new york analytic therapy

Is Your Closet a Window into Your Psyche?

It has been suggested many times that the home is a metaphor for the psyche. Some have even claimed that the master bedroom is a snapshot of your marriage, for instance, although others strongly contest this notion. This recent piece takes the idea of domicile as metaphor for the soul even further, unpacking the very notion of clutter as a window into something deeper:

Many powerful emotions are lurking amid stuff we keep. Whether it's piles of unread newspapers, clothes that don't fit, outdated electronics, even empty margarine tubs, the things we accumulate reflect some of our deepest thoughts and feelings.

This is, of course, often true. Yet just because the things we own can hold great significance doesn’t necessarily mean every room in your home is somehow a microcosm of your psychology. Sometimes clutter is just that, a function of poor organization or inadequate cleaning.

The real question is how to distinguish between the stuff that matters and the stuff that does not. They key is to pay attention to those things which arouse powerful emotions:

"Every time I think about getting rid of [my kids’ childhood things], I want to cry," says Ms. James, a 46-year-old public-relations consultant. She fears her children, ages 6, 8 and 16, will grow up and think she didn't love them if she doesn't save it all. "In keeping all this stuff, I think someday I'll be able to say to my children, 'See—I treasured your innocence. I treasured you!' "

Hoarding and its offshoots can be useful touchstones for analytic therapy. If there are things in your life that you find yourself helpless to purge or pack, then those things may be used to help explore that which you treasure most closely. At the very least, discussing them can be a helpful starting point to address some of the emotional triggers which continue to influence your life.

To learn more about the intersection between clutter, feelings and fulfillment, please contact the psychotherapists of New York’s PPSC today.

Pulling Back the Curtain on Psychoanalytic Therapy

Many people have long been curious about the world of psychoanalytic therapy and psychoanalysis. Recently we published an introductory take on the subject from a major national media source. Now we have this interesting photo essay: a look inside the offices of psychoanalysts around the world, by photographer Mark Gerald. His interest in the subject is more than idle:

As an adult, Gerald realized that few people get to see inside the world of psychoanalysis, a sphere often obscured by its confidential nature and clouded by outdated stereotypes. “I found psychoanalysis extremely vibrant and current and yet it was being talked about in popular culture and some mental health circles as very passé—something of the 19th century, something that had really seen its heyday and was over. I didn't feel that way,” he said.

It is a fascinating look inside the environments analysts create to encourage sharing, trust, and emotional work, many of which are distinctively designed to inspire associations and new avenues:

Kim Leary, Ph.D., Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Phillip Ringstrom, Ph.D., Psy.D., Encino, California.

Leanh Nguyen, Ph.D., New York.

For the full gallery, click here. To find a therapist in New York who can offer the many benefits of a psychoanalytic approach, start your search at PPSC today.

Depression in Young Athletes

An interesting recent article in The Atlantic highlights what has become something of an invisible epidemic: depression among elite college athletes. National trends point to declining mental health among undergraduates across the board:

[T]he American College Health Association reported in 2013 that 31.3 percent of undergraduates surveyed felt “so depressed it was difficult to function,” and 7.4 percent admitted to seriously considering suicide.

Athletes are no different, of course. The article captures the dichotomy of what has become, for many young athletes, an unresolvable conflict between maintaining a warrior façade and crumbling within:

“I dreaded waking up. My body would ache. I felt physically sick,” he said. “It was very hard, as a man playing D1 football, to go to somebody and say ‘I’m having a hard time’,” Meldrum said. He marvels at his ability to have made it to practice every day while feeling so desperate. “Here I am, I’m feeling sick, I wished I would die, and I have to go out there and hit people.”

Depression is surprisingly easy to hide for some people, and college is the typical age that most clinical cases first arise. It is no wonder that college hides so many depressive students, both athletes and nonathletes alike. If you know someone struggling with clinical depression, it is essential to seek help.

We offer depression therapy that focuses on the origins and emotional factors behind this debilitating condition. Please reach out today to learn more.

When Depression Has Two Victims

A thoughtful new article in Scientific American addresses the many ways that depression can harm couples, upending the notion that depression is a solitary disorder. The article describes a number of shared repercussions that can follow from feelings of hopelessness and despair, tracing a vicious cycle:

A resounding body of research has shown how closely depression is related to relationships in a cyclical fashion: depression affects the quality of your relationships, and the features of your relationship can affect your level of depression. In other words, being depressed can cause you to pay less attention to your partner, be less involved, be more irritable or have trouble enjoying time together—all of which can cause your relationship to falter.

It’s worth reading the full piece for its taxonomy of depression-related problems that strike couples, including diminished sex drive, hopelessness about the relationship, a tendency to “act out,” and pervasive anxiety.

If you believe your relationship has suffered because of depression, it may be time to seek substantive analytic therapy. PPSC is one of the world’s foremost institutions for the study and treatment of depression, and we offer a number of extensive resources for those interested in excellent relationship therapy.

Click to start your search for a therapist in New York today.

How to Stop Gay Conversion Therapy

A number of news outlets have recently picked up on a national movement to outlaw so-called gay conversion therapy, a (usually) religiously-oriented process in which people attempt to “reprogram” homosexual urges. The practice is as abusive as it is ineffectual, of course, but some fault lines have developed over the question of whether a legal ban is the best way to combat this practice. An interesting discussion arose in the New York Times following this editorial, the thrust of which centered around First Amendment rights and a possible workaround:

The bans tread on a volatile question: the degree to which the First Amendment protects speech uttered by professionals, like doctors and lawyers, in the course of their work. . . .

There is a more promising way to put pressure on, or even shut down, conversion programs: existing state laws that forbid businesses and professionals to engage in deceptive practices.

Yet one letter writer addressed the singular way that the full force of law could help guide discussions and stigmatize bigotry where other methods might fail:

While there may be other possible avenues to bar so-called “conversion therapy” from practice, passing a law casts a wide net across all corners of the state and sends a strong message to all that this damaging practice, widely discredited by reputable medical and mental health institutions, has no place in our state.

It is an interesting argument that touches on issues of law, morality and freedom. What is not controversial is that gay conversion therapy is a regressive and traumatic practice which deserves no quarter anywhere in professional circles.

Here at PPSC, we take pride in an approach to LGBT friendly therapy that incorporates and values gay identity while exploring the specific issues that may trouble patients. Do you want to find a gay-friendly therapist in NYC? Start here.

Low Cost Therapy Interest on the Rise

It is hardly a novel idea to suggest that psychiatrists, as a group, tend to be less inclined to take insurance than those in many other medical specialties. The reasons for this reluctance are manifold, including flattening insurance support for mental health issues, and the hassle of managing insurance copays through a private practice. But a recent study shows that the numbers have grown stark indeed:

The study, published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, found that 55 percent of psychiatrists accepted private insurance, compared with 89 percent of other doctors.

Likewise, the study said, 55 percent of psychiatrists accept patients covered by Medicare, against 86 percent of other doctors. And 43 percent of psychiatrists accept Medicaid, which provides coverage for low-income people, while 73 percent of other doctors do.

Not everyone can pay out of pocket for analytic therapy, of course. Which is why there is growing interest in low cost therapy here in New York and across the country.

Finding a good low cost therapy is easier than it may sound: Simply reach out to the professionals at PPSC for a referral. Affordable psychotherapy is always in reach if you know where to look. And insurance shouldn’t ever have to play a starring role.

The New Challenges of LGBT Therapy

At PPSC, we’re proud of our reputation as one of the most progressive analytic communities in New York for gay-friendly therapy. With multiple analysts on staff who identify as LGBT and a robust curriculum addressed toward understanding the particular issues of the queer experience, we believe there’s always more to learn about how we can provide insightful and effective LGBT therapy. Which is why this recent article in the magazine of the American Psychological Association caught our eye. It talks about how the issues facing LGBT patients have shifted over time: Although discrimination and its echoes remain paramount, other questions have crept into the mix which require their own breed of psychotherapy:

At the same time, Haldeman says, psychologists are seeing "a whole host of other issues related to the creation of LGBT families, LGBT people in the workplace, generational differences and the reality of multiple-minority identities--issues that demand our best research and clinical skills."

The whole article is worth a read. Generational questions, identity questions and a rising tide of body image issues are all giving gay-friendly therapists new topics to engage. If you are struggling with these or other issues as an LGBT person, we can help you find a therapist who will meet you halfway and help unpack what may be behind the difficulties you face.

A Rare Candid Conversation on Depression and Therapy

It is rare, albeit less so all the time, for celebrities to open up about their personal battles with clinical depression. Older stars in particular tend to maintain a culture in which all mental health issues came with stigmas attached. Which is why it was unusual this week to see two stars of a more senior generation, Dick Cavett and Stephen Fry, openly discussing their struggles with depression on the Huffington Post. Mr. Fry offered an illuminating assessment of what makes depression unique, namely that its agony, while invisible, may still lead to suicide, even in busy people:

Fry emphasized how seemingly-contradictory the messages we send about depression can be. "Okay, you've got this problem, it doesn't stop you from being a high-functioning individual," he said, and yet on the other hand, it can cause death. It's not to be taken too lightly, he said, and at the same time, it's not to be taken as a death sentence.

Of course this is the point: depression doesn’t have to paralyze you to impair your life in significant ways. The classic image of the depressive who can’t get out of bed in the morning is simply one face this problem wears; other symptoms may include quiet moments of despair, chronic sleeplessness, broken relationships and diminished productivity.

Depression can be caused by genetics, chemistry or psychology. The only way to know for sure is to try analytic therapy and explore whether your issues may are emotionally based, or simply biological in nature.

To find a therapist in New York who specializes in depression therapy, please contact PPSC here.