Counseling

Promoting Self-Care for New Mothers

by Elizabeth DiMaggio, Pre-Doctoral Clinical Psychology Extern, Psychological Services

Having a new baby is an exciting time in a caregiver’s life. There is a brand new person to love and care for. While it can be an exciting time, becoming a new mother can be difficult and potentially draining. Focusing on a new infant might lead to the mother putting her own needs aside. While focusing attention on a new infant is extremely important, it might cause a mother to ignore her own self-care and signs from her body to take time for herself.

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Sibling Relationships

by Erica Aten, M.A., Pre-Doctoral Clinical Psychology Intern, Psychological Services

Although parents are typically a child's first source of human connection, sibling relationships are also an important factor in development. As of 2010, 82.22% of youth lived with at least one sibling(1). Sibling bonds are unique in that they often last a lifetime and are typically people’s longest relationships in life(2). Sibling relationships are influential in many ways.

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Transitions in Jewish Community Services

by Amy Rubin, Senior Director of Community Services

Shorter days, cooler temperatures, football and and the sweetness of apples dipped in honey.  All signs that we are in the midst of transitioning to a new season and a New Year.

Several of our programs at JCFS Chicago are also transitioning to better serve the community. It's clear that the months ahead will be filled with energy!  Shanah Tovah - may this New Year be filled with health, happiness and peace.

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Caring for a Bipolar Child

by Talia Rudkin, B.A., Psychological Services Diagnostic Extern

Pediatric bipolar disorder (PBD) has been given a considerable amount of attention in recent years.  Even though pediatric bipolar disorder has yet to find its individual place in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM), there has been a recent influx in the number of children and adolescents being diagnosed with bipolarity.  This can be an alarming diagnosis for parents, as it is one that is often given to adults.  In fact, bipolar disorder is so much more common in adults that the DSM-V does not distinguish adult-onset from pediatric-onset symptoms of bipolar, despite clinically significant differences in the presentation and duration of symptoms(3,5,6,7).  However, a growing interest in this topic has led to an increase in research and treatment options for how to best care for a bipolar child. 

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The Road to Healing—During and After Divorce

by Tami Sollo LCSW, Coordinator of the Divorce Specialty Center

I encounter many couples experiencing the early phases of divorce. Marked by the tearing down of comfortable routines, fear of the future and its unknowns, and sadness over the loss of a familiar way of life—no matter how unhappy it may have been—the early stages of divorce are chaotic and emotionally overwhelming. Like any time of grief or great loss, recovering from divorce is a process. How quickly couples move towards healing depends upon several factors:  how well spouses work together to co-parent or make decisions for their separate futures; the level of conflict between the couple; the couple’s financial situation; how well developed the couple’s psychological coping skills are; and the external support systems of the soon-to-be ex-spouses.  

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Raising Mental Health Awareness

Fifteen year-old Anna lounged on the sofa in Robin Stein’s office, sinking into the cushions with her legs folded beneath her. Though her features remained stoic, the cell phone she cradled shook in the palms of her hand as she rapidly swiped at its surface with her thumbs. “Here,” Anna said, and held the phone out to Stein, a licensed clinical social worker at JCFS Chicago. The screen displayed a somewhat pixelated selfie of a very young girl with a gun pointed at her temple. “She talked about dying all the time.” Anna was in grief therapy with Stein; the girl holding the gun was Anna’s younger sister, Sarah, who had taken her life the year before, ultimately overdosing on a relative’s sleeping pills. Sarah was only 10.

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First Steps After Receiving an Autism Diagnosis

by Caitlin McIlwee, M.A., Psychological Services Pre-Doctoral Intern

You have just learned that your child has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. For some parents, the news comes as a shock, while other parents may have been expecting it. However, almost all parents who receive this diagnosis for their child struggle with reimagining their child’s future with this pervasive developmental disability. You are not alone, and it is normal to feel this way. The important thing to know is that, although there is no known “cure” for autism, there is hope. Your child will be able to learn, grow and gain new skills within their potential. The important first steps are educating yourself about the diagnosis, adjusting the child’s home environment to best meet their needs, and seeking professional therapeutic services.

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Mindfulness: A Tool Fit for the 21st Century

by Tabish Shamsi, M. A., Psychological Services Therapy Extern

What is mindfulness?

All human beings in the 21st century lead highly sophisticated lives compared to non-human animals. This is the result of having a uniquely evolved mind that allows us to perform advanced maneuvers like using language to plan, reason, evaluate, communicate, reflect on the past, and anticipate the future. These remarkable abilities have enabled us to construct a highly sophisticated society comprised of tall buildings, fast-moving aircrafts and advanced medical technologies such as hair-splitting microsurgery.

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New Disruptive Behavior Clinic

Our list of comprehensive services for children and their families continues to expand with The Disruptive Behavior Clinic (DBC), a new program under the clinical direction of Carri Hill, Ph.D. and Pia Todras, Psy.D., members of the Psychological Services team at JCFS Chicago.

The purpose of the clinic is help families with children aged 2-12 who are experiencing difficulty in managing their child's behavior, or who are concerned with emotion or behavior regulation at home, school or in public settings. Some examples of behavioral issues are noncompliance, aggression, irritability and tantrums.

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Meeting the Needs of Children, Families and Adults: Where They Live, Work, Worship and Learn

Life presents challenging situations, whether it’s raising a family, searching for a job, locating an appropriate social activity for a child or adult with a disability, coping with the advanced illness of a loved one or facing an unexpected financial or emotional crisis. JCFS Chicago helps children, couples and adults develop positive strategies and solutions to these challenges while strengthening connections to their families and communities.

JCFS Chicago brings its programs and services to people where they live, work, worship and learn, making it that much easier for people to access and benefit from its expertise and resources and those of its affiliate, JVS Career & Employment.

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