may reduce our engagement in daily activities such as going to the gym or attending social events in fear of catching an illness. But, reducing the frequency of exercise and avoiding social gatherings and can negatively impact our quality of life.
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How to Deal with Loneliness

In the wake of Valentine’s Day, when expressions of love for romantic partners, friends, and family are center stage, many people may be experiencing increased feelings of loneliness. Winter can also be a more pronounced time for loneliness, as cold weather brings increased temptation to stay inside, limiting opportunities for connection. An interesting thing about loneliness is that you can feel lonely even when you are surrounded by people and have a lot of people in your life who care about you. Regardless of the sources of your loneliness, I wanted to share some ideas about ways to cope with loneliness.
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Parenting New Year’s Resolutions

Before becoming a parent, you may have had ideas about the kind of parent you wanted to be. Or maybe, you had no idea what kind of parent you wanted to be and are figuring it out as you go. I encourage you to take time to review your past year as a parent in order to identify the things that inspired you and the things that seemed to get in your way. Often times, we target the areas we believe are lacking, but I think it is more effective to build on the things that have been going well.
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How to Handle Travel Stress

The holidays come with a lot of excitement and things to look forward to, but they can also cause stress, especially if you’re traveling. You may feel run down moving from place to place, consistently living out of a suitcase, eating and sleep schedules may change, and your wallet may be feeling the pressure of airfares and car rentals. You also may have unrealistic expectations for your trip, and feel really let down, which can bring about a lot of unexpected emotions. There are many things you can do to make travel less stressful, more enjoyable, and easier to recover from.
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Coping with Holiday Anxiety

As we approach Thanksgiving and the holiday season, the catchphrase becomes “eat, drink, and be merry.” But what’s less talked about is the anxiety that sometimes accompanies the season that is all about indulging. Particularly for those with eating disorders and body image concerns, this can be a difficult time. Even people without these concerns may struggle to find balance in the midst of the holidays.
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5 Signs Your Child Needs a Psychoeducational Assessment

Congratulations! You have successfully gotten your child or children into the swing of the new school year! Hopefully, everyone has settled into their nighttime and morning routines, has adjusted to new teachers and academic expectations, and continues to feel connected to school friends and previously enjoyed activities. If you are reading this and thinking, “Oh no, we have barely settled in! Things seem much harder this year!” Don’t worry. Transitioning from summer to school is no easy feat and every child and family adjusts to the transition differently...
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Breaking Through Test Anxiety

With the school year now fully under way, teachers and professors are hitting their stride with course assignments and scheduling exams.  Whether an exam encompasses a few chapters of material in chemistry or is a mid-term based on half of your semester’s work in statistics, test anxiety can strike anyone!  Test anxiety involves a combination of physiological hyperarousal (racing heart, shortness of breath, feeling “antsy”), worry or dread about test-taking, and an avoidance of effective preparation, which often interferes with normal learning and lowers test performance...
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back to school anxiety

Managing Back to School Anxiety

As the weather starts to cool down and Labor Day weekend approaches, many people are starting to think about the transition back to school. While this may be exciting because it means you get to see your college friends again or get back to the freedom you lost while living at your parents’ house over the summer, most of us inevitably experience some anxiety about getting back into the swing of things. To help ease the transition, here are a few ideas to consider about back to school anxiety.
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The LIKE Movie Screening

On Monday, August 5th, CBT/DBT Associates hosted a pre-release screening of a new documentary called Like, a film about the positive and negative impacts of social media on our lives. The Like movie had a particular focus on adolescents, interviewing teens and their parents about social media use. As an audience, we were fascinated with the film, which made for an engaging and productive discussion afterwards.
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summertime sadness

How to tackle summertime sadness?

Are you experiencing summertime sadness and are bombarded with “you’re supposed to be happy in the summer, it’s the best time of year?” Are you struggling to live consistently with this statement? You are definitely not alone! There are many reasons as to why summer is not the season for everyone. Here are some of the reasons why...
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Living with OCD

As I sit on the train, I am counting to six in my head. I am also slightly panicking that I just wrote that down for the first time because no one knows that six is my lucky, unlucky obsessive compulsive number. I try to do everything in sixes. To name a few, I get into bed on a six, I take six steps before I sit down and I will only close a book every sixth page. This may sound crazy to some people, but to me if I don't do everything on a six I am risking my family’s health...
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Mindfulness on Vacation

Since going on vacation a few weeks ago, I’ve been thinking about how mindfulness can be used to help maximize our enjoyment of time away. Here are a few ideas for how to practice DBT mindfulness skills while on vacation...
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Breaking the Stigma

Since 1949, May has been designated Mental Health Awareness Month by Mental Health America and other related organizations. Whether you struggle with depression, anxiety, relationship difficulties, or other mental health issues, daily life can be daunting. However, the stigma surrounding mental health may cause additional pain for those struggling in their lives. Organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)a estimate that one in five Americans is adversely affected by stigma toward their mental health conditions. So what can you do to find support or flip the script...
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Help! My Child has turned into a Teenager.

As a parent, do you ever feel like as soon as you get a handle on what’s going on with your child, she changes? It’s as if your child can sense just when you are starting to feel confident and that’s when he changes the rules. This feeling of uncertainty often arises for parents and is most pronounced during the transition from childhood to adolescence. Children begin this developmental shift at different times, beginning as early as 10-years-old and as late as 13-years-old. Here is a brief guide to help you understand what is typical for children this age and tips on how best to foster and maintain a strong relationship with your child during this transition...
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Setting SMART Goals

Have you ever thought about what thing you are really good at? Research suggests that if you optimize your strengths, you will see improvements in your relationships and enhancement in your health and well-being.* Although signature strengths are unique to each individual, research has identified three character strengths that are common in individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)...
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CBT-I: It’s More Than Just Sleep Hygiene!

Tuesday, 3:00am, another sleepless night. You’ve watched the hours tick by on the clock- an illuminated analogue clock because you know not to use your cellphone for this purpose anymore. As you lie in bed dreading the day to come, you wonder why the sleep hygiene tools you read about on BuzzFeed aren’t working...
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How to make friends as a grown-up

I’ve recently been talking with several friends and clients about how difficult it can be to make friends once you are out of the context of a school environment. Whether you have moved to a new city, or find that many of your friends have moved out of the city you’re in, it can be an isolating experience to try to build connections later in life. Here are a few tips to increase the likelihood of expanding your social circle...
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What are your Values?

You may have been asked the question, “What are your values?”, and it may have been difficult to answer that. Let’s take a step back and talk about what they really are and how identifying values may be useful in your life. Although there are COUNTLESS definitions, here are some of the key elements to think about when discussing values...
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winter blues

Winter Blues

Are you noticing a change in your mood as it gets colder outside? Do you find yourself feeling slowed down and have a difficult time waking up in the morning? Surprisingly, 6-14% of people in the United States experience an increase in depression during the winter months, a phenomenon known as major depression disorder with seasonal pattern.* What can you do right now to counter the winter blues?
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School Refusal

Is it extraordinarily hard to get your kid out the door for school? Does your son insist that he has a stomach ache and can’t make it in that day? Does your daughter pretend she doesn’t hear her alarm or your frequent requests to get out of bed? If you can relate to this, your child may be experiencing school refusal. With the holidays coming up, it is even more important to be on the lookout for this behavior, as it is challenging for some kids to get back to school following an extended vacation.
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new year's resolution

Breaking the New Year’s Resolution Curse

It’s January 1st and many people across the United States are waking up, ready to start 2019 and decide it’s “time to make a new year’s resolution!” Whether it’s the decision to eat healthier, run the New York City marathon, give up chocolate, or connect more with family, we all start off the year energized and excited about the positive changes we are about to make in our lives. Yet, surveys have shown that only 8% of people actually achieve their resolutions*. So what happens?
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cognitive therapy

What is Cognitive Therapy?

Maybe a friend’s recommended it or you’ve read about it in the New York Times. What is cognitive therapy any way and what’s all the hype about? Cognitive Therapy was created by University of Pennsylvania psychiatrist Aaron Beck in the 1960s. At the time it was created, cognitive therapy marked a radical departure from the dominant therapy, namely psychoanalysis. Interestingly, Dr. Beck was in fact trained in psychoanalysis and developed cognitive therapy in the course of testing the psychoanalytic theory of depression—anger turned against the self. While interviewing depressed patients Dr. Beck observed distinctive thinking styles and thought patterns rather than self-directed anger...
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How old is old enough for therapy?

I’ve often been asked what age are the youngest children I work with. The common reaction when I say that I regularly see children as young as 3 is “3? What do you do for a kid that young?” I think the idea here is a that a 3-year-old does not even understand what therapy is and would not really be able to gain the kind of deep insight into their behaviors that people associate with therapy. However, children of any age can have disruptive behavior, anger, anxiety, and even, in rare cases, depression. ..
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The period after college graduation while searching for a job can be an aimless, frustrating time. For many, it can be challenging to lose the natural social network, activities, and purpose that life as a college student offers. After having relatively well-defined goals for the first 22 years or so of their lives, many feel lost without the comfort of their identity as a student. Frequent rejections from jobs can make young adults question the purpose of their degree and doubt their capabilities. Once starting a job, some young adults find it difficult to fit in self-care activities like exercise and seeing friends, no longer having the abundance of unstructured time that college life offers to take care of these needs. New “adulting” challenges arise, such as cooking for yourself instead of relying on a college cafeteria, and managing finances. Some struggle with organization and keeping up with deadlines without the resources and structure that homework and exam deadlines create...
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Why Couples Therapy May Be Right For You

“Why won’t you just go with the flow?” “You’re so disorganized!” “Why did we even get married?” Here’s a better question: How can couples therapy work for every couple? Let’s face it: sometimes, familiarity breeds contempt. The spontaneity that you used to love about your partner now feels like a great obstacle between you and a well-planned family vacation. The affection that you once craved now feels like suffocation—or worse—is completely absent. You’ve asked your partner to change, but conversations feel like accusations and promises go unfulfilled...
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cyber safety

Top 5 Cyber Safety Tips

For parents and professionals, keeping up with the changing technologies used by our kids can be an overwhelming task. As a result, when it comes to monitoring children’s use of tech and social media, parents are often drawn to one of two equally unappealing strategies: conflict or avoidance...
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How to Overcome Your Phobia and Get Out There!

Driving over a bridge. Joining the rooftop party. Having your blood drawn. Socializing If you avoid any of these situations or suffer through them with extreme discomfort, you might have a specific phobia. Many people develop fears of situations (e.g., being in a small space), objects (e.g., needles, dogs), or experiences (e.g., flying) that cause some impairment or discomfort in their daily life. When this fear becomes significant--so much so that one begins to avoid these things altogether or require medication to cope--behavioral therapy may offer a more effective, long-term solution...
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Overcoming Procrastination and Reaching Your Goals

Procrastination is a fairly universal experience, even among some of the most successful people I know. Whether demands placed on us by others or tasks in line with our personal objectives, we all have things that we want to avoid doing at times. However, some people seem to resign themselves to procrastination (i.e. “that’s just how I am”), and adjust their routines to accommodate these tendencies. Others may find that these habits are reinforced by the culture within their college setting or work environment. No matter the reason, over time procrastination can lead to increased stress, performing under our abilities, and interpersonal consequences...
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Overcoming Adolescent Anxiety

The most comprehensive national survey data suggest that 32% of adolescents (ages 13-18) have an anxiety disorder1. Social anxiety, symptoms of which can be visible as early as age 5, accounts for nearly half of these diagnoses, with 12.1% of adolescents meeting criteria2. Why then, do we hear so little about adolescent anxiety and why can it be so difficult to find resources and treatment options, especially groups?...
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mental well-being

Exercise and Your Mental Well-Being

Exercise is hard. Period. Even as an avid runner and yogi, I sometimes find myself groaning in the morning as my alarm goes off when the streets are still dark. But every day I choose to lace up my running shoes anyway. Some days, I feel great and ready to move. Other days, I feel less motivated and struggle to find my groove. Over the years, I've learned to listen to my body and accept what it tells me: occasionally, it tells me to slow down or rest, other times it tells me to pick up the pace or stay in a challenging yoga pose a few seconds longer. Either way, I can honestly say that I’ve never finished a workout and thought, “I wish I hadn’t exercised today...
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Introducing Organizational Skills Training: Targeted Individual Sessions and a Middle School Group

When I tell people I am an expert in organizational skills, I have a tendency to want to hide my desk from view. In reality, I am not the most organized person. Not everything in my office is color-coded or indexed. The truth is that for most people, having consistent organizational methods is not necessary all of the time. As long as you are able to get your work done efficiently and effectively, it is okay to have a messy desk. In fact, some research has shown that being in a somewhat cluttered environment can increase creativity...
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Community Night Workshop (September 7): How to Choose a Therapist: Child, Adolescent, and Family Treatment Options

Ever since childhood I knew I wanted to work with kids. Well, first I actually wanted to be a dolphin trainer, but soon after it was always something to do with children: a teacher, then a pediatric cardiologist, and finally a clinical child psychologist. Because I knew I wanted to specialize in treating kids and adolescents, I thought that once I was accepted into a doctoral program that specializes in this area I would have a pretty clear picture of the type of therapist I would become. This was not the case.
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Community Nights Workshop (August 2): Finding Focus

Finding Focus will offer resources and teach practical skills for those looking to reach their goals more effectively. As a clinical psychologist who specializes in working with college students, recent graduates, and those transitioning to the working world, I know how challenging it can be to feel in control of your work-flow. Managing time, staying organized, and maintaining concentration are crucial components of a productive lifestyle, but they don’t just happen overnight. This workshop is designed to help you build mastery of these skills as you define your goals and work to achieve them. You will learn to deal with distractions, reduce procrastination, and ultimately, find your focus...
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test anxiety

Community Nights Workshop (May 4, 2017): Helping a Student with Test Anxiety

Our upcoming workshop on Thursday, May 4, is Helping a Student with Test Anxiety. In my experience treating students of all ages in the New York City area, the ever-growing demands of middle and high school entrance exams, Regents exams, SATs, ACTs, and even typical classroom tests have presented an array of challenges, beyond the academic, for students and their families. The goal of this workshop is to provide parents with strategies they can use to help their children manage stress and build coping skills for school and test-related anxiety...
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Community Nights Workshop (April 6, 2017): Helping a Child on the Autism Spectrum Transition from Home to Independence

Our upcoming workshop on Thursday, April 6, is Helping a Child on the Autism Spectrum Transition from Home to Independence. The transition from high school to college is a critical period of psychological development in late adolescence. During this time, teens begin to establish independent lifestyles and adjust to the academic demands of college...
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Powerball as an Opportunity

In the wake of last week’s Powerball drawing, you’ve undoubtedly read or heard about the potential psychological hazards of Powerball. It preys on our delusional belief that the practically impossible from a statistical viewpoint could be possible for us. Then, we’re left reeling with the crushing disappointment of not winning or (more likely) the embarrassment at having played. I would like to suggest a different point of view: the Powerball is an opportunity. It’s a catalyst to begin acting more in keeping with your values and priorities NOW...
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