Keri Downs, Psy.D.

Keri Downs, Psy.D. is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in the State of Illinois.  She completed her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology at Dartmouth College in 2003.  Keri went on to earn her Master of Arts Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Boston University and Doctor of Psychology Degree (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology from Roosevelt University in Chicago.  Keri has experience working with various populations in a variety of settings, including residential treatment centers, therapeutic day schools, public school systems, inpatient hospitals, and outpatient clinics throughout the Chicagoland and Metro Boston areas.

Keri has special interest in working with children and adolescents, trauma, and diversity issues and is trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT).  Through her doctoral dissertation, Keri explored racial identification in black-white biracial children.  Keri’s approach to psychotherapy encompasses a wide range of interventions that typically rooted in strengths-based, relationship-based, and cognitive-behavioral theories.  She is aware of the strengths of her clients and their families and, whenever possible, incorporates creative approaches into all modalities of therapy.  Keri also believes that the therapeutic relationship is a powerful tool to help individuals gain deeper awareness and insight into their emotions, behaviors, and relationships.

Keri joined Dr. Parisi & Associates, P.C. in 2017 and works as an outpatient psychotherapist in his Chicago office providing psychological testing and counseling services to children, adolescents, and adults.  Keri has a passion for playing basketball and boxing and she is an avid fan of hometown teams (DISCLAIMER:  Since moving here, Keri has opened up her heart to the Chicago teams as well!! 😀 ).

Jovel Broqueza, MSN, APN

Ms. Jovel Broqueza is a Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (AMCC) and a member of the Sigma Theta Tau National Honor Society.  She earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from St. Paul University, Philippines, and her Master of Science Degree in Nursing at North Park University in Chicago.

While working as a Registered Nurse, Jovel became extremely passionate about health promotion and prevention.  She decided to focus her energy on becoming a family nurse practitioner with the goal of helping to empower patients in managing their chronic diseases using a holistic approach that will, in turn, decrease hospital admissions.  Jovel’s extensive healthcare career has resulted in her exposure to many areas of nursing including weight loss management, chronic disease management, mental health assessment, psychotropic medication management, and nursing education.

Jovel joining Dr. Parisi & Associates, P.C. in 2016.  She is also a visiting professor at Chamberlain College of Nursing and an adjunct faculty member at the College of DuPage.

Kathleen Alberts, LCPC, CCSOTS

kathleen_albertsMs. Kathleen Alberts, LCPC, CCSOTS is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) in the State of Illinois and a Clinically Certified Sex Offender Treatment Specialist (CCSOTS).  Kathleen earned her Bachelors of Social Worker (BSW) and Masters of Social Work (MSW) Degrees Summa Cum Laude from George Williams College of Social Work at Aurora University in Aurora, Illinois.

Kathleen’s career in behavioral healthcare spans over two decades where she has worked in nearly every capacity imaginable.  She has served as Clinical Director of the Adolescent Sex Offender Treatment Unit with the Friends of Children under Supervision Program in Illinois.  She also worked at the non-defunct UHS, Streamwood Behavioral Health Systems Residential Program and has worked in private practice since 1993 serving all age groups with an emphasis on treating children and adolescents, self-harming behaviors, victims of crime / abuse, PTSD, bullying, domestic violence, sexual harassment, families, parenting, marriage counseling, court-approved divorce and family mediation, court-appointed child custody evaluation, court-appointed expert on child behavior and emotional disorders and families, Sex Offender Treatment and Assessment (SOMB Approved), supervision, and psychiatric assessment and treatment of anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and personality disorders.  Kathleen’s treatment style is eclectic and borrows from CBT, DBT,  family systems, trauma-focused psychotherapy, solution-focused psychotherapy, mindfulness, and play therapy.

Kathleen lives in the Western suburbs and joined the staff of Dr. Parisi & Associates, P.C. as an outpatient psychotherapist at his Mount Prospect office in 2015.

Sandi Jiongco, MSN, APN

sandi_jiongcoMs. Sandi Jiongco, MSN, APN is an American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner.  Sandi completed her Bachelors of Nursing Degree (BSN) with a minor in Family Studies from Marquette University and went on to complete her Masters of Nursing Degree (MSN) from Olivet Nazarene University in 2013.  She also has a Masters Degree in Health Law and Policy with distinction from DePaul University in Chicago.  Her thesis examined the socioeconomic factors affecting obstetrical length of stay.  Sandi has a wide array of skills and experience, ranging from working in provider relations, contracting, and utilization management with a large insurance company to working with the entire lifespan of age groups in clinics, hospitals and school settings.

Since becoming a Board-Certified Nurse Practitioner, Sandi has been employed at an outpatient wound care and hyperbaric oxygen clinic.  As part of her wound care practice, Sandi has earned several wound care specialty certifications.  Sandi has always had a keen interest in working in behavioral healthcare.  As a primary care provider, she frequently found herself managing psychotropic medications.  In this sense, Sandi views her work with Dr. Parisi & Associates, P.C. as a natural extension of her work as a primary care provider.

Sandi grew up on a farm in a small town in Southern Wisconsin.  She is married and enjoys spending time with her husband and special needs teenage son.  Her hobbies include horseback riding and catching up on sitcoms.  Sandi is a strong advocate for those with autism and other developmental delays.  Sandi takes pride in thinking outside of the box to assist her clients in achieving their healthcare goals.

Seeking Compensation: Physical vs Mental Pain

Mental PainWhen it comes to the court room we are quite familiar with law suits over physical injuries like broken bones and bruises but are you aware of the many law suites occurring over mental pain as well? Law suits are filed every day on behalf of mental pain such as anguish, emotional distress, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and so on. But do these victims seeking mental compensation win battles within the court room just as well as those seeking compensation for physical pain do?

In a 2008 Texas case 17-year-old Laura Schubert sought compensation for injuries she suffered during an exorcism. Her injuries included physical- cuts and bruises and also mental- mental anguish, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and a suicide attempt. The court ruled in favor of compensation for her physical injuries but not for her mental pain. (1) But why? Is there a double standard? Does physical pain somehow trump mental pain?

Prove it. It certainly is not that mental pain is not comparable to physical pain. We certainly know that feelings of depression, loss, anger, etc. can hurt worse than a scrape or bruise at a times. The challenge is proving your mental pain within a court room. Unlike physical pain you cannot simply submit a photo of a marking on your arm for the jury to examine. Proving mental pain is far more challenging.

Jurors especially are apprehensive to leaning in the favor of mental pain compensation because there is the potential for deceivers to lie and profit from it. Not only do you have to prove it, but you have to make the jury believe your plea.

Make the connection. In order for a ruling to go in the favor of providing compensation for mental pain, the courtroom must first make the connection between physical and mental pain. Many of the uneducated public do not understand that physical health issues like diabetes can cause mental issues such as depression and anxiety, according to the American Psychological Association. (2) These connections are what will award you appropriate compensation.

While there may be a small double standard within the court room when it comes to physical pain vs. mental pain compensation, it’s our job to inform the public. By teaching the mass population about the pain experienced mentally after incidents and its connection to physical issues we can pave the way to a fairer courtroom, without the double standard for all.

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. provides counseling, psychological testing, and psychotropic medication management in Mount Prospect and Chicago – serving surrounding Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties. They accept most insurance and offer extremely affordable sliding scale rates. Call (847) 909-9858 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation.

 

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Sources:

  1. Physical vs. Mental Pain: A Legal Double Standard?, Information on 2008 Texas case, 2009, http://www.apa.org/monitor/2009/02/jn.aspx
  2. Physical vs. Mental Pain: A Legal Double Standard?, Physical can cause mental, 2009, http://www.apa.org/monitor/2009/02/jn.aspx

 

 

5 Tips for Encouraging Regular Activity within Your Family

Family TherapyThe average child between 8 and 18 years old spends about 7.5 hours per day in front of a screen (TV, computer, phone, etc.), according to the U.S. government (1). This is a very sad statistic that has many people worried about the activity level of our children. It is recommended that children have at least 60 minutes of activity per day, but that goal is not always reached.

In fact, a study of high school students in 2013 found that less than 30% had reached that goal in the previous week (2). Physical activity is defined as “any body movement that works your muscles and requires more energy than resting (3).” Some people think that physical activity means playing sports, but there are many other things that quality. Doing yard work, going for a walk, or going for a swim in the pool are all examples of physical activity. If you are a parent that is striving to keep your kids active and away from the screen, here are a few things that could help.

  1. Promote it. If you do not show interest in physical activity, chances are good that your children won’t either. Kids will be deterred from outside play when they hear parents or other kids complaining about how hot it is or how tired they are. Physical activity needs to be portrayed as something fun and something to look forward to, not something to dread. One common mistake that people make is to promote physical activity in boys more than girls. Girls need just as much exercise as boys and they are just a capable of doing vigorous activity (4).
  2. Participate in it. Don’t tell your kids to go outside and play – go with them. Play catch, make up a game, go for a walk, or anything else that your kids mention that they want to do. Instead of telling them to go rake the yard, grab a rake and do it together. Make it fun by making it a competition or offer a reward for a job well done.
  3. Mix it up. Kids need a variety of activities to keep them interested. Play in your backyard, walk to the park, go to a gym, visit the zoo, go to the beach, schedule a play date with friends – all of these things can promote healthy habits in your kids without calling it “exercise.”
  4. Give them the opportunity. There are many kids that would love to try a sport, learn karate, do gymnastics, etc. but are never given the chance. If your child shows interest in something, do your best to give them the opportunity. Instead of spending money on a video game, spend it on sports equipment for your home or use it join a team sport (5).
  5. Reward it. Watching television or playing games is not bad in moderation. After a long day of yard work, reward the kids with a trip to the movie theatre. After a long walk to the park while on a play date with friends, let them play a game together. Cutting out screen time altogether will most likely have adverse effects.

No matter what your children enjoy doing, make regular activity one of them. By promoting it, participating in it, mixing it up, giving them the opportunity, and rewarding them for taking part you can help encourage your family to get active daily.

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. provides counseling, psychological testing, and psychotropic medication management in Mount Prospect and Chicago – serving surrounding Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties. They accept most insurance and offer extremely affordable sliding scale rates. Call (847) 909-9858 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation.

 

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Sources:

  1. Reduce Screen Time, Screen time statistics, 2013, https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/reduce-screen-time/
  2. Physical Activity Facts, Activity level statistics, 2015, http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/physicalactivity/facts.htm
  3. What Is Physical Activity? Definition of physical activity, 2011, http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/physAdding Physical Activity to Your Life, Tips for staying active, 2015, http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adding-pa/activities-children.html
  4. Parents’ Endorsement of Vigorous Team Sports Increases Children’s Physical Activity, Say Researchers, Parents promoting sports, 2009, http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2009/07/parents-exercise.aspx

 

 

 

 

 

Sports and Mental Health: What’s the Connection?

Sports and mental healthTeam sports have long been a popular activity for people of all ages. While some people play just for fun, there are many others who play at an extremely competitive level. No matter your reason, however, there are benefits and dangers of playing sports.

Benefits

  1. Mental. Any type of physical activity can be beneficial to a person’s mental health, from walking to aerobics to sports. For people at risk of mental illness, exercise can be preventative; in those who already suffer from mental illness, activity can be used as a form of treatment. Exercise has been proven to lessen depression and decrease the number of psychotic episodes in other illnesses – and this is true for males and females of all ages. The more physical activity, the greater the improvement in mental health will be, according to the American Psychological Association (APA) (1).
  2. Emotional. One of the biggest areas of emotional well-being is self-esteem. Belonging to a team, having people depend on you, and knowing that you are needed can all help a person have a positive view of themselves (2).
  3. Social. Someone who struggles socially can greatly benefit from team sports. A team usually consists of a people of a common age and interest, so you already have something in common with everyone. What a great start to form new friendships.
  4. Familial. So many mental health issues are worsened or even partly caused by a person’s home situation; this is especially true in children with mental disorders. Playing team sports can give a family a chance to spend time together and give a parent the chance to encourage the child.
  5. Physical. Playing sports has many physical benefits. Being in good shape does not just aid in sports performance but also in the performance of your body’s systems. Physical activity is good for the heart, the respiratory system, and the circulatory system among others. The healthier your body is, the healthier your mind will be.

Dangers

  1. Mental. If the athlete has obsessive tendencies or an addictive personality, sports and exercise can actually become detrimental to their mental health. Being so reliant upon physical activity for mental well-being, it could cause problems if you were to become injured or unable to continue for other reasons. Make sure that there are other treatment options in place.
  2. Emotional. There are times that a person playing sports can have a lowered self-esteem due to poor performance or inability to contribute to the team. Choose a sport in which you know you can be successful.
  3. Physical. Competitive teams really emphasize training, and with good reason. However, it is possible to injure yourself if the body is over-exerted. To avoid this, pay attention to your body’s signals of needing a break.

As long as you are aware of the dangers and do everything you can to avoid them, most psychologists will greatly encourage team sports to enhance your mental health.

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. provides counseling, psychological testing, and psychotropic medication management in Mount Prospect and Chicago – serving surrounding Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties. They accept most insurance and offer extremely affordable sliding scale rates. Call (847) 909-9858 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation.

 

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Sources:

  1. Exercise Helps Keep Your Psyche Fit, Exercise and mental health, 2004, http://www.apa.org/research/action/fit.aspx
  2. Benefits of Sports, Emotional benefits, 2015, http://www.muhealth.org/services/pediatrics/conditions/adolescent-medicine/benefits-of-sports/
  3. The Benefits of Playing Sports Aren’t Just Physical! Social benefits, 2012, http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/blog/post/the-benefits-of-playing-sports-arent-just-physical!.aspx
  4. Exercise and Mental Health, Dangers, 1990, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2192422

Coping with Obesity

coping with obesityObesity is defined as a condition marked by excess accumulation of body fat, according to the American Psychological Association (1) and it affects a great portion of our population. In fact, as stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-third or 78.6 million U.S. adults are obese.

While you may not be at a healthy weight, there are steps you can take not just to lose weight but to better cope with obesity. If you’re overweight and tired of being down on yourself all the time, this article is for you. Here’s how to cope with obesity.

  1. Make better food choices. Though this may be an obvious tip, it’s an important one. Part of coping with obesity means taking the necessary steps to overcoming it. Learn about healthy foods vs non-healthy foods and make an effort to choose healthy and nutritious foods. Avoid foods which are high in saturated fats and cholesterol and opt for foods high in protein and low in sugars.
  2. Connect. According to a 2015 study on social relationships and obesity people who are socially-connected are at a decreased risk of becoming obese. (3) Connect with people in your community, especially with those who share the same goals as you. Together you can encourage, support, and connect with each other.
  3. Use positive criticism. Being obese does not give you free reign to come down hard on yourself about every little thing you need to change but like with any other condition, it does allow the opportunity for positive criticism. Positive criticism will act as a way to correct yourself in a positive way while building your self-confidence.
  4. Create small goals. Setting small goals for yourself is a great way to cope with obesity. As you work to achieve each little goal you not only get closer to a larger goal but you also make room for regular celebrations of your achievements. Set goals not only for weight loss but also emotions and physical activity.

You are so much more than a number on the scale, finding joy no matter where you are in life both emotionally and physically is key. Coping with obesity requires a balance of embracing who you are while working to better yourself. Remember to make better food choices, connect, use positive criticism, and create small goals for yourself. By doing so you can actively work toward a better, more-healthy you while learning to love the person you are today.

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. provides counseling, psychological testing, and psychotropic medication management in Mount Prospect and Chicago – serving surrounding Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties. They accept most insurance and offer extremely affordable sliding scale rates. Call (847) 909-9858 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation.

 

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Sources:

  1.  Obesity, Definition of obesity, 2015, http://www.apa.org/topics/obesity/index.aspx
  2. Adult Obesity Facts, Number of obese American adults, 2015, http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html
  3. Social Relationships and Obesity, Study findings ‘Connect’, 2015, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26213644