March, 2013 
Think Big . . . Act Bigger

A socialization and anxiety reduction play therapy group


Julie Zubryd, LPC & Lisa Aaron, Psy.D


for an 8 week play therapy group to help children (ages 9-12) who are struggling with behavioral problems related to socialization and anxiety. Children will learn to improve friendships, social skills, decision-making skills, coping skills and confidence. Children will receive encouragement and support from other group members and the facilitators.
Call 412-264-2953 today to register your child for this group in our Coraopolis office.
Parenting Better
Being a good partner may make you a better parent, according to research from the University of Bristol. The study examined 125 couples with children ages 7 to 8 to explore the relationship of the couples, the parenting styles they used with their children and their ability to tune in to their partners' needs. The study showed that the same set of skills is consistent in caregiving in different types of relationships, and for both mothers and fathers. (Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, online Dec. 6)
March is National Optimism Month

March is National Optimism Month; that means that negative thoughts should be minimized. Thought stopping - the process of replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts may influence how you feel and behave and may change your mood from negative to positive.


Thought Stopping Tips:

  • RECOGNIZE the first signs of negative thoughts.
  • REFUSE the negative thoughts by saying STOP to yourself.
  • BECOME aware of the feelings underneath the thoughts.
  • FOCUS on the feelings in your body.
  • SAFELY feel the feelings for a few minutes.
  • RELAX through diaphragmatic breathing.
  • REPLACE negative thoughts with positive thoughts/images.
  • RESUME your activities with more confidence and control.
  • REPEAT as needed.

Other helpful techniques: 

  • Use journaling to write thoughts/feelings & let them go.
  • Use letter writing to write angry letters and let go of the thoughts/feelings by shredding the letter.
  • Change the channel by doing something different.

Remember that thoughts and feelings are just energy.  Improve your attitude during the month of March; think positive!


10 Steps to Collaborative Communication


Communication can be challenging under the best of circumstances, however when conflicts arise it becomes even more of a challenge. Here are some steps to improve your communication today:

  1. Parents - Focus on what is best for your kids.
  2. Pay Attention to Nonverbal Signals. Avoid crossing your arms, don't point and stay engaged in the conversation.
  3. Concentrate on your tone of voice when speaking.
  4. Use I statements - start sentences with "I" rather than "You".
  5. Use good eye contact.
  6. Use Reflective Listening. Put your own thoughts and responses aside while you listen to the speaker. Repeat back your interpretation of what has been said and ask for clarification.
  7. Realize that no one "wins" an argument. If you don't leave a discussion with a possible solution to the problem or a step closer to the solution, then neither party has been successful.
  8. Try to be positive when bringing up sensitive problems. It helps to start by talking about positive things and then moving into the deeper discussion on problem areas.
  9. Take a time out if the discussion gets too intense. If an argument gets heated and irrational, it is better to postpone the discussion to a time and place where effective communication can happen.
  10. Be respectful to your partner in all discussions. Listen to your partner's ideas, thoughts and concerns. You don't have to agree with all of them, but if you respect your partner's right to have them then you may be able to come up with a healthier resolution of the issue. Once you let your partner know what you have heard, then respond with your thoughts in a respectful manner.


 If you find that additional help is needed to communicate effectively or resolve conflicts we are available to help through therapy, collaborative conflict resolution or co-parenting coaching. 
If you are interested in any of our services please call 724-759-7500 today.

Lori Gephart, M.A.
President / Licensed Psychologist / Collaborative Coach
North Hills Psychological Associates, Inc.
In This Issue
NHPA Locations
10475 Perry Highway
Town Centre, Suite 300
Wexford, PA  15090
615 Fifth Avenue
Thornton Place, Suite 300
Coraopolis, PA  15108

6315 Forbes Avenue
Maxon Towers, Suite B13
Squirrel Hill, PA  15217
401 Liberty Avenue
Three Gateway Center
Suite 1325
Pittsburgh, PA  15222
Contact Us
NHPA Clinical Staff
Loretta A. Gephart, M.A.
Marc J. Ranalli, M.S.
Andrew Nocita, Ph.D.
Stephanie Kim Phillips, Psy.D.  
Kristi L. Musick, Ph.D.
Lisa A. Aaron, Psy.D.
Shelley Thacher, LCSW
Gail Ludwig, RN, LCSW, ACS  
Laura P. Walsh, LPC, CRC
Mary Koch Ruiz, LPC
Christine P. Rosignoli, Ph.D.
Julie Zubryd, M.A., L.P.C.
Mary Jeanne Hoover, LCSW 
Heidi Stelzig, M.S.Ed., LPC
Stephen G. Huegel, Ph.D.
Mindy Heher, Ph.D.
Thomas Koloc, LPC, NCC
Nicolene Zapach, M.A.
Neha Pandit, Ph.D., LPC
Braden Ambrose, M.S., LPC
Sally G. Hoyle, Ph.D.
Jennifer Croyle, NCSP, LPC
Michelle Metz-Foley, NCC, LPC


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