(516) 816-5543 markabernstein@outlook.com 7 High St., Ste. 207, Huntington, NY 11743

Individual Therapy

Individual Psychotherapy and Counseling

Psychotherapy and Counseling is a process focused on helping an individual to grow, heal, and learn more adaptive ways to handle the goals, problems, or issues in their life.  It can also be a supportive process when trying to accomplish a new goal, when going through a difficult period, or when an individual is under increased stress at home, socially, or at work.  Psychotherapy and Counseling is recommended whenever a person is contending with a specific mental health concern, which is causing the individual a great deal of frustration, anger, anxiety, fear, or other upset for longer than a few days. There is no harm in trying Psychotherapy and Counseling, even if you’re not entirely certain you need it, or would benefit from it.  Most people who try Psychotherapy and Counseling benefit from the interaction.  My approach differs significantly from the Hollywood version.  Typically, most people meet with me once a week for 50 minutes.  Psychotherapy and Counseling is usually time-limited and focuses on specific goals you want to accomplish.  This means that you and I decide upon which specific changes you would like to make in your life.  We will determine long-term goals and the sought after changes will be broken down into smaller attainable objectives and short-term goals.  I focus on helping you to achieve those goals.  This is done through talking and discussing techniques that may help you accomplish your life goals or develop effective coping methods to ease your current burden. 

Psychotherapy and Counseling is most successful when you come of free will and have a strong desire to change.  If you don’t want to change, change will be slow in coming, if at all.  Change means altering those aspects of your life that aren’t working for you, or are contributing to your problems or ongoing issues.  It is also best to keep an open mind while we work together and be willing to try out new things that ordinarily you may not do.  Psychotherapy and Counseling is often about challenging one’s existing set of beliefs and often, one’s very self. It is most successful when a person is able and willing to try to do this in a safe and supportive environment, which I provide.

Personal growth vs. settling for the status quo

Your growth and maturity is a continuous work in progress.  Try to take comfort in the realization that life is a journey and a process that you can come to enjoy.  Satisfaction is best seen as a momentary recognition of your progress in your personal and/or professional life.  There will be rough passages and challenges, which are opportunities for growth and change, as opposed to dead ends.  Personal growth requires a passion and a purpose-driven mindset to learn from each experience, to develop new and better coping mechanisms, to mature, to meet new people, to develop better relationships, to be curious about, and be open to other perspectives.  Change can sometimes be difficult, but not always.  Change is to be expected as the one constant in life.  We all are predisposed to hold on to behaviors that are habitual or “comfortable” from our earlier days, even though they repeatedly provide unfavorable results.  Many of your habits and behaviors were developed when you were younger and less capable – as a means to cope with difficult situations.  You can now explore and develop more rewarding and satisfying skills that “fit the moment”, and take advantage of your life’s experience and maturity. 

I will help you learn to differentiate clear short-term goals (small process steps) from long term goals (that which you want to achieve).  You can devote time, organization, and focus to meaningful and achievable “bites” rather than grasping for the whole “meal” at once – or you can continue to respond to new situations with limited or unsuccessful habitual patterns and/or expend your energy through meaningless diversions.

Increase Self-confidence

Perhaps it has been easier to listen to and follow others.  Belonging has always been valuable for survival, camaraderie, support, and great projects have been achieved by groups.  It is sometimes easier to go with the group as opposed to challenging the comfort and/or pressure of the status quo.  In our fast changing world, the group can sometimes represent stagnation or simply a direction in life imposed by others or compromise.  A balance is needed between group goals and individual needs and ideas, in order for you to be able to find your own true path towards success and self-confidence.  Developing your individual character and your own conclusions will help you to develop your own self-respect and the respect of others, enabling you to become more confident and be seen as a more attractive group member, or even a leader, if that is your goal.  However, we must not forget to exercise humility and respect for others’ ideas when presenting our own perspectives.  Be honest and appreciative and make sure to be genuine in praising others for their ideas, efforts and accomplishments.

Confident people have a good understanding of their strengths and weaknesses.  We all make mistakes and have limitations.  Acknowledge and accept your limits or attempt to improve yourself in certain areas.  Reasonable people will respect your honesty and help you to grow.  They will be dismissive of you if you attempt to fake it.

Develop/Increase Self-control

Are you always able to temper your emotional response and utilize judgement and control of your behavior?  It is of the utmost importance to observe our emotional response to events and people in our lives and then to handle the situation with a measured response.  You cannot control every situation, but you can learn to manage your response.    Reacting to the pressure of your emotions will often interfere with making the best decision and limit your ability to positively influence others.  We will work together to increase your introspection, which will help you to learn to be calm and cool as opposed to feeling the need to panic, rage, or retreat.  Have you ever tried to recover your ability to influence others and regain their trust after an uncontrollable bout of rage?  Have you realized that fear or anger blinded you to the reality of the situation?  We usually make things worse with others through our temper and overestimate the negative through our fears.  Both are means to hold ourselves back from accomplishing a positive outcome.  We must keep our goals in mind and mediate our responses by staying on track.  Consider what reasonable action or response will best serve you.  This may mean stepping away from the situation momentarily, to regain your composure.  Be mindful of your limits, but strive to expand your abilities in a measured and controlled manner.  Stressful situations are an opportunity for growth and empowerment.  If you find that you have been less than successful in controlling yourself, learn to take responsibility for your actions and show consideration and respect for those who did not deserve to be on the receiving end of your wrath.  You are more likely to gain their respect and understanding by showing your thoughtfulness and admitting your fault and apologizing.  Consider a plan to fix things and share this with the injured party.  They will feel better and respect you for your renewed awareness, sensitivity and efforts; likely, you will too.  Allow their input into your plan and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Enjoy Life

Self-discovery and the road to your goals is, by nature, a meaningful and enjoyable experience.  We all started out with a passion for life and exploration.  Some have learned to hold themselves back from enjoying the challenge and rewards of a creative and passionate life due to the fear brought on by initial failures.  Others have held themselves back due to their own preconceptions, based on a misreading of emotional cues or earlier negative experiences or actions taken.  The result is that the past experiences of a less informed “earlier you” determined a repetitive pattern of habitual coping mechanisms which were unsuccessful or had limited potential to help you develop confidence.  Success comes from having reasonable goals, based upon your real capabilities and potential, and a focus that is present “in the moment.”  Preoccupation with the past or excessive fantasies about the future prevents having sufficient focus to attend to the needs of the present; the actual work of self-discovery and accomplishment.  Learn how self-discovery and accomplishment do not lead to a specific end point or destination.  The journey, meaningful and enjoyable, is ongoing.