About Us

Annette K. Schreiber, Ph.D., Licensed Professional Counselor #37PC00375600:

Annette is a true South Jersey native. Born in Atlantic City, she grew up in Brant Beach, went to Elementary School on Long Beach Island, and attended Southern Regional High School. She graduated with Highest Honors from Stockton State College with a B.A.in Psychology. She later earned her M.A. in Psychological Counseling from Monmouth University, and her Ph.D., also in Psychological Counseling, from Union Institute and University.

She completed her doctoral internship at the Richard Stockton Counseling Center, where she also taught as a member of the adjunct faculty. One of her specialties is working with college students.

Annette was a professional hypnotist in private practice for many years, and an instructor in hypnosis at the Soutnern Regional and Pinelands Regional Adult Community Education programs. She was the Editor of the International Journal of Professional Hypnosis, and has presented at conferences of the International Hypnosis Hall of Fame and the New Jersey Regional Mental Health Counselors Association. Annette holds a diplomate from the National Board for Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists.

Annette is one of North America's foremost experts on the British Royal Family, which was the subject of her doctoral dissertation, using Bowen Family Systems Theory. She frequently lectures at universities on this topic.

Annette is trained in Critical Incident Stress Response Debriefing, and is a member of the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation.

Don E. Gibbons, Ph.D., NJ Licensed Psychologist #03510:

Don Gibbons was born in Portland, Oregon, and has lived in several parts of the U.S. Don received his Psychology training at the University of California, Riverside, and Claremont Graduate University. He has taught at the University of Portland, the University of West Georgia, and DeSales University, where he was Chairman of the Psychology Department.

Don originated the "Best Me" technique of multimodal suggestion, and was the first to identify the process of hyperempiria,, or the suggestion-based enhancement of experience, as a catalyst for growth and change. Don has written five books, presented at many professional conferences, published in scholarly journals, and has presented at the American Psychological Association and the British Royal Society of medicine. He and is the senior author of the chapter on hypnotic induction procedures in the latest edition of the Handbook of Clinical Hypnosis, published by the American Psychological Association in 2010. He also initiated the petition to establish the Division of Humanistic Psychology within the American Psychological Association.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Sandy and Societal Stresses – Why We Go to Counseling Today  

New Center for Counseling & Psychotherapy Has New Location
By MARIA SCANDALE | Apr 25, 2013

Photo by: Maria Scandale

                                                                                                                 "Keep Calm, Call a Counselor,"  advises the version of the “Keep Calm” posters that have popped up this year, customized to all sorts of societal crises. A postcard version hangs outside the door of the new office location of the New Center for Counseling and Psychotherapy at 703 Mill Creek Rd., Suite G-1, in Manahawkin

From the comfort zone of the living room-like d├ęcor, the frustrations from Superstorm Sandy bubble out and begin to release as clients talk. The end of April is a six-month benchmark since the storm. It can underscore frustration and disillusionment for those whose lives are not returned to normal – having a home is a basic need, not only for survival, but for emotional health.
“Most people have maxed out their stress cards,” said psychologist Don E. Gibbons. “One woman who lost her house in the storm texted me a couple months ago: ‘I’m headed for your office and a meltdown.’”
The New Center for Counseling and Psychotherapy was opened 10 years ago by the husband and wife team of Gibbons and Annette Schreiber, both of whom hold doctoral degrees.
Gibbons originated the “Best Me” technique of multi-modal suggestion, and was the first to identify the process of hyperempiria, or the suggestion-based enhancement of experience, as a catalyst for growth and change. He has written five books, presented at many professional conferences, published in scholarly journals, and has presented at the American Psychological Association and the British Royal Society of medicine. He is the senior author of the chapter on hypnotic induction procedures in the latest edition of theHandbook of Clinical Hypnosis, published by the American Psychological Association in 2010.  
Schreiber is a licensed professional counselor who holds a Ph.D in psychological counseling. As a certified clinical mental health counselor, she volunteered with the American Red Cross at the emergency evacuation shelter set up at Southern Regional High School during the storm. Her efforts were featured in an article in the online edition of Counseling Today. After receiving training from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, she is also a tobacco dependence treatment specialist. She was the editor of the International Journal of Professional Hypnosis, and has presented at conferences of the International Hypnosis Hall of Fame and the New Jersey Regional Mental Health Counselors Association.
She described much of her initial post-storm work at the emergency shelter as “psychological first aid,” which starts as “you sit down and you just chat.” Because she could tell Sandy victims that one of her first memories as a young child in Brant Beach was evacuating from Hurricane Donna in the 1960s, that helped to establish a rapport.
A month or two after Sandy, Schreiber was still getting calls, to the effect of “it has just hit me what I lost.” The New Center, as the name is shortened in conversation, has been working with clients and helping them cope.
Storm-induced change in the area is not the only issue that brings clients in, although it continues to permeate many aspects of home, work and school life. Sharing office space at the New Center for the past nine years is Mary J. O’Meara, who has been a licensed professional counselor in several school districts. A resident of the Dunes section of Long Beach Township, she and her husband are still working to get their own home back to pre-storm condition. 
Said O’Meara, “In many cases, the children were displaced from their homes, they were displaced from their school and the parents who had businesses were displaced from their businesses, so in every aspect of their life they were affected. Children lost their clothing and their toys. And in some of the families who stayed, I think there were some children who actually saw the water coming up the street. That’s traumatic for kids.”
“It’s traumatic for adults,” added Schreiber.
Lashing wind and thieving water added injury to many people who already suffered from anxiety. 
“I think all three of us had clients who were already emotionally fragile and then when the storm hit and they were displaced, that was the tipping point,” Schreiber observed. “They were displaced or lived in a cold house for a couple of weeks with no electricity. We were screaming at insurance companies who were out in Chicago, telling them, can you imagine what it’s like for a client who already is psychologically fragile to have lost their home or see the water creeping up to her front door and surrounding her house or losing everything?”
Licensed as a psychologist as opposed to a professional counselor, Gibbons’ part of the practice takes Medicare. Therefore, he sees many senior citizen clients. Sandy’s assault coming at their time of life had specific effects. 
“They had a nice little house to retire in and they were making it, and all of the sudden, they lose the house,” Gibbons said.
O’Meara added, “One man said to me that in 24 hours he lost his home and all the stuff in his shop, his furniture was gone, his equipment was gone, and he had to start from scratch again.”
“Meditation has been helpful,” Gibbons said, “because it teaches that happiness lies within you and not in external things, which is what we believe so much in this culture.” 
The counselors use a broad range of techniques, including Adlerian, bilateral stimulation, client-centered, cognitive-behavioral, family systems, hypnosis, interpersonal, humanistic, and psychodynamic approaches.
Counseling techiques may vary, but they start with the all-important salve of listening. It is said that the relationship formed between the counselor and the client is a large part of what does the healing, Schreiber noted.
She added that the community coming together to help each other has been a healer. And one of the most overlooked realizations is that it’s OK to “have compassion for yourself.” 
The turn of phrase “Keep Calm, Call a Counselor” was adopted by the American Counseling Association as April is Counseling Awareness Month.
“The story goes that King George VI, on the eve of World War II, said, ‘Keep calm and carry on,’” explained Gibbons.  
“Counseling can help. Don’t wait until your head’s exploding; if you see trouble brewing, that’s the time to call and talk to somebody before it does become a crisis, before you end up in the hospital, before you become suicidal,” summed up Schreiber.   
Apart From Sandy, Societal Stresses
The practice was first established in Barnegat, then moved to offices at the Causeway in Ship Bottom, and now set up off-Island in Manahawkin to be centered where evacuation will not be an issue again.
People have sought out counseling for a myriad of reasons, or sometimes, it’s because they are ready for a change, but find themselves “stuck.”
The following include areas where the counselors can help, listed their website: healing wounds and recovering from infidelity; getting the love you want; job problems, such as dealing with the stress of finding work, or politics at work; stress and anger issues; coping with grief and loss; anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder; adult survivors of child abuse; staying clean and sober from addictions; learning to manage pain and cope with chronic illness; court-ordered evaluations; lap-banding evaluations.
“People come to us for a lot of reasons – depression, anxiety. I see a lot of people who have trauma backgrounds, such as post-traumatic stress disorder,” Schreiber said.
Observed Gibbons, “A lot of times, the people who come for counseling aren’t the ones who needed to come – it’s because other people are driving them nuts, and they become the identified patient in a sick family. Then they go for counseling, but the ones who need it don’t go.”
Schreiber continued on that note, “And from my perspective, it seems to be young women who are the most vulnerable. Whether it’s siblings, aunts or whatever, they work part-time or go to college where the rest of the family are alcoholics or drug addicts, and they make life hell for the functional one. So the functional one ends up in counseling.”
Relationships face challenges in a stressful America, when the divorce rate nears 50 percent today.  
“I work with individuals who are separated, divorcing or contemplating it, (situations such as) ‘my spouse has just moved out; now what do I do? Or, my marriage is crumbling; how do I cope with it?’” Schreiber said.
“First of all, they need somebody to talk to who is not their mother, not their sister, not their best friend saying ‘I never wanted you to marry him anyway.’ We are not judgmental; we are objective. We are that one step back and can just let the person tell their story. And a lot of times, just talking it out helps to clarify … and validate their feelings. I hear a lot of people  say, ‘Is that normal to feel that way?’ Yeah, you and thousands of other people.”
O’Meara sees couples for marital therapy, but her practice is predominately with adolescents and children having issues such as anxiety and depression, oppositional defiance disorder, and poor school performance.  
In working with children and teens, O’Meara involves the parents in the treatment, often offering parenting strategies to help their children. She worked for 20 years in the East Hanover school system before, in this area, counseling in Barnegat and Tuckerton elementary schools and at St. Francis Center. She currently counsels in the Beach Haven School District. She is a grandmother of 11 children.  
Anger can result from “just the stress of what life is like. Children and parents are overprogrammed,” O’Meara said. Two parents are working, and it’s also the activities that children have. They’re busy every afternoon of the week a lot of times, and there’s homework to do when they get back from the activities, and parents sometimes have to be involved in helping with that.  
“I think the parents don’t want to have their child miss anything. I had a 13-year-old boy say to me the other day that he was so glad he wasn’t playing soccer this season so he could actually get a little more sleep and have less stress,” O’Meara said.
Coping skills can also include how to handle anger, or how to manage anxiety. For teenaged girls, there is a lot of societal anxiety connected to school life.  
“We’ve been like the Three Musketeers,” said Schreiber. “Between the three of us, we cover from children all the way to seniors.”
Most insurance is accepted; see the website for more information. The New Center for Counseling & Psychotherapy also welcomes those who do not have insurance or are under-insured.
The website is newcenterforcounseling.com. The Facebook page is The New Center for Counseling & Psychotherapy, LLC. The phone number is 609-494-0009.   

How to Actually DO What You Put Off

 This free downloadable  ABC worksheet from the folks at www.smartrecovery.com  shows you how to apply the principles of cogniive-behaviorl psychology to take control of your life in matters large and small. You can use it for everything from paying your bills on time, to stopping smoking, or deciding on which career path to follow.

It first asks you about the causes of something you would like to change in your life, and then asks about the emotional consequences which were the result, your beliefs about what happened, what beliefs could be substituted for the ones which brought about the unpleasant results, and how those changed beliefs make you feel.

You can write on the form itself, clearing and changing it as often as you like. Then, when you are finished, you can either print it out or save it as a text file, using a different form for each problem you would like to work on. To re-examine it or re-do each form that you have completed, just call up that particular file and continue to modify it as you progress.

It could prove to be extremely helpful if you are willing to give it a try!


Friday, September 5, 2014

False Perceptions Which Drive People Crazy

It isn't what happens to us, but what we think about what happens to us that matters most.

The Greek philosopher Epictetus said, "Men are disturbed not by events, but by the views which they take of them;" and Shakespeare said, "There is nothing good nor bad, but thinking makes it so."

Most of us have probably heard the expression, "Looking at the world through rose-colored glasses." Sometimes, we tend to look at the world through mud-colored glasses! Most of us have one or more ways of perceiving things which make them appear to be much worse than they actually are. See how many of these thought patterns might be clouding your own view of the world.

All-or-nothing thinking: Everything is good or bad, with nothing in between. If you aren't perfect, then you're a failure.

Overgeneralization: A single negative event turns into a never-ending pattern of defeat. "I didn't get a phone call.I'll never hear from anybody again."

Mental filter: One single negative thing colors everything else. When you're depressed, it sometimes feels like you're "looking at the world through mud-colored glasses."

Disqualifying the positive: If somebody says something good about you, it doesn't count. But if somebody says something bad about you, you "knew it all along."

Jumping to conclusions: You make a negative interpretation even though there are no definite facts that convincingly support your conclusion.

Mind reading: You think somebody is thinking negative things about you and don't bother to check it out. You just assume that he is.

The Fortune Teller Error: You think that things are going to turn out badly, and convince yourself that this is already a fact.

Magnification (catastrophizing) or minimization: Imagine that you're looking at yourself or somebodyelse through a pair of binoculars. You might think that a mistake you made or somebody else's achievement are more important than they really are. Now imagine that you've turned the binoculars around and you're looking through them backwards. Something you've done might look less important than it really is, and somebody else's faults might look less important than they really are.

Emotional reasoning: You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things reallyare: "I feel it, therefore it must be true."

Should statements: You beat up on yourself as a way of getting motivated to do something. You"should" do this, you "must" to this, you "ought" to do this, and so on. This doesn't make you want to doit, it only makes you feel guilty. When you direct should statements toward others, you feel anger,frustration, and resentment.

Labeling and mislabeling: This is an extreme form of overgeneralization. When you make a mistake,you give yourself a label, such as, "I'm a loser." When someone else's behavior rubs you the wrong way,you attach a negative label to him, "He's an ass." Mislabeling involves describing an event with languagethat is highly colored and emotionally loaded.

Personalization: You believe that you were the cause of something bad that happened, when you really didn't have very much to do with it.  

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Superstorm Sandy and Anniversary Reactions

by Annette K. Schreiber, Ph.D., LPC

A nodal event is an event in a person's, family's, community's or country's life that affects it profoundly. Some events are positive, like the election of a president or the birth of a Royal baby. Some events, however, are so negative, that they throw everything out of equilibrium. Sandy was such an event.

The Jersey Coast and those of us who were personally affected by the storm know that things will forever be different. We, as individuals, families and communities, have been knocked off balance. Everything has changed, as we search for the "new normal."

When we approach anniversaries of negative nodal events, we may find that we don't feel "quite right." We may become symptomatic in many ways, physically, emotionally or behaviorally. One person may get a bad cold, or break out in a rash. Another may quietly get drunk, or not so quietly go speeding down the highway and get a bunch of tickets. And most people have emotional upsets. Feeling depressed, sad, irritable, anxious, or having panic attacks are ways that many people "mark" these anniversaries. Why? Do we decide this is how we are going to observe the anniversary of Sandy? No, it is not a conscious decision. Each individual is part of a system: a family, a community or a country. And if the system is out of equilibrium, there are shockwaves that reverberate throughout all parts of the system, bringing on symptoms.

Six months after Sandy, many members of our communities remain in deep trouble. The disillusionment stage of recovery has set it. The insurance companies, FEMA, SBA, the local, state and federal governments aren't moving fast enough to get people back in their homes, or their businesses up and running. Many people remain displaced, and have lost everything they owned and are desperately trying to figure out how to move forward.

But, there are random acts of kindness, people volunteering and giving, and countless fundraisers. Groups of people gather in formal and informal support groups to help themselves and others make sense of it all, and to draw strength from each other.

So, if in the next week or so, you don't feel "quite right," realize that you are not alone in feeling this way, and that we have all been knocked for a loop. But our people and our communities are strong -- Jersey Strong, so Keep Calm, and Carry On!