The Importance of Relationships!

An Electronic Mental Health Newsletter from Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. & Associates
Volume 12, Number 1

The holidays are over. The new president has been inaugurated and we are back to settling into our daily lives. We hope that 2017 brings you all that you wish for.

January’s E-Letter is about the importance of relationships. We see many, many people in our office who have difficulties with their relationships. Be it child to parent, parent to child, spouse to spouse or employee to boss, relationships can be very enjoyable and necessary. Relationships can also create a lot of stress, frustration, and even depression. Unhealthy relationships can also lead to medical problems. Many patients have expressed concern about how people relate to each other in the age of social media. It is common to see entire families on separate mobile devices at a restaurant rather than talking or being with each other. Yes they may be texting or snapchatting with others but is that relating? One wonders what the future will bring especially with more technological advances.

The E-Letter also continues Dr. K’s blog about grieving and adjusting to loss. Dr. Kaikobad briefly discusses his groups and we also introduce Tara Passsaretti, M.S., LMHC who is a new therapist to our practice. Our email of the month is about why people should leave their office.

We hope you find the enclosed information helpful and interesting. We also thank you for reading our E-Letters and for the numerous comments and messages of support we have received.

Practice News

New Address: Please note our new address:

5551 N. University Drive, Suite 202
Coral Springs FL 33067

We are now settled in our offices which are very calming and comfortable. Final touches still need to be added but we have room for growth and expansion. You are invited to come by and visit but please schedule with Jillian first.

Teens and Stress. Dr. Kimmel recently conducted a workshop on understanding the stress that today’s teenagers face and how they can be helped to cope the stress. The January 12th workshop was presented to youth directors, teachers, and educational directors at the Orloff Central Agency for Jewish Education.

Research study. Our practice is participating in a research study to validate B-Vitals which is a behavioral health assessment program. B-Vitals was developed to provide pediatricians with a child’s behavioral health information prior to the office visit. Completed online by parents, the doctor will receive a report identifying any behavioral health issues.

If you are the parent of a 6 to 18 year old youngster and wish to participate, go to and follow the instructions to register. Besides helping to develop a new assessment tool for pediatricians, you will receive a $10 Amazon gift code for completing the surveys. It should take you no more than one-half hour and you will be quite helpful in developing this new assessment tool for pediatricians.

New Associate. We are pleased to announce that Tara Passaretti, LMHC, has joined our practice. Tara is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Nationally Board Certified Counselor who has extensive experience working with children and families in private practice and in the court system. She has also been a school counselor and has a unique understanding of problems facing children in the school setting. She is very supportive but direct and focused on improving the emotional health of her clients. You can read more about Tara’s background under the Our Staff tab on our website.

Testings. If you are concerned about your child’s placement in school, this would be an excellent time to have them evaluated. Typical parent questions have ranged from should their child be retained to whether they are gifted to whether they have a disability that can qualify for accommodations at their school. Our practice does the different types of evaluations to help answer those questions. Information regarding the tests can be found on our website. If you have more specific questions, please contact Dr. Kimmel or Paul Dolnick.

Practice Opportunity. We are looking for one more licensed clinician to join our collegial group practice. The therapist must be experienced and motivated to provide quality behavioral health treatment for a variety of problems and patients. Specialties in child and adolescent treatment, addictions, and relationships are desirable. Being bilingual would be a plus. For further information or interest, email or contact Jillian at 954 755-2885.

Support groups.Our ongoing weekly therapy groups have been quite successful. A men’s support group and a women’s support group are run by Dr. Jim Kaikobad and meets for one and one-half hours. The group is educational, supportive, and confidential and is limited to 8 people.

For the New Year, Dr. Kaikobad is starting two new groups. One is a women’s group addressing contemporary women’s issues such as work/personal life balance, marriage enrichment, marital conflicts, spousal infidelity, caretaking for elderly parents, divorce, and parenting.

The second group addresses men’s current issues such as effective spousal communication, understanding gender difference and how they affect relationships, sensitivity training, workaholism, work stress, and relationship conflicts.

Benefits of these groups include significant cost reduction, time effectiveness, and the support and understanding of other members experiencing similar issues.

If you or a family member would like to participate in either of these groups, please contact Jillian in our office at 954 755-2885.

Handouts from previous E-Letters can be found on our website, We invite you to read and download them if desired.


The first E-Letter of this new year focuses on what many believe is critical to good mental health and the enjoyment of life…having good, meaningful relationships. Henry Murray in 1938 identified the need for affiliation as a fundamental motivation of people. This was later popularized by David McClelland who found that people with a high need for affiliation require warm interpersonal relationships and approval from those they have regular contact. Having a strong bond with others makes a person feel as if they are a part of something important. Abraham Maslow in 1943 developed a hierarchy of needs among which Loving and Belonging immediately follows Physiological and Safety needs. He theorized that humans need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance among their social groups whether it be family, co-workers, or teams. He believed that people need to love and be loved to avoid loneliness, depression, and anxiety.

Relationships are not only necessary but critical to good mental and physical health. While people accumulate possessions and status, what really matters is good health and feeling loved and wanted by people who care about you. Having meaningful relationships allows a person to feel important, to feel connected, to be able to share, to get others viewpoints, and to help and be helped. Healthy relationships allow people to feel that they are not facing the world alone and that someone truly cares for them. Relationships also allow us to learn who we are through feedback from others. In times of stress, knowing that you are not going through it alone can be extremely helpful in navigating those difficult times.

Yes, it seems that people actually do need other people to live a full and healthy life. Those who have unhealthy relationships or who isolate face the challenges of decreased health, depression, anxiety, and loneliness. They may feel unimportant, unwanted, and uncared for. They may tend to neglect their hygiene and their health needs. They may even questions why they are living.

Relationships can vary from being acquaintances to being fairly intense. Good healthy relationships involve mutual trust, respect, the ability to communicate, and the ability to forgive. Like plants taking root and growing, relationships need to be worked on and nurtured. They cannot be taken for granted or they will wilt and die. Just getting married or moving in with another does not mean that the relationship is set for life. Rather, relationships involve hard work and honesty but the payoff can be huge.

Since we now live in the age of social media, it remains to be seen how relationships will change. Will people now relate better to their mobile devices than to others? Will relationships now become more superficial as the art of conversation seems to be dwindling? Will quality of relationships change from having a few close friends to many, many followers or “likers”? Time will tell.

We offer the following information on The Importance of Relationships:

No man is an island, entire of itself— John Donne


  • Relationships allow us to identify who we are and who we want to be as we receive feedback from others about ourselves
  • Having a strong social network is a buffer against both physical and mental illness
  • Relationships can vary from being casual to being very deep, intimate, and long lasting
  • Research has shown that people with strong social relationships are happier and healthier and live longer
  • Low social support is associated with a variety of health problems including depression, high blood pressure, and lower immune system functioning
  • People have a basic need for affiliation and having relationships allows one to feel important, loved, respected, and connected
  • In times of difficulty or distress, relationships allow you to feel that you are not going through it alone and that you are cared for by others
  • Relationships also allow you to have impact on others and be remembered by them; there can be great joy in giving to and helping others
  • Conflicts occur naturally in relationships and it takes good communication to resolve problems and build stronger bonds
  • Unhealthy relationships can lead to codependency, being controlled, being abused, feeling humiliated, and victimization of one sort or another
  • Healthy relationships require mutual trust and respect, the ability to admit that one is wrong, the ability to apologize, and the ability to forgive
  • While social media has allowed people to have instant and diverse relationships, there is a downside of depression when unfriended, not responded to, or rejected
  • Social media also allows for the opportunity to have false relationships, enmeshed relationships, and addictive relationships
  • While relationships have a great opportunity to enrich one’s life, be cautious about false and fake online connections

      • In building and maintaining friendships, communication without hurting the other is necessary so that conflicts and disagreements can be resolved
      • Show respect for each other by allowing the other to talk; recognize that what they are saying is important and has value to them
      • Being willing to compromise is more important than needing to be right
      • Admit your mistakes and apologize for them
      • Do not intentionally be hurtful when angry
      • Offer encouragement and try to make your friend or partner a better person
      • Respect the privacy of another and do not show distrust by snooping on them
      • You do not have to win every disagreement because if you always win, your partner always loses and then you both ultimately lose
      • Set and maintain your boundaries in order to be respected by others
      • Seek professional help if you think you are unable to have meaningful relationships
      • WE CAN HELP!
        Call us at 954 755-2885 or email us at

        Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D. P.A. and Associates
        5551 N University Drive, Suite 202
        Coral Springs FL 33067
        Copyright © 2017 by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D.

        Dr. K’s Blog

        January 20, 2017

        It is now four months since my wife has passed and I can’t say that it has gotten any easier. I have gotten busier and in that sense, I have been preoccupied and am not dwelling on the sense of loss. But those moments when I am alone and are not doing anything are the most difficult moments. Friends have called me and invited me to make sure I am busy but you always have moments of aloneness which still hurt. I rationally know that my wife is gone but I still haven’t accepted it nor do I want to. My life is different. I am different. And it will never be the same.

        I don’t know how long it will take, if ever, to heal from this grief. People constantly ask me how am I doing and I find it a very hard question to answer. I know they mean well and are interested but what do you say. I am doing fine? I am not doing well? I am really just doing okay and keeping busy. That is probably the best I can say right now.

        Everywhere are constant reminders of the life I used to have. Some are poignant and other very sad. We dedicated the new office in my wife’s memory and seeing her picture gives me the feeling that she is with me all day long. I am glad we did that.

        I also went to the cemetery with my daughter and it was emotionally, one of the most difficult things I have ever done. Yet when we left I felt some comfort.

        I think my period of grieving will be over when I can truly accept that my wife has gone and that she had a wonderful life. I hope I can do that one day.

        December 19, 2016

        Another month has gone by and it doesn’t get any easier. In fact, the holidays highlight the emptiness and the loss. These are very difficult times and the powerlessness of not being able to change what happened is overwhelming. Keeping busy helps as it distracts from the grief yet even around people I feel alone. I grapple with acceptance and I am not there yet and probably won’t be for a long, long time.

        I also realize that I have changed. No longer do I have my best friend to travel with, to talk to, to learn from, and to share my private thoughts. My wife and I grew up and grew together and we shared many, many wonderful experiences. Now those experiences are over and all I have left are the memories and the possessions. Yes, my children are wonderful and we have a very good relationship. But they too have their own grief to deal with.

        I have found that death is the hardest part of life. Rationally, I understand that we will all pass at some time. But are we ever prepared for it? I give thanks that my wife did not suffer long; that is a blessing in itself. But I miss her.

        I have learned that despite all we control in our life, we are never really in control of what matters the most. I am glad that we had such a close and warm relationship yet, precisely because of this, it hurts now that she has passed.

        November 21, 2016
        It is now 2½ months since my wife died and the transition to acceptance is extremely difficult. Cognitively, it sounds like an easy task. But emotionally, it is one of the most difficult tasks I’ve ever faced in my life. I have spoken with others who have lost loved ones who seem to be the only ones who can understand what I am going through. They know the depths of emptiness and loneliness that one can only experience when one loses one’s partner. It is almost like a club of grievers who never ever really stop grieving. They just seem to put it aside to go on with their lives for the sake of themselves and others. They say that it gets better but the pain never leaves.
        How does one go from sharing everything with another to being alone? Things we were going to do, places we were going to travel to, renovations to the house, movies we were going to see, friends we were going to visit, and new experiences we were going to learn from are now all gone. They have to be done by me alone and yes I will do some of these but it is not the same. Ideas that I usually bounced off my wife or opinions where I needed her input now have to be decided only by me or by family and friends. Everything has changed internally since I am now a “me” and not a “we”.
        Thanksgiving is just around the corner and it has always been a family holiday for us. Yes I will be with my adult children but our loss will be paramount. As we always do, we will give thanks for our health and everything we have in life. We will also give thanks for having had my wife in our lives for as long as we had her. We will also give thanks that she is suffering no longer and we will remember her joy, her wit, her love for people, animals, and books, and her love for us.

        Email of the Month

        We would like to thank Andrew McGregor for the following email:

        Always Leave The Office On Time

        Over the last 10 years I’ve constantly heard the wonderful phrase of work life balance, ‘Work–life balance is a concept including proper prioritizing between “work” (career and ambition) and “lifestyle” (health, pleasure, leisure, family and spiritual development/meditation)’.

        So what does this really mean and why do I genuinely believe in leaving the office on time?

        1. Work is a never-ending process – It’s fact and we may as well get used to it, therefore stop focusing on 1 day or 1 week and start planning for a career. So harness the skills of time management and stop trying to get everything done in a day!

        2. Interest of a client is important, so is your family – Honestly I scoff at the remark from those who think 2 hours in the evening is enough for your family, it’s really not. They will always enrich your life more than a client ever can, give them the time they deserve.

        3. If you fall in life neither your client or boss will lend you a helping hand, your family will – Don’t get me wrong I was conflicted with this as I try to be a good boss and always try to be there, but I try, families always will, no questions asked.

        4. Life is not only about work, office, and client – I love the people and industry I work within and man when we celebrate it’s fantastic but do you know what, that’s one moment. With friends and family, it’s continuous and without expectation. Cherish your moments with family/friends and experience new adventures with them as well.

        5. A person who stays late at the office is not a hardworking person – This raised a lot of dispute on my original post and I understand why people would disagree but I have a different view. I have learnt in 10 years of recruitment that those who are able to work effectively in the time provided they are hugely successful and enjoy a great work life balance. If you are working 10-12 hours I beg you to look at what you are trying achieve and question whether they are genuinely adding benefit. Plan your day before you start your day, don’t do it at 8am or 8.30am when your day has started as your already chasing your tail. Don’t be a fool.

        6. You did not study hard or struggle in life to become a machine – Nail on head, machines can operate 24 hours a day with the right fuel. You cannot, balance your life, remember you have 24 hours a day, 8 hours to sleep, 8 hours to work, 8 hours of your own!

        7. If your boss forces you to work late – You know what I am a boss. If I have to ask anyone to work late or work late myself I am a fool. To date, I have never asked anyone to work late, I never will. Practice what you preach.

        I could go on for hours as this is a subject dear to me. I was a son with a father I rarely saw due to work. I’ve seen families torn apart because parents put work before family. I’ve heard of young fathers passing away because of stress at work and working 16 hours a day.


        Till February…

        The information provided in this electronic newsletter is not a substitute for professional treatment. It is the opinions of the writers and is provided solely for educational purposes. For mental health care, seek a qualified professional.

        If you no longer wish to receive future E-Letter reminders, please send an email to requesting to be removed from this list.

        If you find this information interesting or helpful, please forward this E-Letter to your contacts and friends. Copyright © 2017 by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D. P.A. and Associates.