What is Confidence Coaching?

Confidence coaching is a one-on-one service I provide for teen girl between the ages 13-17. It’s designed to provide them (with the tools ) to healthier self-esteem.

Through a series of session, we discuss letting go of negative inner thoughts, anxieties and self-sabotage.  We practice techniques & exercises, discuss tough topics, and confront issues together.  I push them past their comfort zone and lead them ultimately to a stronger sense of self.

By using my system called RAISE (Resilience, Attitude, Independence, Self-respect and Empowerment), we explore, discover and in some cases uncover, each girl’s inner voice. Based on each girl’s unique story, we tailor a plan for her incorporating the following components of the RAISE system as they relate to her story (life.)

R- Resilience is building a strong protectice shield around yourself. We practice resiliency exercises to help build a tough shell. We disccuss how perfectionism is unrealistic, unhealthy and unattainable. You learn to set attainable and healthy goals. (Don’t sweat the small stuff.)

A- Attitude is the lens though which you see the world;  your orientation to the world. Is your glass have empty or half full?   Through simple adjustments and exercises, we can change our attitude.  Adaptability is the key here. Learning to roll with change is a huge factor affecting our attitude.

I- independence is the ability to make your own choices instead of blindly following the crowd. The way you become independent is by taking on challenges, big or small. Pushing yourself further than you thought you could go and realizing what you are made of.

S- Self-respect is about learning to put yourself first. It’s about not easily being swayed into uncomfortable situations and rarely feeling peer pressure. Having a strong group of friends is powerful. Who we surround ourself with is important. You will begin to evaluate friendships and take steps to confront the unhealthy ones in your life.

E- Empowerment is about feeling strong in your decisions, opinions, and individuality. In many ways, empowerment can be the culmination of the other 4 concepts when integrated successfully into your life. Your confidence will blossom and ultimately – regardless of success or failure – you will grow strong, trust in yourself, and look inward for approval.

For more information about confidence coaching in the SF bay area, email carol@dr-carol.com.

Understanding Teen Drug Addiction and Recovery

Guess blog by Amy Wacholz From Steps to Recovery.

dating violence among teensMany teens experiment with drugs and around half of twelfth graders have used drugs recreationally on at least one occasion. While marijuana is usually the drug of choice among adolescents, prescription medications are also popular owing to their ease of access and their perceived safety, though some teens also experiment with street drugs such as heroin, cocaine, crystal meth and amphetamines. Even though for the majority of youngsters drug taking remains an occasional activity, owing to the addictive nature of illicit drugs it is easy for them to become a habit, which is not only damaging to physical and mental health, but can harm all aspects of a teen’s life. Thankfully, for young adults who find themselves in the grip of a drug addiction, specialist help is available to aid their recovery.

Predisposition to Drug Addiction

As not all teens who start taking drugs become hooked, there are certain factors that can predict whether or not addiction is more likely. For instance, young people with a history of mental health problems are more likely to turn to drugs to boost their mood, confidence or self-esteem, with repeated use for these purposes increasing the likelihood of addiction. A family history of substance abuse also makes us more vulnerable to develop similar habits. However, factors in the environment are just as important as biological traits in predicting drug dependency. Good connections with family and friends, feeling part of the local community, achieving well at school, having outside interests and appropriate parental supervision are just some of the protective environmental factors when it comes to preventing drug misuse.

Understanding Drug Addiction

Addiction is able to occur because taking drugs enhances dopamine production and a rush of this feel-good chemical messenger encourages us to repeat the same behavior. The dopamine reward system is also activated by enjoyable activities such as eating, exercise and sex, but over time with repeated exposure to drugs the brain does not respond in the same way to everyday activities. As a result we lose interest in other things and prioritize drug taking. This isn’t the only impact that drug abuse has on our brain though, as it changes brain circuits that control memory and behavior, leading to cravings and an inability to control the desire to take drugs.

Effective Treatments for Drug Addiction

Although specialist addiction programs are available to successfully help those with a dependency on drugs to free themselves from their habit, figures show that less than 10% of addicts receive the treatment they need. While a drug detox is an important first step during the recovery process, a medically supervised withdrawal followed by a structured program of counseling is essential to achieve lasting abstinence. This is because addiction is complex and multi-component treatment for drug abuse that addresses all needs is usually most effective, particularly when individually tailored to the requirements of each person. Treatment typically includes a combination of individual and group therapy, as well as medication to manage withdrawal symptoms and reduce the risk of relapse in opiate addiction. It is essential that during the recovery process any underlying problems that affect mental wellness are identified, as diagnosis and management of co-existing conditions improves the chance of successfully kicking a drug habit for good.

During a detox from drugs, treatments are available to make the process more comfortable. Medications also play an active part in the treatment of opiate abuse, with methadone and buprenorphine helping to relieve cravings and withdrawal symptoms by binding to the same sites in the brain as heroin and prescription opiates. Following opiate withdrawal, naltrexone is also an option, as by blocking the brain sites where opiates bind, drug taking doesn’t offer the same high, helping to promote abstinence.

Whether receiving addiction treatment on an inpatient or outpatient basis, a range of behavioral therapies are available. The benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy in substance misuse is well recognized and is designed to help people change their thoughts and behaviors so they can avoid or better manage situations when they may be tempted to use drugs. However, before someone begins CBT, motivational interviewing is a helpful strategy to ensure addicts entering rehab are ready to change their behaviors. Motivational incentives can meanwhile help to keep people on track during recovery, as rewards encourage continued abstinence. Finally, multi-dimensional family therapy, which was created with adolescents in mind, helps to address factors that influence drug taking and improves the way that family members connect with one another.

For more helpful information and articles about teen addiction and recovery please visit the website Steps to Recovery.

Tips and Tricks for Teens on Managing Peer Pressure

thOk teens…

In high school, there can be a decent amount of pressure to attend parties and sometimes drink or do drugs. Yes, you can certainly say no to attending the party and avoid the whole thing; however, in some cases you then become the topic of conversation, not at the party, but on Monday at school. That’s no fun.  Not to mention that you want to hang out with your friends and be social, but don’t want to feel the pressure from others.  Be proactive! I suggest coming up with a shortlist of responses that you can use when faced with peer pressure, so you aren’t ostracized for doing the right thing. Here, I started the list for you with a few and when stated confidently and honestly, will be respected by your peers.  Trust me!

(These are related to the example of drinking at a party, but can also be applied to when being pressured to do drugs as well.)

  1. I can’t drink, I’m on medication/antibiotics.
  2. I can’t drink, I’m the designated driver.
  3. I can’t drink, I have practice in the morning (or a big game.)
  4. I can’t drink, I have to work in the morning and really need the money.

What would you add to the list?