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African American Mother with Daughter
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Chester, NJ Therapist

Risa Simpson-Davis, LCSW
Owner/Clinical Director

(732) 742-0329
[email protected]

31 Fairmount Avenue
Suite 205

Chester, NJ 07930

 

Serving areas in Morris County, including
Chester, Flanders, Long Valley, Randolph, Madison, Florham Park, Denville, Bedminster, Succasunna, Mendham, Morristown.

Also serving Sussex and Warren Counties.

  

Verified Chester, NJ Therapist verified by Psychology Today Directory

My Blog

Summer Solutions
When June rolls around, many parents can't help but take a big sigh of relief. If it's been a challenging year and your child has been struggling socially or academically, summer vacation can bring a welcome opportunity to relax and decompress.
Talking To Teens
Talking to teens can be really difficult. Parents often try really hard to talk with their kids, but are met with resistance…one word answers, eye rolls, or complete silence. Like any relationship, communication is the foundation of positive interactions between you and your teen. But how can you talk to your kids when you can't GET them to talk? Below are a few tips.
Celebrating A Milestone Mother's Day
There's always quite a unique buzz around Mother's Day. The weather begins to warm up (hopefully!) and it seems like there's a mad run on cards, gifts, and flowers galore as we prepare to give well deserved kudos to the beloved matriarchs of our families. Mother's Day can be a joyous annual occasion to celebrate and honor our moms, but there are some years when the holiday approaches with a bit of apprehension.
Should I Stay Or Should I Go?
If you are unhappy in your marriage, it can be heart wrenching to decide whether or not to end it. There are a ton of things to consider, but figuring out where to start can be challenging. Choosing to leave (or stay) will impact every area of your life. Here are some things to consider before making the big step. While you don't have to have definite answers for each of these questions, they are a good idea to think about.
Is Your Teen Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde?
"Watching your sweet, snuggly, dependent little one blossom into a full-blown teenager can be one of the most exhilarating and exhausting phases of parenthood. True, it's natural to want to give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done when your child is finally showing that they're ready to handle more independence with things like navigating their own transportation and managing their school work and social lives. Unfortunately, the teen years can also be riddled with downright confusion as to what's going on with your kid- especially when they lash out at you unexpectedly for what seems like no reason at all...."
Shouldn’t Everyday Feel Like Mother’s Day?
"With Mother’s Day quickly approaching, many moms may be expecting little tokens of appreciation from their children – flowers, a handmade card, maybe a piece of jewelry. While these gifts are thoughtful and very much cherished, let’s be honest..."
Playing "Hide and Seek" With Happiness

Between all the stress of work, school, family, friends, health...the list goes on and on....it's easy to get overwhelmed and lose the joy in life. Sometimes in today's world it can feel like we are playing "hide and seek" with happiness.

But just like when you played hide and seek with your friends as a kid, you can't just wait around hoping for happiness to come to you. You have to actively go out and look. You have to work hard, sometimes really hard, to find what you're looking for. Here are some ideas for how to find your happiness when it's hiding from you:

When You're Married To Your Business Partner
Now more than ever, with the shifting of current labor trends and new opportunities for entrepreneurial ventures online, many married couples are increasingly finding themselves pooling their professional resources and sharing the additional responsibility of managing an actual family business together.
What Is a Normal Reaction To An Abnormal Situation?
Fear and anxiety after a mass shooting are 'normal reactions to an abnormal situation'.
Perhaps the most troubling issue for parents is that part of their job is to help their children feel safe in a world that can turn deadly in an instant.
Sadly, after the recent shooting in Parkland, Florida, mass school shootings and gun violence have gone from being a rare tragedy to a tragic reality facing our youth today. These tragedies leave families and children scrambling to try to understand how violent incidents happen. Scenes of children running and parents searching frantically have become all too familiar.
Marital Resolutions For Valentines Day 2018
Last month's blog focused on marital resolutions to build a stronger emotional connection with your spouse. How are you doing with that? As promised, this month I'm going to give you some tools build a better physical connection. Many couples think it's just about the sex but it's actually so much more than that. The physical and emotional connection are interdependent and therefore some of the tools listed below may include an emotional component.
10 Marital Resolutions For 2018
It's the New Year and many of you are making resolutions to lose weight, change jobs, quit smoking etc. But, how many of you really thought about making resolutions to make even a good marriage even better? Many couples, especially those with children put their marriage on the back burner. The focus is more on the children, household responsibilities, and career. Although this is important, your marriage should also be a priority. You, the couple is the foundation of the house and without paying attention even to the little cracks in the foundation your house may fall....."
Tips For Troubled Marriages And The Holidays
Kissing under the mistletoe may not be on the agenda for many couples who are in troubled marriages. Being in a troubled marriage is difficult at anytime but the holidays can make things even worse. Whether the couple is feeling emotionally distant from each or facing more serious issues such as infidelity or addiction, the hurt, pain and loneliness are intensified. Couples may even be planning to separate or divorce but are putting it off until the New Year.
Teens Gone Grateful
Adolescence tends to involve comparing oneself to others and having a heightened desire to fit in, which often means a lot of "I want's" coming from your teen. Teens do not always know how to see and appreciate the good, especially when they are so focused on getting what they need or want in order to feel like they belong (which is age appropriate). For e.g. this could mean wanting the latest technology, the most popular designer purse, or one more color of the expensive sneakers you've bought for them. It's a constant asking for more and it doesn't have to be about material things either. It could be asking to stay out past 11:00 pm because "all their friends do" or about one more ride to the mall after you've already been their "uber" driver all day.
Teens And The Social Media Struggle
Although social media is meant to be social, informative and fun, it's no secret that social media can have a negative influence on our days and our mental health. It can create a false sense of reality, induce stress, lead to insecurities, and cause "FOMO," or the fear of missing out. The pressures that stem from social media can manifest in social anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, eating disorders and so on. While the pressure can and likely does affect everyone in some way, it can be especially challenging for teens. Teenagers are at a period in their lives in which there is increased pressure to fit in, and the demands of society are especially overcoming, overbearing and difficult to manage - they are often felt more harshly and heavily.
Living In The Moment No Matter What
Living in the moment could be difficult when it feels like the weight of the world has created a home on your shoulders. It is hard to appreciate something good or enjoy yourself even for a little bit when your mind is consumed by your lengthy to-do list or an unbearable amount of anxiety. However, it is extremely important to dissociate from the stress and the mess throughout your days. Leaving little time for joy is only going to magnify everything and make it all seem so much worse and paralyzing. It will make the tough moments more difficult to get through. Here are some tips on how to live in the moment regardless of what is going on around you.
Success Is Customizable
Success is a funny thing - we all have such different lives, circumstances, talents, weaknesses, demographics, etc., yet we all tend to associate success with the same meaning or "achievement:" making or having a lot of money - typically by having climbed the corporate ladder and/or obtaining a well-paying, prestigious job. While these things are great, they are not the end all be all towards "being successful." A person is not defined by one accomplishment or trait, and success does not have to be either.....
Parenting In The Tech Age: Social Media And Your Kids
Is your son or daughter texting more than speaking? Are you concerned with what apps they are downloading? You are not alone. Even though many parents pay for their child's cell phone bill, they often do not know what the phone is being used for. While there are numerous benefits to applications available on phones, there are also dangers to using certain apps that teens are not aware of......
Can You Beat The Odds?
Oftentimes in the social work or mental health field you will hear the term "at risk" to describe clients, specifically youth. This term means that something in this child's environment or background is putting him or her at an increased risk for negative effects (e.g. dropping out of school to experiencing anxiety). In reality, anyone, regardless of age, can be in a position where your circumstance puts you at risk for something negative, but just because you are at risk for something does not mean it's a guarantee…you can make efforts to beat the odds.....
Is Your Relationship A Job?
When something is really good, we tend to hold onto it for dear life, especially when it comes to relationships. People are hardwired to desire human connection, so most can agree that they prefer to be in a relationship over being single. It feels like you've hit the jackpot when you find someone who you are compatible with, who you like and who likes you back. Because of how happy you are about this rare finding, and how wonderful things are in the beginning or maybe for a while, when the relationship goes sour, it is easy to try and convince yourself that this person is right for you....
Are You Afraid Of Being Vulnerable?
When a cut is left open and is unprotected by a Band Aid, it is at risk of getting hurt by the outside world. Just the same, when people are open and unprotected by a guard or wall that they put up, they are at risk of getting hurt. However, while staying inside your house and on your couch at all times pretty much guarantees that you won't get hurt, it also guarantees that you won't experience anything great either...
Valentine's Day The You Way
Valentine's Day is likely one of the most simultaneously loved and disliked holiday. It brings joy and excitement for some and sadness and angst for others. Perhaps where it all went wrong, is when someone spread the false message that Valentine's Day meant celebrating your significant other. We are free to create our own definitions of holidays, as well as our own traditions. Valentine's Day is meant for celebrating your loved ones and in whatever way you choose to do so. That could mean your husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, best friends, children or other family members etc. If you love them, you can celebrate them! And please let's not forget about ourselves! Here are some tips on how to celebrate Valentine's Day your way...
Thanks-living
We are so often caught up in all that we don't have. It is so easy to look at others and wish that we had their bodies, their relationships, their money to go on fancy vacations and buy fancy things, etc. It is more than fair to want things in life, but it is also important to remember that the grass isn't always greener, and that your grass is probably pretty great. We have no idea what's going on in other people's lives. The person who seems to have it all may be going through something that you wouldn't trade all of your problems for.
Not Stressing Over The Stress
Stress management posts never go out of style...because unfortunately, stress never goes out of style (though we all know that it should). It seems like there is always something stressing us out--from the big things like work, family, relationships, health, and money, to the smaller things (that usually still feel big!) like finding time for doctors appointments, feeling the nagging need to go to the gym, that terrifying long to-do list, the fight with your friend or that breakout that showed up just in time for school pictures.
Easing The Back-To-School Scaries
As summer wraps up, end-of-summer-sadness begin to kick in.and kids may start to have some anxiety since starting school again is just around the corner. Going back to school can be a rough transition after they've enjoyed a carefree, fun-filled summer. After all of that enjoyment and freedom, it is understandable that they would have some stress and anxiety knowing that what's coming is homework and earlier bedtimes. A rough, stress-inducing time for kids typically can mean a rough, stress-inducing time for parents, so here are some ways to ease this transition for everyone:
Preventing (or at least minimizing) Those Post Vacation Blues
You count down the days and months in advance until you're finally on that summer vacation--your escape from the crazy, stressful, demanding world that we call life. While life is also filled with laughter and beauty, sometimes you just need some time away--away from people, even the ones you love, away from work, away from busy city or suburban life, away from the constant text messages and emails that flood your phone morning through night, away frorm cleaning and cooking, worrying about money, etc. Sometimes you just need a change and a break from everything.
So Much To Do, So Little Time
You have a thousand things to do, all at once, not even including the long overdue manicure, a trip to the gym that you're paying way too much for considering you barely have time to attend, or the lunch you promised your friend you would make it to this time after cancelling last week and the week before. Your sleeping is compromised because something's gotta give, and you are eating fast food because who has the time to cook? There just aren't enough hours in the day, and you are starting to feel as though you are losing your mind. How do you handle it all without falling apart at the seams?
How To Avoid A Family Feud This Summer
School's out for summer!! If you're a student, almost nothing feels as good as this does. If you're a parent, you probably have some mixed feelings. On one hand, this means more family time. You can get a Wednesday morning pedicure with your daughter or go to a Monday night movie with your son. You can eat dinner as a family because no one has practice for the school play. It is also likely to mean that your kids are less stressed out from school...it's always nice to see your child care-free and playing outside rather than locked in his room doing math homework all night. Perhaps summer even means vacations and day trips.
Spring Clean Your Head, Heart and Home!
Tis the season for that good ol' spring cleaning that everybody talks about. But where do you start? And what kind of cleaning are we talking about? I'm sure we all love the feeling of a super clean house, but imagine if we could have a super clean head and heart too. I say, let's spring clean it all. A new season is the perfect time for fresh starts.
How To Make Life Changing Decisions
I worked with a young adult who accepted her first job offer after graduation because she felt intense pressure from family members and needed an income, rather than because she felt confident it was the right opportunity for her. In the midst of planning a wedding and moving, she is now unhappy with that position, but feels pressure from family to stick it out until after the wedding, instead of quitting or seeking a new job.
Dating After Divorce
A perk of marriage: you no longer have to date! A perk of divorce: you get to date! Hmm...how can that be? But it’s true. Divorce is typically not in the plan, which of course can throw you for a loop. While the thought of dating after divorce can be terrifying and confusing (how on earth do I do this?!), it can also be such an exciting new chapter of your life.
A New Way To Valentines Day
A New Way To Valentines Day Last I've heard, Valentine's Day is a day to celebrate your loved ones, (although we should of course always be grateful for the wonderful people in our lives). As far as I am concerned, loved ones is an umbrella term--this could mean family, friends, teachers; really anyone who we care about--not just significant others.
The “Perfectly” “Imperfect” Holiday
It’s the most wonderful time of the year again! Yet, you are feeling stressed out and anxious. How can such a happy time bring so much angst?! As beautiful and joyous as this time of year is, it can also bring a lot of these not-so beautiful and joyous emotions. 
Give The Gift Of Mental Health This Holiday Season
So at this point in the year, you “should” be full of joy and happiness, shopping for holiday gifts and preparing for family meals. But, regardless of the season, your depression or mental illness is getting in the way of you feeling in the mood to celebrate.
What Is Your Perspective On Thanksgiving?
When you are asked what Thanksgiving means to you, 9 times out of 10 the response is something to the effect of a day to recognize and be grateful for all of your blessings in life. Not too hard of a question…giving thanks, it’s in the name! But when that third Thursday of November comes and goes, what is your perspective on what Thanksgiving means for the upcoming time of year?
The Post-Divorce Dating Game
"When you’re going through a divorce, are recently divorced, or have been divorced for quite a while, there will always be people telling you to get back into the dating game because..."
How To Avoid Back To School Chaos
"Since it is the end of the summer you've probably seen thousands of "back to school" commercials by now. This could elicit either very positive, very negative, or indifferent feelings for you and your children. In the case that you or..."
The Truth About College Kids Summers at Home
"It is exciting and comforting for college students to return home for the summer. Classes are over, and you have three months to enjoy spending time with your friends that you haven’t seen much of all year. ..."
Who Will You Be Post Grad
"With spring finally in full bloom, graduation season is upon us! If you are preparing to graduate from college or graduate school, there are probably hundreds of thoughts flying through your head everyday leading up to your commencement ceremony and in the few months (or years) that follow..."
Shouldn’t Everyday Feel Like Mother’s Day?
"With Mother’s Day quickly approaching, many moms may be expecting little tokens of appreciation from their children – flowers, a handmade card, maybe a piece of jewelry. While these gifts are thoughtful and very much cherished, let’s be honest..."
How To Keep Confident During The Job Hunt
"Looking for a job is a full time job, and it can be mentally and physically exhausting. The job hunt is a competitive and long process, and it is too easy to get discouraged..."
Does Your Marriage Need A CheckUp
"Whether you’ve been married for 10 months or 10 years, your marriage could be falling into a rut, in desperate need of passion and happiness. Take a moment right now to pause the everyday routine and check in with your marriage..."
Parents’ Guide To Surviving The Summer
"Now that it is officially summer and school is out, it seems like the perfect time to share with you my Parents’ Guide to Surviving the Summer. Unless you are going to rely on camps or nannies, both of which can be very expensive, it is likely that you a little over two months of free time with your children ahead, and not much planned for how to survive it...."
How To Build Your Self-Esteem In 7 Steps
Do you feel like you aren’t good enough, are too nervous or anxious to do something you want to do, are constantly comparing yourself to others, and putting yourself down? Is your mind flooded with negative thoughts when you look in the mirror or engage in self-reflection....."
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