September 2017


Dear Subscribers and First-Time Readers,

The NJPA E-newsletter editorial staff is pleased to welcome you to Fall with our "Back to School" issue. This issue is full of helpful tips and information to prepare you and/or your child for the new school year. The first day of school can be exciting yet particularly challenging for a child attending school for the first time, transitioning from grade to middle school, high school to college, or who is new to the area altogether. Our contributors stress that such transitions can be especially daunting for a child, teen or young adult struggling with a learning disability or facing emotional challenges.  Parents can be equally overwhelmed, trying to balance work with family time and chores while lending support to their child heading off to school.  

Our current issue also includes a special feature, a film synopsis of "All the Rage," a movie depicting the psychological treatment of chronic pain.

We welcome hearing from our readers.  You can reach us via email at  [email protected] or [email protected].

Co-Chairs: Sue Breckwoldt, PhD & Allison Pastor, PhD

Back To School Worries
By Michael D. Zito, PhD

The beginning of school can be filled with excitement about new opportunities, friends, new clothes and school accessories. But for some, it is filled with worries that go beyond the normal disappointment that summer vacation has ended. School worries that become intense can develop into school phobia. School phobia starts with the child’s negative predictions and expectations about their school experience that manifest differently depending on the age. Anxious children tend to overestimate the negative possibilities so reality checking their concerns can be helpful. At times their worries can be due to a real problem, such as being bullied that should be checked out. read more...

Back to School with OCD
By Allen Weg, EdD

As with many kids who struggle with psychiatric disorders, summer is often a time when kids with OCD experience less symptoms, since the pressures from school and the squeeze of extracurricular activities are not present. School is back, however, and so symptoms may re-emerge. Here's a review of what to look for and what to do about it.

The Basics:
What IS OCD? Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, consists of mainly of two parts: intrusive thoughts, or "obsessions." These are worries that just seem to pop up into a person's head without any intention on the part of the person, and makes one very anxious and/or uncomfortable. Obsessions "happen to" people.

The second part of OCD is the "compulsions," also called, "rituals." The compulsion is something that the person thinks or does, or doesn't do and avoids, in order to control or reduce the anxiety produced by an obsession. The person "actively engages" in his or her compulsion to try to feel better.

How Common is it? While statistical reports vary somewhat, it is generally accepted that 1 in 200 children and adolescents have OCD.  This means that nearly all schools have at least a few children with OCD in their student body at any given time, and larger schools and college campuses may have dozens, or even scores of students.  read more...

College - A Time of Change
By Tamara Shulman, PhD, ABPP

College is idealized as “the best time in life” and it does offer wonderful opportunities for intellectual, social and emotional growth as well as for fun. The glowing descriptions can gloss over the huge developmental changes and many challenges the typical freshman will face.  
New friends, weekend parties, sports, clubs, dating, and interesting classes beckon. Less talked about are possible feelings of being homesick, anxiety, roommate problems, time management, and other adjustment issues.  It can help to approach college realistically. Likely there will be good times, good people and good classes. But, there will also be stressful times, people you may not like, people who may not like you, and classes you can’t wait to finish.

As exciting as it may be to have all these changes, it is also often stressful to go from familiar surroundings and routines to something very new and somewhat less structured.  Back to school time was always an adjustment, but going away to college for the first time brings a whole new stage of life.

For students with learning disabilities, ADD or other learning issues, adjustment has some special challenges. In high school, the teachers, learning specialists, and parents were involved in helping you get the accommodations you may have needed. In college, self-advocacy is essential!  Now, whether it is a set of notes, outlines, or PowerPoints, extended time for tests, special tutors, and other support services, you will need to make sure to provide the necessary documents to professors and get yourself to all special or support services. read more...

Tips for a Balanced Lifestyle
Nicole J. Rafanello, PhD

Family, friends, work, school, health, and well-being.  How do you balance it all?  It’s all very important, to a greater or lesser degree but how can one possibly manage a plate that’s so full?  Moderation and knowing yourself/what you want can help you to find a path that is balanced.  This will in turn lead to well-being and happiness.  We all know what we look and feel like when we are overworked, stressed, and burnt out.  But, do we know what balanced, healthy, and happy looks like?  If not, it serves to follow that we can’t achieve that balance until we know what that would look like for each of us.  This requires identifying our values and what we imagine our “balanced, satisfying lifestyle” might look like.  Here are two exercises to help you identify this:

1.    Imagine you could fast-forward to 5 years from now and look at your ideal life.  What would it look like?  How much time would you be working, playing, and taking care of your health?  What would you be doing that you are not doing now?  What do you wish you wouldn’t be doing?

2.    Another, albeit more macabre, way to look at this is to ask yourself, if you died and someone was eulogizing you, what would you hope they would say about your life and what would you hope they would not say?  The things you hope they might say about your life are the things you value.   And what you hope they won’t say are the “issues” or things you need to address in your life.  This can help you identify what’s really important to you and what you want in life.  read more...

35th Annual Autism Conference
Autism New Jersey
10/19-20, 2017; 9:00 am – 4:00 pm; Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center, Atlantic City

Join more than 1,200 professionals and caregivers for the latest evidence-based information necessary for supporting individuals with ASD. Practical strategies for learners of all ages regarding social skills, communication, challenging behavior, special education law and advocacy, maximizing services, and more will be presented by renowned experts. With 70 workshop choices and an anticipated 100 exhibitors, both families and professionals who are new to autism or very experienced should find specialized information to enhance their understanding. Autism New Jersey is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. More information here

In This Issue...

Back To School Worries
Back To School With OCD
College - A Time of Change

More Articles

5 Strategies to Help Prepare Children with Learning Differences for College

By, Michelle Miller, PsyD

Friendship Challenges of Children With ADHD

by, Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD

Dealing with the back-to-school blues?

By the American Psychological Association

Ready for Change?  Prepare Your Family to Face Transitions Gracefully

by Marianne Herzog, PhD


Disclaimer:Publication of an advertisement or announcement does not imply approval or endorsement of the advertiser, the product, the service being advertised or announced, nor does it represent the position of the New Jersey Psychological Association.

Movie Synopsis:
All The Rage

By Jeffrey Axelbank, PsyD

“Oh, my aching back!” stops here…

The numbers are staggering: over 100 million people in the US affected by chronic pain, with estimates of the annual cost of treatments ranging from $50 billion to $200 billion.  And this doesn’t even include the cost of lost work time, or the disruptions to families, not to mention the impact of pain on peoples’ lives and happiness.  And yet the treatments we have - surgery, various injections, and opioids - don’t work very well and have serious risks and side effects, including being a primary cause of the current opioid epidemic. read more...

Dr. Nicole Rafanello is pleased to host the Bottles & Badges First Responder Group of Alcoholics Anonymous at her office in Morristown, NJ starting this fall. The group is free and open exclusively to both active and retired police, sheriff, correction officers, and firefighters who have a desire to stop their drinking or drug use. If you think you have a problem with alcohol or drugs, you are welcome to attend.  The meetings are confidential and not affiliated with any public safety department or treatment facility.
For more information please contact Tyrone at 973-573-9694, or Jim Schneider at 908-380-7422.

Books For Children

From AIDS to Zika, New Books Teach Kids About Conditions.  Whether Crohn's disease, lactose intolerance, or childhood depression, a growing number of children books feature diseases and ailments as their subjects.
Find list of books here...

From the desk of the editors-in-chief
We value hearing from our readers. Please contact us through email with questions or comments.  Happy Fall from the E-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

Read our contributor's bios for more information about their expertise.

Fall Conference Sponsorships Are Available!


Speakers Bureau

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