September 2020


Dear Subscribers and First-Time Readers,

Welcome to our Fall 2020 edition of the New Jersey Psychological Association (NJPA) E-Newsletter! The NJPA E-Newsletter is published on a quarterly basis to provide the public with information about psychology, the practice of psychology, and the importance of mental health in furtherance of our NJPA mission: The advancement of psychology as a science, as a profession, and as a means of promoting health and human welfare in an atmosphere that supports the diversity of its members and the society at large.

We are still navigating through challenging times and the CoVID-19 crisis, having to make difficult decisions and changes to our everyday lives that we could not have imagined a year ago. NJPA continues to be here for you! We are hopeful that this edition will help provide continued support to you as we enter into the school year and a new season.

It is my hope that you and your families continue to stay safe and healthy. If you are in need of a psychologist, please make use of the NJPA referral service for licensed psychologist here.

Note: We are planning our future editions of the NJPA E-Newsletter. I would like to hear from you, our readers. What topics would you like to potentially have covered in an upcoming edition? Share your thoughts here.

Nikki Lacherza-Drew, PsyD
NJPA E-Newsletter Editor


How Do We Safely Transition Out of Quarantine?
By Matt Berman, MA, LPC

As restrictions surrounding COVID-19 have started to be relaxed, there has been a combination of feelings. Excitement that we can finally get out of our homes more. Anticipation to stroll around local parks and lie out on the beach. And relief that possibly things will start to return to normal (or some kind of new normal).

However, with all of these feelings of excitement and relief, comes feelings of worry, fear, hesitancy, and reluctance. Many clients are expressing a mix of thoughts about how much they miss being with their friends and family and wanting to have some semblance of a summer, including BBQs and days at the beach. These thoughts have been happening alongside thoughts such as “Maybe this is too soon.” “How do I know I can be safe?” “How do I know I can help keep my family safe when I visit them?” “Are the stores and restaurants I want to go to going to take the necessary precautions?” “How can I feel comfortable going out and being around people
again?” 

By, Matt Berman, MA, LPC

How many nights in the past month have you struggled to get to sleep? How many of those nights were you up thinking about several things that you were unable to change at that moment? Several factors can affect how well and for how long you sleep at night. These can be unhealthy habits before sleep, such as watching Netflix way too late because you want to finish “just one more episode,” poor eating habits, lack of physical activity throughout the day, and your age.

Medical issues can also be one of the causes, which is why it’s important to rule out any other possible reasons. However, if you tend to feel keyed up during the day, restless, find your mind wandering when you are trying to focus on that Zoom meeting for work, or can’t stop reading articles about COVID-19, stress and anxiety may be a likely culprit.  read more...

Helping Your Child Become a Good Student – and a Good Person
By, Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD

In an effort to encourage their child to be a good student, parents frequently lose focus on the larger goal of helping them to become the best person they can be. Instead, while helping your child become a good student, be sure to also provide the guidance and nurturance they need to grow into happier and more successful beings.

Along the way, you can help them grow by encouraging them to explore their interests in school, as well as out in the greater world. It is essential that your guidance does not turn into pushing them to pursue a life that fails to match who they are as an individual. A child who is a naturally talented artist can learn to pursue mathematics, but doing so by tamping down their creativity can squash their sense of themselves. An energetic and athletic child may forgo sports to hunker
down and study for honors classes, but they will need to suppress and deny a part of themselves.  Parents need to be aware that children, who go against their true nature, will suffer from it.  read more...

Important mental health factors post trauma in returning to school
By Alexandra Gil, MA & Chelsea Torres, MA, LPC

The return, after what feels like an eternity, may be igniting mixed feelings of excitement and anxiety for children everywhere. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention

(CDC) has outlined considerations for schools to supplement state and local guidelines in order to ensure a safe and healthy start to the school year.

Social support is instrumental in securing a positive response to trauma and stress caused by the pandemic. Given the lack of peer support and relationship bonding due to COVID-19, it is imperative that positive attachment and bonding techniques are considered for implementation throughout the school day. Trauma-informed mental health supports are crucial in optimizing the academic environment.  read more...

The Importance of Attending to and Enhancing Relationships Between Stakeholders During School Re-Opening: Saying and Hearing Everything
By, Steven Korner, PhD

The basic psychological principles of saying everything, willingness to listen to everything, joining, and sustaining/building relationships apply even more than usual during the COVID period. With so much uncertainty, Margaret Wheatley (2004) points toward the possibility “…to prepare for the future without knowing what it will be. The primary way to prepare for the unknown is to attend to the quality of our relationships, to how well we know and trust one another (”

The above is not trite nor is it a “touchy/feely” statement. In order to navigate the
complexities, unknowns, and pitfalls of returning to school, the first step is to take a reality check on the status of our relationships with each other. Why is this important? Without strong, trusting relationships, how can we engage in dialogues with one another that are meaningful and give us a sense of safety and security? We begin by initiating with stakeholders, faculty, teachers, parents, and community leaders, a process of listening to what each has to say about their experiences thus far with virtual learning during COVID and what they would like to see going forward. Through surveys or focus groups, the following questions should be posed:  read more...

The New Normal in Psychotherapy: Why Telehealth is as Good or Better than In-Person Therapy
By Janie Feldman, PsyD

Why is telehealth or online video-therapy as good or better than in-person therapy? Psychotherapy is a profoundly impactful psychological/behavioral intervention in which the psychologist or therapist engages people in highly specified talk therapies to empower these individuals to improve their moods, overcome emotional obstacles, and manage feelings and relationships in more adaptive, healthier, or more productive manners. Providing therapy online is familiar to quite a few therapists and has grown in popularity over the years. It is especially helpful to students transitioning to college life or people in therapy who go away on vacation and want to continue their therapy. But starting in mid to late March of 2020, most psychologists and therapists moved their entire practices online due to the mandates to stay home during the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

With telehealth, psychologists and therapists have been able to continue providing therapy without any gaps, issues, or inconvenience. We can see the same individuals, children through adults, couples, families, and even groups, just like before the pandemic. We conduct therapy in the comfort and privacy of people’s homes, backyards, or offices. So what’s really different? read more...

Using a Proactive Approach to Build Resiliency
By, Bill MacLaney, PsyD

With the summer ending and back to school just around the corner, it is a good time to take a look at your child to see how much he or she has grown, not just physically, intellectually, socially, and emotionally, but also in terms of resilience. Simply put, resilience refers to a set of skills and characteristics that allows individuals to adjust and cope effectively with life’s challenges. Children and adolescents who are resilient believe in the ability to affect their life’s
course and are better able to adapt to challenging situations and bounce back after experiencing difficulties and hardships.

Resiliency is a skill that can be instilled in one’s child through a proactive approach. Teaching your child to set realistic goals, problem solving, thinking optimistically, and building a positive sense of self can foster proactive coping skills leading to a more resilient child.  read more...

Additional Article of Interest

Reopening New Jersey and its Schools:  Psychological Perspectives and What Parents/Guardians and the Rest of Us Need to Know About the "New Normal" 
by William F. Walsh, PhD

Find a Psychologist

Looking for someone to talk to?  Our Find a Psychologist search engine will help you locate a psychologist in your area!  Looking for: a psychologist with a specific area of expertise?  One who accepts your insurance?  Has a foreign language proficiency?  Enter your criteria here to find a licensed psychologist near you!.


As the news about the threat and risks of the Coronavirus are spreading, we would like to share some resources with all of you: From the CDC information on the virus, highlights, risks, precautions, etc. | Tips to help with Coronavirus Anxiety: Five Ways to View Coverage of the Coronavirus | Podcast with Baruch Fischhoff, PhD on how to calm the anxiety and the psychological effects of being quarantined. Speaking of Psychology: Coronavirus Anxiety   

Speaking of Psychology: Why is COVID-19 Disproportionately Affecting Black and Latino Americans with Brian Smedley, PhD

Editor in Chief:
Nikki Lacherza-Drew, PsyD

Staff Editors:
Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD 
Susanne Breckwoldt, PhD
Marianne Dunn, PhD
Janie Feldman, PsyD
Resa Fogel, PhD
Alison Johnson, PsyD
Amy Mueller, PsyD
Michael Zito, PhD 

Office space

Newly renovated office space for rent in Allendale NJ. They are in a great location, in the Allendale Professional Building. They are ideal for psychologists. The walls are new, with soundproofing insulation between them, new carpeting, and an ADA compliant handicap bathroom. Offices are approximately 110 sq. feet, $600 per month, utilities included. There is a shared waiting area, and no common charges or brokers fee. Contact William Cummings at [email protected] (917) 531-7536. 1 De Mercurio Drive, Allendale NJ.

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