dr_melissa_colon

Melissa Colon, Psy.D.

dr_melissa_colonMelissa Colon, Psy.D. completed her Bachelor of Science Degree (B.S.) from Roosevelt University of Chicago and her Doctor of Psychology Degree (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology from Adler University in Chicago.

Dr. Colon is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in Illinois specialized in Clinical Neuropsychology and Psychophysiology.  She is also a certified parent educator.  She has extensive experience in brain-mapping (QEEG) techniques, neurofeedback treatments and technologies, neuropsychological assessment, and cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Dr. Colon works with both pediatric and adult populations on an array of issues, including:  Autism, ADD / ADHD, TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), Pain Management, ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder), Parenting Techniques, Dementia, Anxiety, Depression, and Learning Disorders.

Dr. Colon joined the staff of Dr. Parisi & Associates, P.C. in 2016 and works in both inpatient and outpatient settings.  Her passion lies in the neuroscience field.  Dr. Colon enjoys keeping up with the latest research and technologies in the field of Clinical Neuropsychology and neurofeedback techniques.

Dr. Colon enjoys spending time with her family, reading, traveling, and spending time outdoors.

Self-Esteem Versus Self-Acceptance

Do you know the difference between self-esteem and self-acceptance? Is there a difference? Why is it even important? What would a counselor say?

Whether or not you use an affordable psychologist in Chicago, you have taken a moment to think about yourself and where you fit in your own world. Do you find value it or do you hold some secret insecurities? Let’s look at it from a Chicago Area Psychotherapist’s view.

Self-Esteem

Psychologists in Chicago see self-esteem as a person’s overall evaluation or his or her own worth. Self-esteem is typically based on your own value of yourself as a person, including your own emotional view of those beliefs. The belief in one’s self esteem can usually be related to one specific aspect of life. The problem with self-esteem is it can be fake. People can have high-self-esteem or pretend to because they have been told they do well at something but can be harboring serious self-doubt and insecurities.

Self-Acceptance

Our low cost psychiatrist in Chicago believes self-acceptance is a much better path to real happiness. No one is perfect. We all have our flaws, but being able to accept ourselves flaw, quirks, and all is real self-acceptance. To accept that you have aspects in life to work on and that you are not perfect gives one greater freedom to be themselves bases on real merit and not in a way that is seeking approval from others.

Self-acceptance is far more realistic way to fit yourself in to the world around you than self-esteem based on peer approval.

So what does this really mean for you? Finding self-acceptance versus building your self-esteem does not mean resigning yourself to the status quo, but rather accepting things as they are with an eye toward improving what you can and what you really want to.

We all have the goal in life to find happiness and be happy with ourselves. Dr. Parisi and Associates have play therapists, psychiatrists, and psychologists, in Chicago who can help whether your concern is your child or yourself.

For affordable counseling in Chicago and surrounding areas including Des Plaines, Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, Barrington, Hinsdale, Skokie, Lincolnwood, Park Ridge, and Wilmette, contact Dr. Parisi.

 

Ways to Reduct Your Anxiety NOW!

We all have time in our lives where we can feel the stresses of life creeping up on us. When we think of anxiety, we usually think of apprehension over an upcoming event of some kind. This can be a life change, a big meeting, a move, dinner with the in-laws, or anything that causes you to feel a little anxious.

The events that makes us anxious will be different for everyone, but it can is a real problem that can cause real physical symptoms. When truly anxious, you may experience an increased heart rate, sleep problems, sweating, mood swings, and lack of concentration.

As stressful as all that sounds, there is good news. Dr. Parisi and Associates have some tips for you to reduce your anxiety now.
Of course, if you feel that you are dealing with extreme anxiety or more than the typical symptoms, contact Dr. Parisi and Associates for a low cost psychiatrist in Chicago to help you assess the problem.

Catch some Zzzzzzs. I know, I know, we just said that sleep can be hard when you are feeling anxious, but it is important to keep with your routine and try to be consistent in your sleeping pattern. Catching that beauty rest is so important to help your body function properly. Shoot for seven to nine hours every night.

Be positive. When we feel anxious, it is easy for those negative thoughts and feelings to creep over us. Make sure you are in control of your thoughts and focus on the good in life, especially when those feelings are directed at yourself.

Plan ahead. This one will make you feel more in control of your situation. Do the simple things that you have complete control over. Set out your clothes, make a schedule, follow your to-do list, pack lunches the night before. Start building habits that increase productivity in your daily routines. These are smalls steps that help ward off anxiety when something uncontrollable pops up (which we know happens, it is called life).

Exercise and eat right. When you don’t feel well, anxiety and stress can have ben more control over you. Use food as fuel and not a way to cope. Exercise is a great way to burn off a little extra steam and wash away the day. You will feel great when you are done.
Breathe. No, seriously, just sit there and focus on your breathing and nothing else. Nice deep breaths in a quiet space. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Doesn’t that feel nice?

Most Important…
STAY IN THE MOMENT. No one can control the future. Don’t waste time worrying about something that might happen in the future and enjoy the moments you are living right now.

For more help, contact Dr. Parisi in the Chicago and surrounding areas including Des Plaines, Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, Barrington, Hinsdale, Skokie, Lincolnwood, Park Ridge, and Wilmette.

 

What are the Different Types of Psychotropic Medication?

There are many different types of psychotropic medications. Below is a list of the more popular medications along with the disorder and symptoms (and here are some of their side effects) they treat.

Depression:

Depression is treated with antidepressant medications. Antidepressants help to balance chemicals that are in our brains that affect our mood. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters and they affect our mood and emotions. These neurotransmitters are called serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. The more common antidepressants are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Some examples are:

  •  Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  •  Citalopram (Celexa)
  •  Sertraline (Zoloft)
  •  Paroxetine (Paxil)
  •  Escitalopram (Lexapro)

 

Other types of antidepressants are serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). SNRIs are similar to SSRIs. SSRIs and SNRIs are popular because they do not cause as many side effects as other types of antidepressants. Other antidepressant medications include tricyclics, tetracyclics, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). For some people, tricyclics, tetracyclics, or MAOIs may be the best option dependent on their circumstances and needs.

Schizophrenia and other Psychotic Disorders:

Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders are treated with antipsychotic medications. The older antipsychotic medications are called “typical” while the newer antipsychotic medications are referred to as “atypical” antipsychotic medication. These medications treat psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions.

‘Typical’ Antipsychotic medication:

  •  Chlorpromazine (Thorazine)
  •  Haloperidol (Haldol)
  •  Perphenazine (generic only)
  •  Fluphenazine (generic only)

 

‘Atypical’ Antipsychotic Medication:

  •  Risperidone (Risperdal)
  •  Clozapine (Clozaril)
  •  Olanzapine (Zyprexa)
  •  Quetiapine (Seroquel)
  •  Ziprasidone (Geodon)
  •  Aripiprazole (Abilify)
  •  Paliperidone (Invega)
  •  Lurasidone (Latuda)

 

Bipolar Disorder:

Bipolar disorder, also called manic-depressive disorder, is treated with mood stabilizers. At times it can be appropriate to treat bipolar disorder with antipsychotic medications or antidepressants, along with a mood stabilizer. Lithium is one of the most common mood stabilizers and is very effective. Anticonvulsant medications are sometimes used as mood stabilizers as they were found to help control mood. For some people this might work better than Lithium.

Anxiety:

Anti-anxiety medications, antidepressant, and beta-blockers all treat anxiety symptoms. Some of the commonly know disorders include OCD, PTSD, Panic disorder, Social Phobia, and Generalized Anxiety. Benzodiazepines are commonly used to treat anxiety and start working faster than antidepressants. Beta-blockers can also be used to treat anxiety as these medications help to control some of the physical symptoms of anxiety such as sweating and shaking. These medicines can help keep physical symptoms under control.

  •  Clonazepam (Klonopin)
  •  Lorazepam (Ativan)
  •  Alprazolam (Xana)

 

Contact Dr. Parisi for low cost therapy in Chicago, Mt. Prospect, and surrounding areas including Des Plaines, Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, Barrington, Hinsdale, Skokie, Lincolnwood, Park Ridge, and Wilmette.

What Should I Expect in Psychotherapy?

It’s normal to feel a little nervous or anxious when you first being psychotherapy. The first few sessions might even feel a little uncomfortable or awkward. It’s not necessarily easy to meet someone new for the first time and begin sharing your personal thoughts and feelings. But remember, as you continue in therapy you will feel more and more comfortable and at ease with discussing your issues. Your psychotherapist is specially trained and experienced in building rapport and helping you reach your goals. Every psychotherapist’s style and approach will vary, however there are some universal aspects to psychotherapy.

Throughout psychotherapy you will develop a trusting therapeutic relationship with your therapist. During this time you will have the opportunity to work on your challenges and to look deeply at your personal values and choices. Therapy is a collaborative process between you and your therapist. The more you are willing to invest yourself in this process the more impact it can have in your life. You and your therapist will explore your issues and problems through discussion. Some of your sessions may focus on your internal thought patterns, feelings, and body sensations in order to gain an understanding of different aspects of who you are and how you think. During your time in therapy you will learn to pay attention to your experiences without judgment in order to better understand how your mind works.

Your therapist may want to initially start off by gathering personal information and a history about your family, health, and education as well as administer some type of assessment or test. It is normal to begin therapy with an assessment as these tools help gather information and get an in depth understanding of your issue. The outcome of the assessment often assists the therapist in determining the best course of action for your treatment and will help guide your sessions.

Your psychotherapist will then help to clarify and educate you regarding the problem you are experiencing. After clarifying your problems, you will work together to find resolution to your issue. It is not uncommon for treatment to include other providers such as a psychiatrist. For example if you are receiving psychotherapy from a psychologist, they may refer you to a health care provider who can prescribe you medication if they believe you may benefit from it.

It is important to understand that therapy will be a challenging endeavor and often takes time and commitment. Therapy often leads to a deep personal understanding, and significant and long lasting change. You may find yourself thinking and behaving differently. In addition to this transformation you will learn new skills to help you cope with future issues and challenges.

Contact Dr. Parisi for low cost therapy in Chicago, Mt. Prospect, and surrounding areas including Des Plaines, Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, Barrington, Hinsdale, Skokie, Lincolnwood, Park Ridge, Evanston, and Wilmette.

What Should I Expect During My First Visit to a Behavioral Health Clinic?

It is common that your provider ask that you to come in several minutes early to your first appointment in order to fill out the required paperwork. A typical session can last anywhere from 45-60 minutes long so plan accordingly. During the first session your therapist may also cover the logistics of therapy, such as confidentiality, scheduling, cancelation policies, and fees. Plan your payment in advance. Prior to your first session determine whether you will be paying out-of-pocket for your services or if you will be using your health insurance plan. Some private health insurance companies may cover mental health services such as psychotherapy, but others do not. Before you begin therapy you should check your policy to see what is covered and what provider accepts your coverage. Insurance companies vary in terms of services they cover and some mental health disorders are not covered at all. Double-check with your provider in advance in order to help you plan your payment.

Conduct your research a head of time and prepare a list of questions you might have for your provider. Be prepared to share information about yourself and the issues you would like to address. Your therapist most likely will begin by ask you a series of questions to help identify what problem you would like to work on. They may begin with a simple question such as, “What brings you here today?” Be as clear as possible regarding your goals and what you would like to accomplish during your time in therapy. It is not uncommon to begin therapy with some type of assessment. These assessments help gather information and guide the course of therapy. Prepare to discuss your health, education, culture, and family circumstances. During the information gathering process your provider may recommend further psychological testing or suggest a medical examination to rule out possible medical issues.

Once your provider gathers a full history, you will work together to develop a treatment plan and establish goals. This process is collaborative and your commitment and dedication is important. After several sessions you should have a clear understanding of your issue and your treatment plan. This plan should include your goals and how you will work towards accomplishing these goals.

Contact Dr. Parisi for low cost therapy in Chicago, Mt. Prospect, and surrounding areas including Des Plaines, Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, Barrington, Hinsdale, Skokie, Lincolnwood, Park Ridge, Evanston, and Wilmette.

How Do I Know Which Type of Counseling or Style of Psychotherapy is Right for Me?

The type of psychotherapy or counseling that is best for you is largely dependent on your individual preferences and needs. There are certain techniques and approaches that are more helpful than others when dealing with specific types of problems and your therapist will be knowledgeable in those approaches. For example, panic disorder is typically treated with various forms of controlled exposure therapy as research suggests it is most effective in treatment. Arm yourself with knowledge and research about the best type of therapy pertaining to your issue. This can be helpful in narrowing down what type or style of counseling is best for you.

Psychotherapists typically use an evidence-based practice and approach towards treating psychological problems. Evidence-based practice is the integration of the best available research along with the mental health practitioner’s clinical expertise, in the context of the individual’s characteristics, culture, and preferences, (American Psychological Association, 2014). Therapists consider these factors when selecting the type of therapy for treatment. They use their knowledge in research regarding the appropriate techniques to use for a specific issue and determine what the best course of treatment is based on their past experiences treating other patients and integrate your personal preferences, character and values, (APA Policy Statement, 2005).

There are many different theoretical approaches to psychotherapy and practicing psychotherapists usually draw on one or more of these theoretical perspectives to help them understand their client’s problems. The theoretical perspective of your psychotherapist will affect what goes on in therapy. For example, therapists who utilize a cognitive-behavioral approach may assign you tasks to complete or ask that you practice a new skill outside of therapy. Where as a therapist who uses a psychoanalytic approach might focus on talking in depth about your past and present memories, thoughts, and emotions rather than doing specific tasks. Most therapists combine components from several different styles of psychotherapy and blend different approaches to tailor treatments to their clients needs.

The relationship you have with your therapist is an important one and evidence suggests that development of a good relationship between a therapist and client actually predict better outcomes in therapy. Integrated throughout therapy should be efforts from the therapist to establish a genuine, nonjudgmental, and trusting therapeutic relationship. The therapeutic relationship that is created between you and your therapist is a valuable one and this relationship can act as a catalyst to help facilitate change. After you have determined that your therapist is experienced, skilled, and knowledgeably, a good indicator of whether the type of counseling is right for you would be your comfort level working with your therapist. Most importantly, remember psychotherapy is a process. It takes time, commitment, and effort.

Contact Dr. Parisi for low cost therapy in Chicago, Mt. Prospect, and surrounding areas including Des Plaines, Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, Barrington, Hinsdale, Skokie, Lincolnwood, Park Ridge, Evanston, and Wilmette.

How Do I Know Which Mental Health Professional Is Right for Me and How Do I Select the Right One?

More and more evidence has proven that psychotherapy can help with a wide range of psychological issues. Once you have decided that you would like assistance from a mental health professional it can be a little difficult to know which mental health professional is best for you. There are many options and factors to consider when making this decision and selecting the best choice.

First consider the problem you would like to solve. In order to identify the best form of treatment it is important to identify the problem first. A thorough evaluation and assessment is a necessary first step in identifying mental health related issues. These assessments are usually called mental status exams or diagnostic evaluations. These help your provider get a better understanding of what the problem is and how it is affecting you personally. Assessment tools can be helpful by gathering important information such as health history, family history, and education, along with other cultural and social factors. This information is important for mental health professionals to know in order to determine the best course of action.

Second, it is important to determine what the best course of treatment is for your identified problem. For some issues medication might be the best approach and for other issues psychotherapy or a combination of the two is highly recommended. It is all dependent on your specific needs. For example, if you need to work with someone who can prescribe medication, a psychiatrist may be a good mental health care provider for you. If you are having marital issues, a marriage and family therapist might be a good option as they can provide psychotherapy for couples. You might even work with both a psychiatrist and a therapists depending on the issue. It’s normal to have a treatment team when dealing with complex mental health and emotional issues. Typically a good indicator of a good match will include a mental health professional with experience treating other individuals who have experienced a similar issue. A good way to determine how much experience they have is simply by asking.

Regardless of which mental health care professional you initially see they will have knowledge of the treatment options that are available for you, as well as knowledge of your identified mental health condition. They can help educate you on your best options. The best option will most likely be different for each individual depending on his or her circumstances. Most mental health professionals can provide treatment for a wide range of issues and have had extensive training and experience in treating these issues. Ask your mental health care provider what their history or experience is in treating issues similar to the one you are experiencing.

Last, consider your finances, personal preferences, culture, values, and character. Mental health providers and clients work together and the right match is important. Once you have determined that the provider you are working with has the correct credentials, background, and competence, consider your level of personal comfort with the provider and their approach towards treatment. Establishing rapport and trust is a critical aspect of treatment. Choose someone who you feel comfortable and safe with.

Contact Dr. Parisi for low cost therapy in Chicago, Mt. Prospect, and surrounding areas including Des Plaines, Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, Barrington, Hinsdale, Skokie, Lincolnwood, Park Ridge, Evanston, and Wilmette.

What is the Difference Between Counseling and Psychotherapy?

What is the difference between counseling and psychotherapy? Is there a difference? This answer can be a bit confusing at times, but put simply these terms have similar meanings among individuals in the helping profession and are often used interchangeably. There are some subtle differences among the terms, however most of the time they may be referring to the same concept or idea.

The nature and purpose of psychotherapy is to promote growth and self-discovery in an interactive and safe environment. Psychotherapists are specially trained to use therapeutic techniques and interactions in order to treat psychological conditions. Psychotherapists use a wide range of different techniques based on theoretical concepts to increase an individual’s overall sense of well-being. The American Psychological Association defines the term psychotherapy as, “Any group of therapies, used to treat psychological disorders, that focus on changing faulty behaviors, thoughts, perceptions, and emotions that may be associated with specific disorders” (APA, 2014). Essentially psychotherapy is a term used to describe a therapeutic process that occurs between a therapist and a client; this process is interactive and collaborative, and aimed at improving emotions and behaviors.

Counseling has a broader meaning and is defined as, “the act of consultation, exchanging opinions and ideas from a knowledgeable or specialized person”(Merriam-Webster, 2014). Typically counseling refers to a specific consultation regarding a particular problem or symptom. Therefore one can receive counseling from an individual who is educated or skilled in any specified topic, for example legal counseling, finical counseling, or psychological counseling. In the mental health profession a counseling psychologist is defined as, “A psychologist who specializes in providing guidance in specific areas” (APA, 2014). These specialized areas can include substance abuse, marital conflict, school problems, vocational selection and more. Counseling psychologists may also use a wide range of therapeutic techniques to help treat a variety of psychological problems.

Psychotherapy is generally a longer process that usually focuses on chronic emotional or psychological problems, where as counseling is typically shorter in duration and focuses on a specific problem. Counseling often involves giving advice and directive guidance regarding an issue that is currently taking place, while psychotherapy may aim to explore past events, thoughts, emotions and the impact these have on thoughts and behavior. There is a lot of overlap between the two terms and there meaning. Individuals who are trained to provide psychotherapy may also provide counseling, such as Psychologists and Marriage and Family Therapists, a Counselor may or may not be trained to provide psychotherapy, such as a Vocational Counselors.

Contact Dr. Parisi for low cost therapy in Chicago, Mt. Prospect, and surrounding areas including Des Plaines, Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, Barrington, Hinsdale, Skokie, Lincolnwood, Park Ridge, Evanston, and Wilmette.

How Does Psychological Trauma Affect People?

Psychological trauma is damage that occurs to a person’s psyche as the result of a traumatic event.  A traumatic event can be a single experience or one that consists of repeated events that overwhelm someone beyond his or her means of coping. However, the actual effects of the trauma may be delayed for years before a person actually experiences the symptoms.

Psychological Trauma may be the result of exposure to natural disasters, war, abuse, rape, assault, death, or any situation which is beyond the scope of normal, everyday experience.

In many cases, psychological trauma occurs when there is some sort of physical trauma involved.  But, it is important to understand that people perceive and experience things differently.  Not all people who experience trauma cope the same way, and, so, it is important to know the symptoms of abnormal coping so that proper help can be sought.

The symptoms of psychological trauma may include:

• A person may re-experience the trauma through flashbacks.

• Intense feelings of anger may come about.

• A person may experience blockages in their memory surrounding the event.

• A person may feel emotionally exhausted.

• A feeling of permanent damage may come about.  A person may feel that they are damaged beyond repair.

• Dissociating from painful emotion by numbing of all emotion.

• A person may experience insomnia.

These are some of the symptoms that an individual may experience when exposed to trauma.  Since people cope with trauma differently, they may experience these symptoms or other symptoms such as mood swings and depression.

It is important to seek out a licensed mental health professional to work through emotional problems resulting from traumatic exposure.  Psychotherapy can be extremely helpful in helping individuals work through the pain associated with traumatic exposure; sometimes, prescribed medications can assist the healing process.  Often times, a combination approach produces the most lasting, effective results.