Featured Mental Health Articles

Spending Valentine's Day alone

Don’t Let Your Single Status Stop You from Having a Happy Valentine’s Day
by Taylor Bennett

February 8, 2018

"Spend Valentine’s Day caring for yourself, as recommended by Licensed Clinical Social Worker Kimberly Schaffer: “Self-love is the purest and healthiest form of love. Valentine’s Day is a time when we can truly show our love for ourselves by doing things we enjoy. There are so many options, whether it be going out for a delicious meal, going to the movies, splurging on something special for yourself, getting a massage, exercising, or reading a good book. Valentine’s Day does not need to center around romantic love. Romantic love only develops when we love ourselves.”

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rituals before bed

7 Nightly Rituals That Can Help Ease Your Anxiety Before Bed
by Carolyn Steber

February 15, 2018

By giving your bedroom a once over each night, you can ensure that it's set up perfectly for an optimal night's sleep, while also signaling to your brain to get ready for bed. "Really take a look at your sleep environment and make it the most comfortable for you," psychotherapist Kimberly Schaffer, MSW, LCSW, CSSW, CCS tells Bustle. Get more pillows, spray a soothing aromatherapy scent like lavender, and turn the temperature down to the optimal sleep temp.

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friends breakup

5 reasons your friend may have ghosted you, because we know you need closure

by Brianne Hogan

June 22, 2018

It’s not you, it’s them

“It means the friend either does not have the energy, emotional readiness, time, or ability to confront the person they are ghosting,” psychotherapist *Dr. Kimberly Schaffer told HelloGiggles. “They are choosing themselves over the person they ghosted.”

They don't like confrontation

Said *Dr Schaffer, “Most people do not like confrontation, but the ghoster is not able or willing to be assertive and explain why they do not want to continue the relationship. Instead, the ghoster chooses passive-aggressive communication and avoids the person without explaining why. This leaves the person who was ghosted feeling confused and hurt.”

Are you actually an energy vampire?

“The person who is the ghoster may be overwhelmed in their own life,” said *Dr. Schaffer. “They may not have the time or energy to reach out. In that situation, it has to do more with the ghoster than the person being ghosted. On the other hand, if the person being ghosted needs a lot of time or support, it can be energy-draining. The ghoster may have decided they do not have enough energy to give to the relationship. This is a positive for the ghoster, as self-care is extremely important.”

Something else may be going on in their life

According to *Dr. Schaffer, ghosting isn’t always a bad thing. Your friend might feel like they don’t have the energy to communicate their feelings to you because of something else that’s going on in their life.

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*Please note I am not a doctor.  I am a licensed clinical social worker.

Talk to your family about your mental health

How To Talk To Your Family About Your Mental Health — Especially If They Don’t “Get” It

by JR Thorpe

July 12, 2018


Therapist Kimberly Schaffer tells Bustle that removing yourself from the situation can be one of the most important things to do if someone reacts badly to your diagnosis. “Give the relationship some space (for both of you),” she says. “Try to understand [that] they may not know how to help you. Time, space and patience go a long way. Let them know you are available to talk about it when they are ready.”

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dislike your childs friend

You dislike your child's friend. When is it OK to step in?

by Danielle Braff

September 5, 2018

It’s a different situation if your child is in potential danger from a friendship. A child’s frontal lobes aren’t fully developed, so they underestimate risks and may think they’re invincible, said Kimberly Schaffer, a licensed clinical social worker in New Jersey.

“If the child continues to engage in the friendship after the parents have discussed their concerns, parents must do whatever they can to end the friendship,” Schaffer said.

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partner acting distant

7 Surprising Reasons Your Partner May Be Acting Distant, According To Therapists

by Kristine Fellizar

February 2019

They're An Introvert And Need Alone Time

"Introverts need time alone to recharge their energy level, and as a result, they may become more distant," therapist Kimberly Schaffer, MSW, LCSW, tells Bustle. If this is the case, there's really no reason to worry. Just give your partner the space they need and you should be fine.

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extrovers happier than introverts

Extroverts May Be Happier Than Introverts

by Tina Arnoldi

Novermber 22, 2019

The type of activity is important because “forcing an introvert to be extroverted may have short term benefits in relation to socialization, however, this type of interaction is difficult to maintain for an extended period,” added Kimberly Schaffer, MSW, LCSW, CCS

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childhood depression symptoms

How Depression Shows at Different Ages: Childhood to Adolescence

January 29, 2021

“I think it’s also important to add the school-aged children often get misdiagnosed as having behavioral issues. I’ve seen this happen where the child becomes excluded and shunned by the teachers and then by peers leading to further depressive symptoms.” Sam Levinson

“Typically children who are the bully present anger, but as this is a secondary emotion, depression is most of the time the underlying issue.” Luz Villagran

It is developmentally appropriate for children between these ages to have a “roller coaster” of emotions, but when they begin to display more anger or depressive symptoms, it is good for parents to increase communication with their teen to inquire if the teen is having any specific issues.” Luz Villagran

“There are many evidence-based studies that have shown that if children have any traumatic events during their early years, the lasting effects are severe and continue throughout their lives. These children as adults have an extremely difficult time resolving their depression due to their trauma being deeply rooted. Children in this age group develop inappropriate coping mechanisms to manage their depression. Some are extroverts that want to get attention in the wrong way from others. These are usually the children who are seen as having conduct disorders. Other children with depression retreat internally and do not want to be noticed by anyone. They do not know how to express their sadness so they may begin to have severe changes in their eating and sleeping patterns. Their activity level will decrease and will isolate from everyone.” Luz Villagran

“While working with adolescents, a huge component of therapy is building rapport. Sometimes self disclosure is important (identifying what it was like as a therapist being that age and some experiences I had). Also talking about on-the-surface topics with adolescents also can be helpful (where they like to shop, what their friends are like, hobbies, and places they’ve been). One time I spent a full session talking about fashion with an adolescent that helped her build trust in me.

Parents can also google adolescent therapy questions. They are great for getting to know an adolescent. It’s also a good way to say to them, ‘see, you do know yourself!’ (you know things about yourself you like, dislike, etc.). Therapists can have them write their answers down in a journal or notebook. After rapport and trust are built, I will play games where the child picks the emotions they are feeling, and after we discuss their feelings surrounding that emotion and ways they can cope with that emotion.

I’ve also used the game uno as a way to identify emotions and coping skills. For instance, Red represents hot emotions that require fast coping skills like deep breathing, splashing face with cold water or using an ice pack), Yellow for bright coping skills (exercising, dancing, playing with friends, asking for a hug from a parent), Blue are calm coping skills (listening to music, playing a game, journaling) and Green are go to coping skills (playing with fidget toys).” Samantha Levinson

“Play therapy is a therapeutic modality that is geared toward children. In this form, a therapist encourages a child through play to explore life events that had an effect on their current circumstances. Play therapy helps children communicate, explore thoughts and feelings, and unresolved trauma.” Luz Villagran

“Play intervention is a large component of the therapy I utilize with children who are suffering from depression. With school aged children, I’ll have a bin of stuffed animals and ask them to show me their stuffed animals. Then we touch them and figure out which ones help them feel happy, comforted, and safe. I will also show them educational videos on identifying emotions. Sesame Street has some really good ones; in particular I like, ‘name that emotion’ game and ‘Elmo’s feeling sad’. I will also have children and parents make a calm down zone in their bedroom. It consists of a tent the parent and child pick out together (this helps as a bonding activity). In the tent the child puts all the things that make him or her feel calm and happy (stuffed animals, pillows, meditation music, fidget toys, weighted blankets). This teaches the child necessary distress tolerance skills, which ultimately gives them the independence to self regulate.” Samantha Levinson

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what to say after miscarriage

What To Say To Someone Who's Had A Miscarriage

By Kristine Fellizar

August 23, 2021

Despite these numbers, Jennifer Driscoll, LCSW and licensed therapist, tells Bustle that many women experience “disenfranchised grief” after a miscarriage — meaning grief that’s minimized or unacknowledged by social norms. 

“People and family members may avoid bringing up a miscarriage, assuming that doing so may only hurt the individual more,” Driscoll says. “Simply offering to be someone who they can speak to about the loss can be extremely impactful.”

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9 Therapist-Approved Texts To Send A Friend Who's Had A Miscarriage (bustle.com)