Dr. Richard Shadick

Licensed Psychologist - Psychotherapy, Testing

Have you suffered a loss from a divorce? Lost a loved one in unexpected or traumatic circumstances or perhaps to suicide? These are some areas of my expertise but I have broad experience in many areas. Please read on to learn more about the work I do. Feel free to email me if you have any questions or visit the links to the left to learn about my clinical and research work.

I work with teens,  adults, and families. I have particular expertise in those who have experienced divorce, survivors of trauma, and those who have lost loved ones to suicide. I also work extensively with college students with such issues as academic performance, identity, and substance use. I am certified with American Association of Suicidology as s suicide prevention specialist. 

With my clients I create a safe and supportive environment and find that clients are better able to openly explore their feelings in that way. I strive to understand the concerns my clients come to me with and to empower them to effect change in their lives.

I practice therapy primarily from a psychodynamic perspective, which means that I believe one's previous relationships and experiences have an influence on one's present problems. By exploring both the past and the present, clients are better able to develop relationships and make changes in their lives. I also work from a cognitive-behavioral approach when there are specific problems that need to be worked on in a brief period of time.

What can you expect in a first meeting? You will get an opportunity to talk about the concerns you are experiencing as well as the history of your problem. We will also talk about your broader life so that I may understand who you are as a person. At the end of the meeting you will be able to ask questions and hear my ideas about how to develop solutions for your concerns.

 

Office Location:

242 East 19th Street (between 2nd and 3rd)

New York NY 10003

 

 

What to do with Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day – the time of year where the “haves”, “have-nots”, and “don’t-cares” bicker about how or if to celebrate romantic love. To say that Valentine’s Day is a recognized holiday for all is to step onto something akin to a battlefield (an irony that harkens back to the dark history of St. Valentine).

To address this issue we should look at some statistics. Approximately 44% of adults in the United States are single and of course the majority of college students are not in a committed relationship. Data from a survey at the Counseling Center at Pace University indicates only 30% of respondents are in a relationship. With so many without a traditional partner, is Valentine’s Day irrelevant for the majority of us? Well one could argue that point however that leaves a lot of messy feelings and no place to put them.

So, for those who care about Valentine’s Day, it makes sense that we re-vision the holiday as a holiday for love of all kinds, not just one kind. This allows us to spend time with anyone of our choosing. For this holiday, get together with friends, family, partners, or your pet and celebrate in some meaningful way. Have a party, go to dinner, see a movie, or treat yourself to something special.

2016 Is Testing Us. Here’s How to Get An A.

For most, this has been a challenging year. The past 12 months have been in our face, a barrage of tweets, blogs, sensational headlines, and viral videos.  Violence seems everywhere: racial profiling, terrorist attacks, the murder of policemen, peaceful protests met with aggression, and hate crimes on the rise. Vitriolic partisan stalemates and election stress have only made things worse. And if that isn’t enough, this year has had 15 large-scale disasters and another record-breaking global temperature high. All of this can leave us feeling stressed, traumatized, anxious, or depressed.

As the year winds down, it is very tempting to see 2016 as unusual, as a bad year. It is appealing to try and forget it, put it behind us, and move on. My advice is, don’t.

These events are unfortunately not an aberration; it is likely that more of these events and issues will come. So rather than stick our head in the sand, it is far more effective—and healthy—to be curious about the issues, learn about what disturbs you about them, and then act accordingly. How? Take these three steps.

First, don’t let hate beget more hate. We become the very thing we do not like and want in our world if we respond to these events with bitterness, anger, or retaliation. Let your feelings of hurt, anxiety, or anger transform into energy for positive change. If confronted with negativity, respond with positivity or in the words of our First Lady, “When they go low, we go high.”

Second, don’t just do something; sit there. So much is said by so many and yet no one is being heard. It is this absence of meaningful dialogue that contributes to many of the problems we face today. So, don’t just do something, sit there—listen and learn about the issue. Once someone feels heard, it is more likely that they will listen, too.

Third, don’t give up; the secret to overcoming is persistence. If you don’t like a situation, work to make it better. Change can take time so be patient. Start by choosing a cause you believe in and mobilize: Sign a petition, join a protest or town meeting, volunteer, engage in a dialogue, or donate to a cause. Connect with others to gain momentum and make it social. The act of doing something can lead to feeling better.

While this may sound like a primer for political action, it is not. Striking the right tone, listening, and persistent action are the keys to good communication and mental health. Decades of research in clinical science has shown that this approach is the key to overcoming stress, trauma, and suffering. It is the way to move forward and grow healthier. It is what we in the mental health world call post-traumatic growth. Stuffing feelings lead to body symptoms like headaches, stomachaches, and lower back pain. Working through your feelings leads to a more positive, healthy life.

So before you wave goodbye to 2016, take the right attitude, listen, and empower yourself to act—and have a happy and healthy new year.

"Teenagers, Medication, and Suicide" in the NY Times

In the NY Times article "Teenagers, Medication, and Suicide" Richard Friedman discusses the importance of antidepressant medication use for the treatment of depression and suicide. He provides a fair amount of data to support the use of medication to treat depression. He suggests that an appeal of the black box label (a warning that indicates sometimes this medication may cause suicidal ideation) on antidepressant medication will further increase medication use. Given the low incidence of suicide from the medication use, it makes sense to suggest such an approach. However, it is even more important to inform the reader that medication with psychotherapy is  more effective than medication alone and it has the added advantage of weekly monitoring of medication user so that suicidal ideation can be addressed.

Mental Health Town Hall

On Tuesday April 1st, Pace University is hosting a Town Hall dedicated to the Mental Health and Wellness of college students. The event, taking place at the Schimmel Center, is presented by the Clinton Foundation, the Jed Foundation, and Facebook - and is scheduled to be streamed live! Click below to attend online. You are welcome to attend in person as well (follow this link to do so: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/mental-health-wellness-on-campus-a-town-hall-without-walls-tickets-11009167717).

Join the online discussion with the Clinton Foundation, The Jed Foundation, and Facebook about mental health and wellness on college campuses with:Moderator: Dr. Gail Saltz, Mental Health Contributor to NBC's The Today Show, Dr. Mark Brackett, Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Michael Botticelli, Director of the White House Office on National Drug Control Policy, Misha Kessler, The Jed Foundation's 2013 Student Voice of Mental Health Award recipient, The George Washington University '13, Dr. Richard Shadick, Director, Pace University Counseling Center and Adjunct Professor of Psychology, Starshell, Singer-Songwriter and Young Adult Mental Health Advocate. With a special performance from “The Reality Show: NYU” – an award-winning, compelling program developed to help address the health needs of students.

Submit your questions using #myhealthyU.

 

 

 

 

 

Members of a very small club?

In the New York Times there is a piece entitled "Members of a Very Small Club" written by a woman who lost her mother to suicide when she was very young but did not know anyone else who lost a loved one until she was well into her 30s. She wrote a poignant piece indeed but it was surprising to hear that she has met so few that have been touched by suicide! Based upon the number of suicide deaths in the U.S. in the past 30 years, there are at least 5 million who lost someone dear to them and perhaps triple the number of people who knew someone less intimately. It isn't such a small club. Unfortunately the shame and suffering keeps people from getting the help they need. There are a number of excellent organizations available to suicide survivors; they are just a web search away.

College Transition Made Easier

This week and next, tens of thousands of college students will be checking into their residence hall rooms, beginning classes, and confronting the difficult task of separating from family and friends. Individuation is not easy and students require support of all kinds. Here is a resource I frequently refer parents to: Transition Year .

Each year parents of college students get distracted by the immediate financial issues of tuition, room, and board and forget to protect their investment by talking with their students about all of the challenges their students will face- roommates, new friends, academic pressures, and choices about substance use and sexual practices. Each of these challenges have the potential of derailing their students. Parents, now is the time to have those conversations.

Hook ups, defined

This week the NY Times ran an article on female college student casual sexual behavior, often referred to as "hook ups", at an Ivy League university. The author discusses the phenomena when interviewing 60 domestic and international undergraduates from various SES and ethnic backgrounds (but no mention of Lesbian or Bisexual women!). She makes the case that hook ups are so common because these young women have little time for relationships, they are more interested in school and being successful in their future career. While this may partly explain the behavior it leaves out important explications such the fact that this generation is brought up on the expectation that immediate gratification is both possible and desirable and easily delivered by social media and other technology.

Change the associations...cure the suicide

A lengthy article in the NY Times, "The Suicide Detective" discusses a psychologist's work to try and understand the phenomena of suicide. Dr. Matthew Nock uses the Implicit Association Test (I.A.T.) to ascertain, with some impressive accuracy, who is likely to kill themselves. Excerpted below is his "take-away" message from the I.A.T. research and how he applies it to treatment. He seems to be saying implicitly (pun intended) that Sigmund Freud and Aaron Beck are correct about the suicidal mind. It also suggests that our belief that psychotherapy, particularly the kind that incorporates mindfulness, is the curative agent for individuals who struggle with suicide is correct.

Here is the excerpt from the article:

"Right now, we ask people if they’re suicidal,” Nock said. “And if they say yes, we give them medication to try and make them less depressed or less anxious or less psychotic or to have a more stable mood. And then we talk to them. We do talk therapy. And essentially talk them into not being suicidal anymore. And this over all as a strategy for many people does not seem to be curative.” But if doctors could see which patients are suicidal at a given moment, they might be able to retrain their self-destructive thinking based on their test scores. If, as the I.A.T. seems to suggest, associating yourself more with dying than with living increases your risk for suicide, breaking that association might decrease it. To find out, Nock is developing computer tasks that he hopes could help get people, through rote practice, to identify more with being alive than dead. His researchers are also starting to test whether training people to think more positively about the past and the future makes them less likely to attempt suicide. Nock often talks about “turning levers,” as if he were a railroad-switch operator manning an existential junction. “Can we think of suicide as resulting from problems with memory or cognition or attention?” he said. “And if so, can we then turn levers on those things to make people less likely to think about suicide? So, it’s not giving a pill; it’s giving a training.”       

Therapy Saves Lives

In the NY Times article “Suicide Rate Rises Sharply in the US”, there is mention that the suicide rate increase is fueled by the Baby Boomer generation. Some hypotheses about why that is include the bad economy and greater use and access to lethal opioids. However, in this same group during this same period of time there is also a significant drop in psychotherapy utilization and a big increase in medication use during that time period. That seems like more than just a coincidence.  Therapy saves lives! More needs to be done to make therapy affordable and accessible to all.

7 Tips to Fewer Conflicts at Home

It doesn't get much better than this. In the April 14th "Sunday Styles" section of "The New York Times" there is a pithy article "Lessons in Domestic Diplomacy". The author, Bruce Feiler, puts aside his male privilege and openly explores, quoting conflict resolution's and psychology's best, ways to resolve conflict at home. He details 7 specific tips to traverse an argument more effectively. Save yourself some grief and read this article. It could be the most worthwhile 5 minutes you spend all week.

What is the key to online dating?

In Monday's NY Times, there was an article about the skepticism some psychologists have for online dating algorithms and their ability to make successful romantic matches. "A Match in the Code" discusses what is problematic about assuming that if potential dating partners have similarities in traits (e.g., agreeableness, degree of sexual and romantic passion) they will click. Some of the research psychologists indicate that a lot more goes into compatibility than similarities. As a psychologist who works with couples getting together and splitting up, I agree. As I mentioned in a previous blog ("Preventing Divorce Before Marriage"), expectations play a large role in dating success and marriage. Is a couple looking for a smooth ride or do they understand that a successful relationship takes a lot of hard work, perseverance, patience, and communication skills? As Dr. John Gottman demonstrated in his couples' research in which he could predict couple's divorce with 90% accuracy, the way you approach your partner when resolving issues is key. Perhaps online dating sites should consider this in their algorithm?

The Mental Health of College Students

Another recently published peer reviewed journal article has confirmed the high rate of mental health issues in college students. Education is not the cause, clearly, but as educators and clinicians we have a responsibility to do what we can to help our young adults:

“Nearly half of the college population can be diagnosed with at least one mental health disorder in a given year. Approximately one third of college students report experiencing depression that affected their ability to function in the past year (American College Health Association, 2011). Suicide, a common concomitant of depression, is a leading cause of death among college students (Suicide Prevention Resource Center, 2004). Nearly 20% of college students report seriously considering and over 7% attempting suicide in their lifetime, whereas 6.4% of students report contemplating and 1% attempting suicide in the past year alone (American College Health Association, 2011).”

Here is the reference:

*Pistorello, J., Fruzzetti, A. E., MacLane, C., Gallop, R., & Iverson, K. M. (2012). Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) applied to college students: A randomized clinical trial. Journal Of Consulting And Clinical Psychology, 80(6), 982-994. doi:10.1037/a0029096

More beds, less deaths

In reading “Focus on Mental Health Laws to Curb Violence Is Unfair, Some Say” in the New York Times I am aware that little attention has been paid to the fact Adam Lanza was suicidal. As the Director of a Counseling Center and the head of the NYC College Suicide Prevention Consortium I am persistently concerned that suicidal students who need inpatient psychiatric care cannot get it because there are so few hospital beds available for treatment. We certainly need more funding for mental health services to stem the homicides committed by mentally ill individuals with guns. But what of the data that there are many more, over 38,000, that kill themselves every year (at least half with guns)? Most of these individuals have been to a doctor within the past 30 days, just like Adam Lanza. Perhaps if there was a place for them to be treated far fewer would die.

Some good news - "After shootings, states rethink mental health cuts"

Good news, the Associated Press has an article regarding states reconsidering the mental health cuts in their budget. To date most of the dialogue coming out of the Newtown shooting has been about gun control. Equal mention of providing sufficient services for those with mental health difficulties has been lacking. Let us hope for more articles!

Preventing Divorce Before Marriage?

There is a good article in the NY Times about preventing divorce before marriage by examining one's choice. However what seems to be missing in the piece is the decision-making process around the desired "goals" of the marriage (i.e., what someone wants out of the relationship in the long term). A wonderful example is arranged marriages-they are often goal-oriented and have lower divorce rates.