Special Edition on How a Psychologist Can Help
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NJPA E-Newsletter

Fall 2015
How A Psychologist Can Help and
How to Find One Who Can

Welcome to our fall 2015 edition of our e-newsletter!
Following what, for some, are the “lazy days of summer,” the fall season often brings a return to greater commitments and responsibilities, be they school or work-related, or tackling new or unfinished projects.  Returning to a focus on being productive in these ways can bring the realization that you face particular challenges with accomplishing desired goals that you may have noticed previously, but are now bothering you more than before.  The concerns may be parenting difficulties, marital discord, academic struggles, depressed mood, or a life transition such as going off to college for the first time or starting a new business.

These are all concerns that can be addressed by working with a psychologist, but calling one for assistance does not always come to mind as a possible course of action.  The process of finding a psychologist can often feel overwhelming and confusing and can seem particularly daunting for someone who is seeking help for the first time.

This issue’s focus is on just that—descriptions of what psychologists do; how to tell when seeking help from a psychologist would be of benefit to you or your child, and what questions to ask when choosing a psychologist.  There are also articles addressing common misconceptions about therapy, common barriers to seeking treatment, and what the process of therapy is like.

Thank you for taking the time to read these articles, written by practicing New Jersey psychologists.  We welcome your comments and feedback.  Please do not hesitate to
write to the E-Newsletter Committee.

With best wishes,
The E-Newsletter Staff
Who Is Therapy For?
By Laurie Appel, PsyD

I was talking to a mentor years ago about someone driving me crazy and suggested that person needed to resolve her issues.  He replied if they're driving you crazy, then you're the one with the problem.

Most people come to therapy in order to change someone else. Though they may not say it, the implicit expectation is that the psychologist has the power to make the client's child or spouse or coworker or in-laws change their ways. This rarely works.  An outsider has far less influence on a client's family and friends than the client does.

The actual role of therapy is to look at how your own behavior influences those around you and to explore the power you actually have to change your reactions, actions and roles in relationships.  This may mean becoming a better limit setter with your kids, appreciating your spouse for the reasons you married him/her, or taking risks and asserting yourself with others.
So, You Feel Pretty Bad and You are Considering Seeking Therapy, but...
By Marianne Herzog, PhD

Potential Barriers to Seeking Help

Making the decision to contact a psychologist can seem like a daunting prospect, particularly if you have never been in psychotherapy before. Below is a list of common feelings that can become barriers to making that call:

-Asking for help is a weakness or failure

You may feel vulnerable about admitting that you need help, and stupid letting someone know that you don’t have all the answers. Actually, it takes wisdom and is a sign of courage to feel this way, and to then go ahead and seek help with things that are concerning you. In seeking help, you can gain the benefits that psychotherapy can offer—feeling better, functioning more effectively at work and in your relationships, and experiencing a more fulfilling life. It may also be a surprise to you that talking with your therapist about your reservations regarding therapy can add to what you get out of your work together! 
Picking Up The Phone
By Lynn Schiller, PhD

It’s Friday afternoon, a little before quitting time, and you see it.  That post it note that has sat on your desk all week glaring at you.  The neon pink square reminding you of your procrastination, the mere sight of it creates a bubbling feeling in your stomach in anticipation of the deed.  Alas, you put your anxieties to the side, pick up the phone, and dial the number you have jotted down.  Chances are you are met with an answering machine relaying a kind, yet authorative, voice…. “Hello this is Dr. Fill-In-The-Blank…I’m sorry I missed your call….more words…..and then the beep.”  Now, was that so bad?

Very often the idea of picking up the phone and calling a therapist is daunting.  You are essentially engaging in the first step of what may be a long and sometimes complex journey, not to mention the person on the other end of the phone is a virtual stranger.  Understand this, psychologists are there to help you, to even get you through this first uncomfortable call.  It often helps to jot down a few key points when reaching out for the first time.  Let the doctor know why you are seeking therapy at this time, your availability and potentially your insurance requirements.  This phone call is but a first step.
A personal thank you from the Editors in Chief to NJPA Communications Manager, Christine Gurriere, NJPA Public Education Committee Past-Chair, Rosalind Dorlen, PsyD, Janie Feldman, PsyD,  Marianne Herzog, PhD,  Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD, Lisa Greenberg, PhD, and Public Education Chair, Lynn Schiller, PhD.

For submissions/comments/questions contact:
Allison or Sue
Editors in Chief:
Allison Dorlen-Pastor, PhD 
[email protected]
Susanne Breckwoldt, PhD  [email protected]
Staff Editors:

Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD
Rosalind Dorlen, PsyD
Janie Feldman, PsyD
Lisa Greenberg, PhD

Marianne Herzog, PhD
Lynn Schiller, PhD

Find more information on our contributors here.
For over 80 years, NJPA has been a staunch advocate for New Jersey psychologists, an in dispensable network of resources for the public and media, and an influential presence helping shape mental health policies in New Jersey. To learn more about NJPA, please visit our website at www.PsychologyNJ.org  
A Note from the Editors....
We are delighted to have you as a subscriber!
We hope you find these articles relevant and helpful to you in your life. Please feel free to share!
Going in Circles? A Way Out
by Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD
When to Bring Your Child
to a Therapist

By Michelle Miller, PsyD
Teens in Therapy –
A Primer for Everyone

by Janie Feldman, PsyD
How to Choose a Psychologist
by American Psychological Association
Special Feature:
How Racism Increases Stress

By Michael Likier, PhD & Deirdre Waters, PsyD
Find a Psychologist

Our Speakers Bureau is an excellent resource for those in need of a presenter or expert source for an article.
Best Practices in Assessment & Treatment of Children, Adolescents & Families: 2nd Annual Statewide Conference for School Personnel, Private Practitioners and Parents
Behavior Therapy Associates and the Educational Information and Resource Center (EIRC) are partnering to provide this full-day conference to be held on Friday, December 11, 2015 in Swedesboro, NJ and on Friday, January 8, 2016 in Monroe Twp., NJ. Topics will include a welcoming address on basic principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to help participants align their personal and professional values to care for themselves and their children / students. There will be 4 breakout sessions, including: Social Emotional Learning & The Common Core: Improving School Culture, Climate and Character; Child Behavior Management: Positive Approaches for Successful Learning; Including Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders into the General Education; and The Three R’s: Ruminating, Routines, & Rituals. Target audience is professionals and parents. For more information, please contact

FREE Women's Walking Group:
Do you get the “Winter Blues”? Ever been diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder (Depressive Disorder with Seasonal Pattern)? Or would you simply like to get outside more in the fall and winter? The Women’s Walking Group, is a now almost one year "up and walking", with 86 women on the email distribution list. Group walks in nature can be beneficial for overall health, including mental health. This group does not provide psychotherapy. We typically walk about three miles at various parks and trails in western Morris County, at about a 3mph pace. Please send any inquiries to [email protected] Margaret ("Peggy") DeLong, PsyD, 3640 Valley Road (PO box 32), Liberty Corner, NJ  07938; 908-832-7380
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