Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Which therapist should I choose?

     Many people ask, "What is the difference between a psychotherapist, psychologist, and a psychiatrist?" First the similarities, we are all mental health professionals providing psychotherapy to clients experiencing distress in their lives. The differences mainly lie in our educational degrees. For the most part, psychotherapists have their Masters Degrees usually in social work (MSW) counseling, marriage and family therapy etc. Psychologists usually have their PHDs, and psychiatrists are MDs (physicians). Psychologists can administer psychological testing, such as IQ, personality and ADD testing etc. Psychiatrists can prescribe medications, which is usually their primary focus.
     When finding a therapist, you must feel comfortable. That sounds trivial, but therapy only works when you are open to help from someone you trust and respect. Therapy is about you first and foremost. A therapist should never reveal too much information about themselves. Your sessions are dynamic and insightful. If you aren't feeling the benefits, talk to your therapist about it or ask for another recommendation from your physician, friend or family member.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Am I Depressed?

Have you ever struggled with depression? I think we all have in some form or another. We usually put on a smile and carry on, but inside it hurts. And it can hurt deeply. Depression impacts us both physically and emotionally. It can effect our health or our performance at work, in relationships, or at home. We might be able to push it aside and move forward, but sometimes it takes a strong hold and immobilizes us. Most of our friends and family don't know how to help. Have you ever heard, "Just get over it, Come on, you're fine, or You are in such a bad mood!" Quick fixes for depression don't work. If you had chest pain, would people tell you to "just get over it?" Of course not.

As a psychotherapist who treats depression, I have a few suggestions.  First, realize that depression is a real health concern. Treatment is out there for you. Ask yourself, how long have I been feeling sad? Do I have difficulty sleeping? Either too much or too little? Do I wake feeling rested? Has my appetite changed? How is my ability to concentrate? How is my energy levels? Do I cry often? Do I isolate myself? Are my thoughts more negative? Feel more irritable or angry?

Here are some ways to cope and feel better. Take small steps. Think positive. Don't talk yourself out of doing something healthy. Take care of yourself. That may feel selfish, but its not! Try exercising. Increased exercise has a positive effect on our moods (even walking 20 minutes a day).  Make sure you get a good night's sleep. Avoid alcohol, it is actually a depressant. Surround yourself with people you trust. Eat wisely. Don't eat late at night. Plan activities that you enjoy. Allow yourself to rest, but in short intervals. Talk to your physician to make sure its not a symptom of another health concern. If you're still feeling sad or depressed then ask for professional help. Its not as bad as you think. Lots of people see a therapist. A psychotherapist can assess the level of your depression and find the right treatment for you. You really don't have to hurt, from depression. ~ Nancy

Thursday, April 18, 2013


It's been a few days since the Marathon in Boston, and I'm still sitting here in disbelief. Questions we ask ourselves continue to ring in my head, "Why would someone do this? How can such innocent people be hurt so horrifically? How fragile are we, that our lives can change in a moment?" No answers make sense to these questions. They don't ease the pain of the victims and their families. Loss is felt deeply and has forever changed our lives. So what can we do to cope? There aren't any easy answers. But it's important to talk with others, share your fears, reach out, don't hold it in.  What inspired me, was hearing how the runners kept running to the hospital to donate blood. This is an example of doing what we can in the face of tragedy. Lets continue to move forward and help each other. Reach out, volunteer, be kind and better listeners. Don't be quick to judge. And, most importantly, appreciate the moment we are in. ~ Nancy

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Starting a psychotherapy practice in Alpharetta, GA

"Starting over"

I recently moved to Atlanta and opened a private practice, offering psychotherapy to adults, teens and couples. I am so excited to start networking and meeting new clients. I've been a therapist for 25 years and I understand that making the first appointment is often the most difficult step. Please feel free to call or email and I'll personally respond.  We can schedule an appointment at your convenience or just talk about what you need.  ~Nancy Shertok