Red Bank Psychological Services Blog
Our thoughts on mental health therapy, neuropsychology, and more.
While it has not been an easy Spring for riding bicycles or walking the boardwalk, there have been many good days to curl up with a good book. My colleagues and I are here to help you hold out until Summer with some titles we recommend. Some are heavier than others, but they are all intriguing...
Staring at the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death is written by a therapist, Irvin D. Yalom, who treats therapists. Yalom, in his 80’s, deals with his own mortality, his clients’, and his clients’ issues with their own mortality. Very clear, kind, and insightful guidance are rendered in Yalom’s sensitive and intelligent words. You can connect with Tom Magnus, LPC.
The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg is worth reading. Although I can’t take credit for the impetus to read the book (I credit my local book club), Berg is one of my favorite writers. She often writes about the families we build in non traditional ways. This book is no exception. It’s short, lovely, and reminds you what you love about people. You can connect with Liz Walter, LCSW.
The Fourth Trimester by Kimberly Ann Johnson is an excellent guide for women postpartum, including those with Perinatal Mood Disorders and birth trauma. It examines postpartum healing on physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual levels. As a social worker, I am always looking at the "person in environment" and providing treatment that is holistic. This book fits the bill. You can connect with Geraldine "Gerry" Viggiani, LCSW, LCADC, PMH-C.
A favorite book is "When things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times" by Pema Chodron. It is about facing difficulties in life, regardless of what those difficulties are. It is written from a Buddhist point of view. I actually prefer the audio book version which is read by Pema Chodron herself. You can connect with Marcella DiFedele, MS, LCSW.
The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van der Kolk, MD, a renowned trauma expert, talks about how trauma reshapes both the brain and the body. Trauma gets trapped in our memories and our bodies, and manifests in a physical way. Van der Kolk explains how body-brain therapies such as EMDR and yoga can activate the body's ability to heal trauma. The body is everything in healing! Some clients with eating disorders struggle with a history of trauma and use their symptoms to cope with unwanted thoughts, feelings, or body sensations. By becoming attuned to how the body manifests trauma, we can better heal the way the brain regulates the body. You can connect with Kimberly Kahn, LCSW.
Several of my clients right now are grasping with the same issue. Their romantic relationships seem to have more struggles and fewer cuddles than they did when they first began. My clients are trying to figure out if these conflicts are simply growing pains, and a normal part of a long-term relationship, or if they are deal breakers, and should pave the way to an exit. What one should do, of course, is not a question that any therapist can answer for you. However, therapists can help you gain clarity, support, and confidence when making a decision.
So what are some of the serious signs of a romance going South? I agree with the author in this Time magazine article, How to Know When it's Time to Let Go of Someone You Love who points to these signs that it may be a no-go:
One of the most common reasons my clients give for staying in a relationship that is not working well is because they are afraid to be alone. Most of the time, this fear is unfounded. Why? Because after a grieving period after a break-up, there is typically a feeling a relief and renewal when one regains freedom and "gets back out there".
Dayna Stein, MST, MSW, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker in a Red Bank, NJ private practice and part-owner of Red Bank Psychological Services. She works with clients who are feeling stuck and has current openings in her schedule.
Have you been referred to a psychologist by a school or medical professional because it’s suspected that your child may have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder? I’ve noticed in my private practice how confused and overwhelmed caregivers can get when faced with this task. When they initially contact my Red Bank, New Jersey office, they are unsure about what an evaluation will entail and what kinds of useful information it will uncover. Below are 5 valuable and frequently asked questions parents ask in their first phone call or initial visit to me.
1) What exactly happens during an evaluation For ADHD?
A child neuropsychological examination should be comprehensive and extend over the course of several visits. That means the examiner over a period of time will want to meet with at least one parent or guardian, the child, review medical and school records, interview a teacher, and conduct a wide variety of intellectual, academic, cognitive, psychological, and social assessments. All testing data, should be scored and statistically compared to other children or adolescents your child’s age.
2) What are the tests like?
Kids engage with the tests using an iPad. This tool speeds up the comprehensive process and provides accurate results. The tests themselves present a wide variety of tasks ranging from visual and verbal attention to reading comprehension. For most, testing begins at an easy level and becomes more challenging as the child progresses.
3) Why is about six hours of testing necessary?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is challenging to correctly assess and cannot be accomplished through simple observation. Also, children and adolescents with ADHD are very likely to have a second or even third diagnosis that includes additional types of learning disabilities, anxiety, and/or depression that all can impact school and social functioning. In order to boost the child’s academic and social functioning, other diagnoses must be identified or ruled out.
4) Who will do the actual testing?
Dr. Stein. In addition to the data gathered through interviews and the iPad, he takes this opportunity to observe and gain insightful information about the student. He gets first hand observations of how the child problem-solves challenging test items and handles frustration. By the end of testing and observation, he learns about the child’s personality very well and is able to comment on other important aspects that may impact academic functioning such as anxiety, impulsivity, or inattentiveness.
5) What happens once testing is completed?
After the assessment procedures are finalized and the data has been analyzed, Dr. Stein writes a detailed report, about 12 pages long, regarding the child’s medical, social, and academic history. The report will also describe the child’s intellectual, academic, and psychological functioning in terms of strengths and weaknesses. Dr. Stein provides an accurate diagnosis or diagnoses, and most importantly, recommendations for treatment and academic interventions. The report is easy for parents and guardians, teachers, and other healthcare professionals to read and understand. The report can also be used as a baseline measure to the effectiveness of both academic and treatment interventions and/or for a school Individual Educational Plan.
If you think your child or teen would benefit from a psychological evaluation for ADHD, or a learning disability, please call me at my Red Bank, NJ office at 732-747-8818 for a free 15-minute consultation where we can decide together if making an appointment is the right move.
Obtaining psychological clearance before you begin a trial period of spinal cord stimulation is routine, but many people are unsure about why this is such an important step.
Spinal cord stimulation uses electrical current to minimize the feeling of pain reaching the brain. It involves insertion of small devices in the area around the spinal canal, which send the current when activated.
Following are a few common questions people ask about the required screening session with a neuropsychologist and how the results can be used to help meet your needs.
Q: Does a referral to a neuropsychologist mean my surgeon thinks I’m crazy or will go crazy after the stimulator placement?
A: No, but not everyone responds well psychologically when a foreign device is implanted into their body. For some, the stimulator can cause an increase in worry and anxiety. Unfortunately, this stress can reduce the effectiveness of the simulator placement. In part, the pre-surgical clearance examination helps your physician prepare you for the procedure and make recommendations to help you adjust to this new part of your body.
Q: What happens during the pre-surgical psychological examination?
A: Sometimes patients who have never met with a psychologist before get anxious about the initial visit. Knowing what to expect can help decrease worry. Typically, the examination consists of a conversation between you and the psychologist about your medical history, including your chronic pain struggles. It also involves a social history, family history, information about previous alcohol or substance use, and what kind of psychological treatment you may have had in the past.
Q: What if I am depressed or anxious? Will that stop me from having the stimulator placement?
A: No. In fact, chronic pain patients are much more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety than the general public. It is typical and expected that people living with chronic pain will have high levels of irritability, anxiety, and depression.Also, pain relief often helps decrease depression and anxiety. If you are struggling with depression and/or anxiety, the pre-surgical clearance evaluation will offer recommendations to help diminish these feelings.
Q: Can the psychologist make other recommendations besides the stimulator?
A: Yes. The psychologist can be a valuable member of your pain management team. Many people find that alternative or complementary treatments, such as biofeedback and mindfulness approaches, can be helpful in helping manage chronic pain. Psychologists can guide people in these therapies as well as provide traditional psychological counseling.
Q: How long is the appointment and can the screening usually be done in a single appointment?
A: Typically, an evaluation takes two hours and—depending on your insurance—can be done in one appointment. Following the evaluation, the results are shared with you and your physician.
Q: Are most people cleared to proceed with spinal cord stimulation?:
A: While most people are cleared to have the trial placement of the stimulator, a small number of people are not. Those who are experiencing hallucinations, delusions, and cannot understand and follow post-operational directions should not have a stimulator. Instead, complementary and holistic interventions such as mindfulness, cognitive-behavioral therapy, or biofeedback may be a more effective option for pain management.
If you have any questions, feel free to call me in my Red Bank, NJ office at 732-747-8818.
Five Ways to Escape Falling Prey To The Anger Trap - Here's Dr. Stein's take in "The Good Men Project" on how to reduce your anger.