Friday, September 9, 2016


How can you proceed in your life IF you are ruled by fear?The simple answer is, you can't. Fear will make your life small, then make it shrink to isolation. If you find yourself avoiding going out, trying new things, turning down invitations, it may be time to examine how and why your are holding yourself back from taking risks, adventure, socializing, and being proactive about giving your life purpose, meaning and fun. How do you start to face your fear?.........borrowing from Cheryl Sandberg, you have to "lean into your life." Her reference is women in the workplace and leadership, but all of these ideas apply to anyone holding themselves back. To sum up my notion about conquering fear, "the only way out of fear is through the fear."  Lean into the fear and you will find the barriers are easier to penetrate than you imagined you may have skills now to cope, manage and overcome those mental/emotional barriers. Fear can grow into anticipatory anxiety or even panic attacks if unchecked. Your fight or flight response (Amygdala) actually hijacks your limbic system causing a flood of stress hormones to flow and either paralyze you or cause you to want to escape.  
You may need to find support, a coach, or engage in psychotherapy to get in touch with and break the patterns or cycles that perpetuate the fear. The more you avoid taking on your fears, the stronger and more entrenched they become.  Many times I find once confronted, the fear of the fear has been so great, there is a complete shutdown. Examples of fear of driving, flying, speaking in public make you a prisoner. The brain can be helped with Cognitive Behavioral Techniques to change those patterns and create new calming, reassuring circuits that boost confidence, calm and competence in your own mind and world. 

Medication Assisted Treatment

Addiction to opioids kills 78 people a day in America, which has more than quadrupled since 1999. This drastic spike has demanded the attention of the mental health field, and resulted in new treatments. One in particular is gaining momentum...

Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) combines the use of specific medications in combination with therapeutic services, ultimately resulting in a drug free life. Medications have been used widely in the past to overcome substance abuse, but not until recently has the field strongly positioned the emphasis on therapeutic services as well. It has evolved into a whole-patient approach.

These services empower the patient to break through addictions with the initial use of a suppressant. The prescribed medications, such as suboxone and methadone, curb cravings, and allow the patient to focus on the issues that led to substance abuse. This is particularly effective for opioid and heroin addiction, in which physical withdrawals are extreme, and especially those who are at risk for overdose. But the the modality been found effective in smoking and alcohol addiction as well. MAT confronts the physical dependence that addiction creates while also understanding the need to work through the psychological component of addiction. It's a blended; two-pronged approach.

Treatment centers around the country are adopting this method after research has shown its effectiveness. And it is spreading like wildfire. It is a hot topic for SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), IRETA (Institute for Research, Education, and Addiction), and The Association for Addiction Professionals. Stay tuned for updates from these organizations!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The "Imposter Syndrome"

Feelings of self-doubt can plague any of us. An internal negative dialogue can be debilitating. We may not feel worthy of our accomplishments or even devalue them because they don't meet our expectations. Of course, the expectations are for perfection!!!! Since no one can be perfect, we arrive at not feeling very good about ourselves, perhaps even a fake, imposter about to be found out as incompetent. This fear and negativity generates a lack of self-worth, poor self-esteem can threaten confidence and happiness, thus fueling our feeling like a fraud.
Psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes first documented the Imposter Phenomenon. Their research documents how high achievement doesn't automatically translate or correlated to a deep sense of confidence. Many people fear being discovered as imposters which feeds a sense of doubt and fear. In fact, questions arise that dominate the negative self-talk with questions of "Do I deserve to be here?", "Do I really have what it takes to succeed?" Anxiety levels rise. Fear of being "discovered"  as less than competent or even a fraud can be a plague as you progress through the career ladder. What to do?
  1. Squelch the negative inner voice and replace it with positive and affirming self-talk.
  2. Don't fall into the "perfect trap." Being a perfectionist will cold your judgement and cause you to procrastinate and drive more negativity. Who can really be perfect anyway?
  3. Learn by taking risks to achieve your goals. Mistakes are opportunities to improve. Setbacks help you grow. Embrace them and then enjoy the journey.
  4. Doubts? Get some coaching or help to focus on what is really important to gain a new perspective.
  5. Focus.......stifle the inner critic and build an self-affirming. Validate yourself, focus on successes and what you do well.
  6. Validate, affirm and enjoy your accomplishments and successes. 
Confidence is knowing you can do something well. Self-esteem is "how you feel about what your are doing."  So, work on every project, relationship and effort to focus on doing your best, then confidence and self-esteem will emerge. Then, you won't feel like a fraud or imposter. 

Why Worry? Recently, a reprint of the book  Why Worry  by friend and prolific author, Eric A. Kimmel was recently released. Gayle and ...