44 West 62nd Street New York, NY 10023

Yorktown Heights, NY 10598
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Bernice B. Bernhard, Ph.D - Traditional Therapeutic Methods in New York


I have worked with depressed adults and children for over thirty-five years. For those who have ever suffered from depression or the varying forms of bi-polar disorder, you know that you cannot wish, hope, joke, or ignore it away. My first task as a psychotherapist is to determine whether the depression is situational, from the loss of a loved one, a job or even the loss of a dream, or whether the depression is medically based with biochemical, hormonal, or pharmaceutical causes, or whether it is a learned behavior. Once the etiology is determined, my therapeutic approach is eclectic and the psychotherapy used is best suited to the particular patient. However, a major focus for all treatment is cognitive-behavior therapy. This type of therapy aims to correct ingrained patterns of negative thoughts that influence behavior. This is sometimes combined with an alternative therapeutic method such as the Tapas Acupressure Technique where appropriate.
When the patient feels it is time for anti-depressant medication to be considered, I work closely with a psychiatrist or the primary care physician. Together with the patient, it is determined whether an anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication would be beneficial. If a patient is placed on medication, I work closely with the prescribing physician and most importantly have absolute trust in what the patient describes in terms of negative or positive physical and emotional effects. Finally, if appropriate and with permission, the depression is explained to significant people (partner, parents, adult child, spouse).
Couple walking – Counseling in New York, NY

Anxiety - including Panic Disorders and Phobias, Performance Anxiety, Sexual Anxieties

I have worked in the area of anxieties as noted above for over thirty-five years. Although each category is different, I have placed them together because my approach, while specific to the problem, is also generalized in actual technique. The first task is to evaluate what type of anxiety the patient has and then to evaluate the origins of the problem, that is, biochemical, genetic, trauma, pharmaceutical, general stress, relationship based etc. As with my treatment of depression, one of the areas to be evaluated together is whether the patient would benefit from an evaluation to determine whether anti-anxiety medication would be beneficial. As above, I work with a psychiatrist or their primary care physician and work with the patient as they determine the efficacy of the medication. Also, as with depression, an alternative method might be used in addition to traditional psychotherapy for anxiety disorder.

Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD and ADHD) Children and Adults

Attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity does not go away with maturity, but what can happen is that with understanding of the specific problem, patients can learn to compensate for the areas that cause them difficulty. These areas of difficulty cover a wide range, but include problems with judgment, relationships, focus, behavior, anger, patience. As well as academics if they are a student, and career issues if they are an adult.
Children often feel that no matter how much they try, it is never enough, both at home and at school. Help is often inadequate; therefore, two of my major goals for these children are to teach parents how to become fierce advocates in the school setting and to set gentle but very firm limits in the home setting. I view medication as the last thing to be discussed and not the first. Only when the parents, the child, the pediatric neurologist, the pediatrician and I all agree that medication is warranted will we add a pharmaceutical approach. Here, it is the parent that makes the final decision. A positive behavioral reward system may be used, but it should be tailor made for a particular child and not a cookie-cutter approach.Another important goal is to give the child or adolescent a neurological understanding, in age-appropriate terminology, of why behavior and sometimes learning are so difficult.
Child with ADHD - Counseling in New York, NY
Adults will find my approach somewhat similar to the way I work with children except with an emphasis on relationships, impulsivity, judgment, work-related issues, and memory issues like paying bills on time and being on time. I believe in building on strengths and compensating for weaknesses. As with children, behavioral tasks are given. Another important area is dealing with the spouse or partner. This is a very complicated issue and cannot be given full justice in this brief space, but I hope you have some understanding of my approach. Medication as an adjunct to the therapeutic treatment of Adult ADD or ADHD would also be explored and evaluated if this is something the patient is interested in.