Author Archives: David Zerella

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About David Zerella

David Zerella is a Licensed Master of Social Work (LMSW) at CBT Psychological Associates in Commack, New York.

EMAIL: DZerella@cbta-ny.com

BIO: About David

PHONE: 631-486-5140

Identifying With Others vs Blaming Them
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Authored by , re: MENTAL HEALTH, Therapy, Wellness, on .
Identifying With Others vs Blaming Them | David Zerella

{2:42 minutes to read} There is a frequent overlap when teaching individuals about unconditional acceptance and providing assertiveness training. One of the ways they overlap is with the idea of identifying with others. By “identifying” I mean relating to or finding common ground with others. Identifying with others allows us to decrease internal frustrations, stress and resentment, as well as express ourselves with more assertiveness and less blaming.

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Decision Making Anxiety
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Authored by , re: MENTAL HEALTH, Therapy, on .
Decision Making Anxiety | David Zerella

How to Decrease Outcome Based Thinking

{3:06 minutes to read} I have a small chalkboard in my office which I use to write motivational quips. I change it periodically, and most of my clients are familiar with it. It can be a great source of ideas within a session. Recently, I updated it to read, “There is no failure; we either succeed or we learn.” This idea summarizes my clinical approach on treating decision making anxiety.

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Start With Yes
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Authored by , re: MENTAL HEALTH, Wellness, on .
Start With Yes | David Zerella

{3:30 minutes to read} Several years ago, I was on a cruise where The Second City Improv Group performed. As an avid fan of comedy, I thoroughly enjoyed the show but was even more thrilled to participate in an Improv 101 seminar they held the following day. The primary concept they taught us was “start with yes.”

“Start with yes” meant agreeing unconditionally; no matter how absurd the concept, outrageous the suggestion, or ridiculous your co-stars sound: always agree. This unconditional agreement in improv keeps the skit flowing; in conflict management, it keeps the conversation going in a healthy, productive way.

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Parenting for Transparency
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Authored by , re: Family, MENTAL HEALTH, Parenting, on .
Parenting for Transparency | David Zerella

{3:00 minutes to read} I provide therapy for many teenagers and their families who are dealing with a wide array of diagnoses and clinical issues—from oppositional defiance to anxiety to familial challenges and transition. In my practice, I emphasize family attendance and participation in order to maximize transparency.

Transparency is developing an open, honest relationship between parents and children in which conflict is not avoided but discussed candidly. As with all of my work, unconditional self esteem is the cornerstone for successful transparency. Therefore, I help families to understand and remind each other that, although they may not like one another’s behavior, they can still accept (love) each other.

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Challenges and Opportunities
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Authored by , re: Therapy, on .
Challenges and Opportunities | David Zerella

{2:48 minutes to read} Cognitive Behavioral Therapy focuses on how beliefs or thoughts about events lead to behavior. When the behavior is maladaptive (unsuitably adapted or adapting poorly, causing and maintaining emotional problems), we don’t look to just change the behavior, or hope to change the event, but rather actively work to change the belief. This process is referred to as cognitive reframing.

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Self-Rating
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Authored by , re: Therapy, on .
Self-Rating | David Zerella, LMSW

{4:42 minutes to read} Most of my clients are familiar with my rants on conditional self-esteem. Maybe I’m being dramatic when I call it an epidemic, but it does seem to be a widespread, cross-cultural issue. Countless individuals, when disclosing how they perceive themselves, reveal a very conditional-based understanding. A simple example would be “I am good because I do good.” There may not appear to be anything destructive with that statement and it could be considered beneficial to recognize our strengths and appreciate our achievements, but it can be destructive to view ourselves based solely on our behavior. That is, when we think and say things like “I am good because I do good,” the reverse must also true: “I am bad because I do bad.” Unfortunately, this is a common way of thinking that leads to self-rating.

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The Survivor Mentality
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Authored by , re: Therapy, on .
The Survivor Mentality | David Zerella

{2:54 minutes to read} One of the things I enjoy most about my profession is the opportunity to meet with incredibly strong individuals, who have endured tragedy, trauma, and abuse. Unfortunately, many of the individuals I work with don’t recognize their inner strength, or their ability to endure hardships and challenges. As a result, in the early stages of therapy, they may take on a victim mentality. A victim mentality is when an individual perceives him/herself as the target of the trauma, tragedy, abuse, etc. to the point where it negatively affects his/her well-being. Victims often identify with negative, self-defeating emotions such as shame, guilt, anger, resentment, etc. A victim mentality promotes self-defeating thoughts such as:

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Be an Active Participant, Not a Passive Recipient
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Authored by , re: Therapy, on .
Be an Active Participant, Not a Passive Recipient | David Zerella

4:06 minutes to read}  As part of the human experience, we all have our “bad” days:

  • Typical daily tasks appear more menial and frustrating than usual.
  • Added frustrations or unexpected difficulties arise which we couldn’t have foreseen.
  • Other people get on our nerves more often.
  • We are facing changes or transitions we don’t like.
  • Not thinking, feeling, or looking our very best.
Sound familiar? These types of days happen to all of us.

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Don’t Say “I Can’t”
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Authored by , re: Miscellaneous, on .
Don’t Say “I Can’t” | David Zerella

{3:48 minutes to read} Like many people, I struggle with getting to the gym consistently. I like to workout and would like to be more consistent, but my exercise routines have historically been very cyclical. When I am in an action phase, my favorite workout is P90X. It’s a rigorous regimen and contains challenging exercises, many of which, when I haven’t been consistent, I may feel like I can’t do. However, it’s this same regimen where I first heard the adage, “Don’t say, ‘I can’t’; say, ‘I presently struggle with . . .‘” Given my cognitive behavioral background, this sentiment instantly resonated with me. The idea was simple reframing: changing the language can change how we think, which can change our behavior. Reframing the idea of “I can’t” and replacing it with “I presently struggle with” opens up the possibility for improvement and growth.

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“I’ll Be Happy When…”
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Authored by , re: Therapy, on .
“I’ll Be Happy When…” | David Zerella

{3:42 minutes to read} Are you currently happy? Does it seem like there is something preventing you from being happy?  Do you want to be happy but find yourself overwhelmed with professional and personal demands?  Is there just no time for your own happiness? Do you prioritize happiness? Happiness is something we need to prioritize. However, what is usually preventing us from being happy is our desire for the next thing:

  • The next promotion;
  • The next job;
  • The next life event;
  • The next step in a relationship; etc.

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Being in Control
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Authored by , re: Therapy, on .
Being in Control | David Zerella, LMSW

{4:30 minutes to read} Have you ever wondered about control? What does it mean to be in control? What do we really have control over in our lives?

Like anything else, the idea of having control has positive and negative attributes. Being in control, or having a direct impact on our life and environment, can be very empowering. However, the need to control our lives and environment comes with responsibility, and can be quite frustrating or anxiety-provoking. So it is important for us to discern what we can and cannot control.

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Who, What, Where, When and How?
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Authored by , re: Therapy, on .
Who, What, Where, When and How? | David Zarella

by David Zarella, LMSW {3:30 minutes to read} Most people who participate in psychotherapy are seeking support because they have some insight into their behavior, and recognize on some level the dysfunction and disturbances in their lives. However, when they first begin psychotherapy, many people, despite an awareness of the disturbance, often ask themselves the wrong questions by focusing on the “Why?”

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