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NEWS & UPDATES
 
NEW YORK CITY COGNITIVE BEHAVIOR THERAPY ASSOCIATION

Helping mental health providers across New York City interested in evidence-based interventions to learn, share and connect. 
This Issue:
NYC-CBT Coming Events
Feature Article: Feeling Powerless: Melting Away the Winter Weather Blues, by Adam Weissman
Program Profile: Camp Erin: Bereavement Camp for Kids
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Facing the Darkness: Using behavioral engagement strategies in CBT treatment for depression
 
by
Christopher R. Martell, Ph.D., ABPP
Clinic Director, Psychological Services Center, University of Massachusetts, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Amherst, MA
 

 
Wednesday, March 13th, 2019
 
Registration: 6:30-7:00pm
Speaker Presentation: 7:00-8:00pm
Q&A: 8:00-8:30pm
 
Weill Cornell Medical College
1300 York Avenue, Room C-200
New York, NY 10065
 
Topic Description:
Cognitive-behavioral therapy for depression is one of the most well studied talk therapies with strong empirical support.  The model has included behavioral strategies such as pleasure and mastery ratings and activity scheduling. More recently, interest has emerged in traditional behavioral treatments for depression and behavioral activation (BA) resurfaced as a specific treatment for depression.  BA has added an emphasis on identifying and modifying depressed clients’ avoidance patterns and ruminative thought processes. These processes often function as disengagement strategies for clients struggling with depressed mood and difficulties regulating affect. The functional and behavioral aspects of treatment can be enhanced in traditional CBT for depression, and incorporated into an overall treatment plan and case conceptualization to assist clients in fully engaging in life and moving beyond the pull of depression.
 
You will learn:
 
-How to assess client behaviors using a clinical functional analysis.
-How to recognize clients’ disengagement maneuvers and help them fully engage in the moment.
-How to add behavioral components with a cognitive-behavioral case conceptualization of depression.
 
Speaker Bio:
Christopher R. Martell, Ph.D., ABPP is a licensed psychologist (in NY, WA, WI and MA) and is the Clinic Director of the Psychological Services Center – the training clinic for doctoral students – at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  A co-author of 8 books, and author of many published articles and chapters, Dr. Martell is an internationally recognized workshop leader and scholar in the areas of behavioral activation, affirmative CBT for sexual minorities, and integrative-behavioral couples therapies applied to same-sex couples. 
 
 
Established professionals, early career professionals, and students from all applied, research, and academic settings are invited to attend. Tickets are non-refundable or exchangeable.
 
There is an additional $5 surcharge for paying at the door, so pre-register and save!

Register Here

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FEATURE ARTICLE
Feeling Powerless: Melting Away the Winter Weather Blues

By Adam S. Weissman, Ph.D.
The Child & Family Institute

The “Winter Blues” affect us all. Short, chilly days, early sunsets, and dark, blistery cold nights offer limited opportunities for warmth, sunlight, routine outdoor activity, and Vitamin D. What’s more, that unnerving and unpredictable Winter Storm watch has us glued to our favorite news channel, ready to derail us at any moment from our work, travel, exercise, and social routines, leaving us feeling helpless and not in control of our own lives.
 
Uncertainty is the root of anxiety; it's human nature. We naturally feel anxious and unbalanced in the face of uncertainty, whether it's applying to college, financial instability, caring for a sick family member, relationship woes, or having our weekly plans - and in many cases, our livelihood - cast aside by inclement weather. The key to mental equilibrium is acceptance of the things we cannot control and the ability to slow down our thoughts and emotions by problem-solving and weighing the evidence for and against our worried thoughts.
 
During this seasonal period of uncertainty, it is important that we all take care of ourselves... and each other... the STOP AND COPE tips below are a good place to start. And a good family-friendly CBT refresher for clinicians and clients alike.  
 

  1. Shift Your Focus - When you're feeling tense or stressed out, you may find yourself mentally replay your worries over and over in your mind. Shift your focus to something more positive. Remind yourself of something that makes you feel good. This can be a place you find relaxing and peaceful (e.g., a favorite beach or park) or maybe for your kids, a place where they had fun recently (e.g., an amusement park or baseball game).
  2. Take Deep Breaths - You can also shift your focus to your body. Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down, and concentrate on your bodily sensations and on your breath. Take long, deep breaths from your diaphragm; try inhaling slowly through your nose for five seconds, and then exhaling through your mouth for seven. Exhaling longer than you inhale deepens your breathing, which helps calm your nervous system. To enhance your mindful breathing, you can say a mantra as you focus on your breath (e.g., “one… relax, two… relax”; “breath in calm, breath out stress”) 
  3. Open the Door and Get Some Fresh Air – You’ve been cooped up for days… of course you’re feeling on edge! Go outside, maybe take a short walk (if it’s safe where you are), and get some fresh air. Most importantly, get back into your routine as soon as possible. Don’t let your stress or fear derail you from getting back on track with the things that you enjoy and the things that are important and fulfilling in your life.
  4. Play a Game or Do Something Fun with Your Family - Schools are closed and the nasty weather conditions provide a unique opportunity for family bonding time. How often are we stuck at home, perhaps with no power (e.g., phone, TV, Facebook)? Spend time together as a family, talking, playing board games, building that fort in the living room the kids have been asking about for weeks! Or watch a funny movie together if you do have power. When we’re doing something fun - smiling and laughing, it’s pretty hard to feel anxious. Find the silver lining and turn this stressful event into a fun and positive family bonding experience that the kids will remember for years to come.
  5. Anxious Thought Busters – When we’re feeling stressed out, we have anxious, exaggerated thoughts; we tend to overestimate the likelihood of something bad happening and underestimate our own abilities to cope. Give yourself (and your kids) a pep talk. Identify your anxious thoughts and “talk back” to your “Worry Bully” (we all have one!) by coming up with more helpful, realistic coping thoughts (e.g., “I have been in worse situations than this before and have been able to manage just fine”, “What would I tell a friend in this situation?”, “I can rely on my friends and family if I need help”, “The power will be back on soon”)
  6. New Adventures – Sometimes we can get stuck in our daily routine and not take the time to stop and think about our overall stress level, how we are balancing our lives, and perhaps scheduling some time for fun. Think of this “down time” as an opportunity to break free from your weekly routine. Start planning some dates for your next family vacation or perhaps a romantic weekend getaway!  
  7. Draw or Write – Writing down your anxious thoughts can help relieve some of the stress caused by repetitive worry, especially at night before bed when our “Worry Bully” tends to rear its ugly head and disrupt our sleep. Write down your anxious thoughts or fears on a piece of paper, put the paper aside, and re-visit your list in a few hours. Your worried thoughts may not seem so bad in the morning. Coach your kids to write down their worries, as well, or express themselves through drawing.
  8. Close Your Eyes and Imagine Your Peaceful Place – Create your own utopia or relaxing place in your mind and go through each sensory experience – what you see, hear, smell, feel, and taste. Perhaps make a special soothing playlist for your iPod and play some relaxing music in the background.
  9. Open Up to a Parent or Friend - Share your feelings and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Encourage your kids to talk about their feelings, as well, and to ask questions if they are feeling scared. Help each other and your neighbors.
  10. Problem-Solve – Write down (or say out loud) the steps you are prepared to take to manage stressful situations that may arise (e.g., power outage, road block, running low on food, no public transportation, house or car damage). We are generally better problem-solvers than we give ourselves credit for, especially when we are feeling stressed out. Slow down your thoughts and emotions by following the 5 problem-solving STEPS below:
 
  1. ay the Problem
  2. hink of Solutions
  3. xamine Each Solution (pros and cons)
  4. ick a Solution
  5. ee if it worked
 
11. Exercise – You haven’t made it out to the gym in days, so you probably have some pent up energy. Take a break, walk up and down a few flights of stairs, do some push-ups or sit-ups at home, or sign up for that Zumba or kickboxing class you've been dying to try. No matter what's going on in your life, exercise will always make you feel better. Try it out, and rate your stress level before and after on a scale of 0-10!
PROGRAM PROFILE


Camp Erin: Bereavement Camp for Kids
Jamie Greene, PhD


Camp Erin NYC, is a free, weekend long, grief support camp designed to help children ages 6-17 who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling, or someone close to them. Camp Erin combines grief education, emotional support, and coping skill building with  traditional fun camp activities, facilitated by mental health professionals and trained volunteers.  Children often feel isolated in their grief, but rarely receive formal grief counseling.  For some, this experience may be the first opportunity where they are able to confront their grief, receive support, and realize they are not alone.
 
Unique to Camp Erin NYC, we offer a separate retreat for parents whose children attend camp.  This opportunity allows parents to experience their own grief work, and offers an added insight to their child’s experience. 
 
Many of you in the NYC-CBT community work with families or children who have suffered a significant loss.  Please refer any children who may benefit from this invaluable weekend experience.  Camp will be held this year from August 23-25, 2019.  Please feel free to contact the Clinical Director, Jamie Greene, Ph.D. if you would like to discuss a referral, or have the family contact Ann Fuchs, Camp Director.
 
Clinical Director:
Jamie Greene, Ph.D.
jamiegreene@copefoundation.org
(914) 980-8772
 
Camp Director:
Ann Fuchs
afuchs@copefoundation.org
(914) 939-5338

www.copefoundation.org/camp-erin-new-york-city/
 

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