March 2017

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In This Issue...

1. Integrating Mind/Body Work with CBT and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
2. Is Anxiety Stressing You Out? Neurofeedback to Calm Your Nerves
3. Therapeutic Value of Pets: Finding Love in Our Furry Friends
4. The Head, Heart, and Soul in Psychotherapy
What If Your Solution Is A Horse!  Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Learning
6. Botox: a Mask for Hiding Our Emotions – from Ourselves?
An Interview with Michael Zito, PhD:  Clinical, Sport, and Performance Psychology
8. Additonal Articles From the American Psychological Association
9. Spring Word Puzzle!
10. Announcements

The Mind/Body Connection in Psychology
by Sue Breckwoldt PhD, Co-Editor-in-Chief

As we start to thaw out from the long winter, many of us look forward to spending more time outdoors. For some of us this might mean becoming more physically active, walking, hiking, running, sailing, rafting, biking, horseback riding, playing golf or tennis, or participating in a team sport.  Many research studies have linked exercise to emotional health and well-being (Weir, K.,2011).  The positive effects of physical exercise point to the importance of the mind body connection, the topic being explored in our current newsletter edition.

What is the Mind/Body Connection?
Simply put, the mind/body connection is all about how our thoughts, attitudes, emotions, spiritual practices, and behavior can impact our physical health in either a positive or negative way.  We all know that exercise and a healthy diet can help us stay physically well, but what about the mind part of the mind/body connection?  Our spring newsletter contributors write about many different ways in which psychological well-being can influence our physical health and how healthy physical behavior can contribute to psychological wellness.  The newsletter editors invite your questions and comments. Please address questions and comments to us at the email addresses provided below.

Wishing you psychological and physical wellness,
The NJPA E-Newsletter editors and staff

Weir, K. (Dec.2012)  The exercise effect. Monitor on Psychology, 42 (11),  p. 48.
Retrieved from:

Integrating Mind/Body Work with CBT and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
By Tamara Shulman, PhD ABPP Many of my patients are struggling with stress, anxiety, and depression. Some are adjusting to significant physical illnesses, losses or other life transitions. I want my office to be a calm place where they can feel comfortable talking about these challenges.  It is still difficult for them to talk about painful experiences. People may be fidgety but I usually hear nice things about the office being relaxing and comfortable.   By discussing two case studies, I hope to highlight how an integrated approach using the multiple modalities available through mind/body, CBT, and psychodynamic psychotherapy can help patients experiencing widely different issues.  Names and personal details have been changed to protect the privacy of the patients.

When I first met Stacy (of course this is not her real name) she could barely sit on my couch. She found it too soft or too hard, the lighting too dim or too bright, and noisy even though it is well soundproofed and does not face the street or a noisy parking lot. Many patients might react to an occasional passing fire truck, or even a phone ringing outside in the reception area, but Stacy was startled by a distant car horn, a small object dropped in a nearby room - the slightest sound.  She twitched and then hugged herself when the fan in the ceiling vents turned on and off. She manages to travel by car, bus and even subway but in my office, in touch with her feelings and able to react freely, she was excessively sensitive. read more...

Is Anxiety Stressing You Out? Neurofeedback to Calm Your Nerves
By Jennifer Carlson, PsyD, Caroline Spearman, PsyD, & Lily Spost, PsyD
The COR Group

Did you know?
Everyone experiences some form of anxiety at some point in life. Evolutionarily, it is a necessary and adaptive feature for survival. A certain level of anxiety can help raise our arousal levels so that we are able to appropriately respond in high stress situations. However, when anxiety symptoms become so overwhelming that they interfere with our daily functioning, an anxiety disorder may be the source.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. In fact, 28.8% of adults and 31.9% of adolescents qualify for an anxiety disorder diagnosis at some point in their lifetime (Kessler et al., 2005; Merikangas et al., 2010).  This includes individuals with a severe diagnosis who are unable to engage in daily life activities, people with more mild symptoms who can participate in daily events yet struggle with racing thoughts and physical over arousal, and even more individuals that have difficulty sleeping and are seemingly unable to shut off their brains. Do any of these examples sound like you or someone you know?

Of the adults diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, less than 50% of them are receiving treatment (Wang et al., 2005).  Perhaps just as concerning is that of these individuals receiving treatment, less than half of them are only receiving minimally adequate treatment (Wang et al., 2005).  So this begs the question, what do we do about all of the individuals out there unable to sleep, shut off their brains, or enjoy life due to untreated anxiety symptoms?  That’s where neurofeedback comes in.  read more...

Therapeutic Value of Pets: Finding Love in Our Furry Friends
By Janie Feldman, PsyD

Ever notice that pet lovers tend to really love their pets? It’s as though they love them as much – or more – as some family members. This is not uncommon, for many dog and cat owners do have a very strong emotional bond with their feline and canine family members. There are really good reasons for this special kind of love affair.

Physical benefits. For one thing, there are physical benefits to having a furry friend in your life. Having a dog promotes walking, jogging, hiking, and just being outdoors with your pup – all of which have well known benefits. When you pet your pet, you can almost feel yourself relaxing as the stress melts away with every touch. In addition, having pets lowers blood pressure, and can lower your risk for heart attack and stroke. Furthermore, having cats and dogs in your home will increase your immunity as well as lower your risk for developing allergies.

Social benefits. There are also social benefits to having dogs and cats. Having these pets, especially walking dogs, serves as instant ice breakers. People often approach others when they have their pets with them. Greeting someone else’s pet serves as a great conversation starter. Not only does having a pet bring companionship between you and your pet, there can be an increase in togetherness in the family over bonding with the animal in your home. Your cats and dogs can be the topic of conversation, shared activities, and chores that can build independence and responsibility in your children. Having Fluffy or Fido gives parents the opportunity to model caring behaviors, enabling children to learn how to care for others. 

The Head, Heart, and Soul in Psychotherapy
By Charles Dodgen, PhD

In the nursing home where I provide services, I do not think it possible to overestimate the importance of spirituality (expressed through religious practice or more informally) in the maintenance of the well-being of its residents.  My observations have brought me to the conclusion that individuals who routinely engage in spiritual activities (whether through prayer, meditation, or other value-laden practices) receive benefits of enhanced meaning, and reduced loneliness and suffering.  And, I have asked myself, if such activities are beneficial for the elderly or disabled, why not for others?  Must we “hit bottom” and be humbled in some way before we recognize the value of attention to matters of spirit?  Simply put, one undeniable lesson from my nursing home work which applies to all of us is that we would be hard-pressed to find any down-side to meditating, praying, practicing gratitude, providing service for others, attending a religious service, or admiring nature.  Such behaviors appear to only be advantageous and we would be well advised to engage in them in the same way we employ other healthy habits relating to nutrition and hygiene.  read more...

What If Your Solution Is A Horse!
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Learning
By Alison Johnson, PsyD
Director, Summit Psychological Services PA

Throughout history, we have seen the benefits of  having our equine partners around, assisting in labor and transportation.  Now they have a new role in supporting human beings. In the last twenty years or more Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) and Learning (EAL) have become legitimate techniques, guided by professional organizations that regulate the practice and set the standards for training.  There is also a growing body of research to support what has been a felt sense of the obvious to those of us who work with horses … that our four-legged therapists can help people in profound and unique ways. Recognized as a state-of-the art technique for psychotherapy and learning, the use of horses to assist people is increasing in leaps and bounds (pun intended!)  

Who can benefit?

The short answer is pretty much everyone.  The equine therapy team consists of a certified psychotherapist, horse specialist, and horse(s); no riding is necessary. During each session the therapist is monitoring the interactions for metaphors and avenues for exploration and learning, while the horse expert is watching the horses for their reactions and changes in behavior also.  Safety of the client is paramount – both physical and emotional.  read more...

Botox: a Mask for Hiding Our Emotions – from Ourselves?
By Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD

As the mass of baby boomers age, it seems our society as whole becomes even more obsessed with holding onto youth, at all cost. Who’d even heard of ‘E.D.’ during the rocking ‘60s? But in our fixation with finding the fountain of youth, we might be facing some unintended consequences as we tone our abs and smooth our wrinkles.

A couple of psychological studies addressed the effects of a particular use of Botox, one of the prime weapons in the war against the calendar. The studies concerned a current theory in psychology called the “facial feedback” hypothesis. It holds that people rely on a feedback loop to recognize their own emotions; “reading” the feelings of their own facial expressions helps them to recognize that they are experiencing a particular emotion. So, for example, people frown because they are sad. But they also feel the sadness more fully and completely because they are frowning.

A study, conducted in 2010 by David Havis, looked at 40 people whose foreheads were injected with Botox; thus deactivating a pair of muscles that cause brow-wrinkling frowns. One result? The subjects were slower to understand sad and angry written statements. A vital element in their emotion-recognition feedback loop had been removed, impairing their ability to experience their emotions as fully as they had before the injections. The results of this study were confirmed by another study, conducted in 2011 by David Neal and Tanya Chartrand. The results of this research showed that Botox injections significantly impaired subjects’ ability to perceive emotions accurately.  read more...

An Interview with Michael Zito, PhD
Clinical, Sport, and Performance Psychology
Interviewed by Lynn Schiller, PhD

How does stress manifest itself in children’s sports?

Stress can come from trying to figure out if your child should play on the select team and/or elite level leagues and the corresponding travel demands. To reduce stress, it is important to keep sports in perspective. According to the NCAA, 95% of high school athletes end their competitive sport careers in high school. This means that for the vast majority of children, sports is not about playing in college and beyond. For most children it is about fun, sense of belonging, source of identity, enjoyment of physical activity, socialization, and self-esteem development by improving skills.  Parent-child and coach-athlete interactions can create stress. There are some parents and coaches that put too much pressure on kids or provide harsh feedback that is counterproductive.  

How important is winning in sports endeavors?

While kids enjoy winning, it is not the main reason why they play sports. Winning can sometimes become more about the coach and the parents and less about the child.
The field of sport psychology has studied why children play sports. The research clearly indicates that the number one reason why kids play sports is to have FUN- not to win. When a sport stops being FUN, children stop playing the sport.  read more...

Additonal Articles From the American Psychological Association

Managing Stress for a Healthy Family

Managing Chronic Pain:  How Psychologists Can Help With Pain Management

For Fun!

Download the Spring Edition of our Word Search Puzzle!


From the desk of Janie Feldman PsyD,
New Jersey Psychological Association Public Education Coordinator

Currently, NJPA’s Public Education Campaign (PEC) is gearing up to launch its own YouTube Channel. Watch for more information on this exciting new venture which should be posting sometime in May. The PEC has Outreach activities that put psychologists in public view for presentations at health fairs, on TV and radio for interviews and commentary, and offering informative workshops. A PEC activity that brings very positive recognition to NJPA is the Healthy Workplace Award, where NJPA recognizes organizations for having especially healthy environments from a psychological point of view. A new PEC endeavor is to bring psychology to our state legislators for an informal social event such as a brunch or cocktail hour. The PEC hopes to help our representatives recognize the value of psychology in the community. And this e-newsletter is one of the most visible and well regarded PEC initiatives. So thanks for reading and please subscribe to this e-newsletter and also share it with colleagues, friends and family.

Highland Park:

Lone Soldiers Support Group. This group is for parents of “Lone Soldiers,” young men and women from outside of Israeli who volunteer to serve in the Israel Defense Force.  Lone Soldiers was formed by parents during the summer of 2014, when Israel and Gaza were engaged in fighting. It was created for parents to come together to talk about their concerns and anxieties regarding their children’s safety.  Lone Soldiers , which is facilitated by Highland Park psychologist Dr. Elissa Rozov, meets on the second Monday of each month at Highland Park Conservative Temple, 201 S. Third Ave, Highland Park.  It is not affiliated with any established non-profit organization.

Bergen County:

CHADD: Support and Information for Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Schedule Spring 2017
Location: Valley Hospital, 223 N. Van Dien Ave, Ridgewood, NJ

Monday, April 3rd; 8:00 - 9:15pm - Creating Agreement: Creating parent-professional collaboration in the IFSP or IEP process.  Best practices to create agreement, address power Imbalances and implement cultural reciprocity.   Dawn Monoco, from SPAN (Statewide Parent Advocacy Network) [email protected]  

*NEW* 2 Groups Monday, April 17th7:30 – 8:30 pm - Support Group Meeting (meeting at “The Terrace”)  Discussion for parents, Catherine O’Sullivan, PsyD, facilitator; Discussion for adults with ADHD, Ellen J. Schwartz, PhD, facilitator

Monday, May 1st; 8:00-9:15 - ADHD and Dyslexia:  What’s the connection?
Jane Healey, Ph.D. Pediatric Neuropsychologist, Ridgewood, NJ, Lecturer, Center for Dyslexia Studies, FDU

*NEW* 2 Groups Monday May 15; 7:30 – 8:30 pm - Support Group Meetings (meeting at “The Terrace”)  Discussion for parents, Catherine O’Sullivan, PsyD, facilitator;  Discussion for adults with ADHD, Ellen J. Schwartz, PhD, facilitator

From the desk of the editors-in-chief
We value hearing from our readers. Please contact us through email with questions or comments.  Happy Spring from the newsletter editorial staff!

Editors in Chief:
Allison Dorlen-Pastor, PhD
Susanne Breckwoldt, PhD

Staff Editors:
Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD
Margaret DeLong, PsyD
Janie Feldman, PsyD
Marianne Herzog, PhD
Michelle Miller, PsyD
Lynn Schiller, PhD
Michael Zito, PhD
Find more information on our contributors here.

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