News Reel

Screenagers Showing Hosted by TAG Counseling

Screenagers

Recently Tamara Ancona partnered up with other mental health and educational professionals to host a showing of the film “Screenagers, Growing up in the Digital Age” for other community professionals. After the showing Tamara and four additional mental health and educational professionals led a panel discussion and provided additional resources to the attendees.

“Screenagers” is the first feature documentary to explore the impact of screen technology on kids and to offer parents proven solutions that work. Physician and filmmaker Delaney Ruston decided to make “Screenagers” when she found herself constantly struggling with her two kids about screen time. Ruston felt guilty and confused, not sure what limits were best, especially around mobile phones, social media, gaming, and how to monitor online homework. Hearing repeatedly how other parents were equally overwhelmed, she realized this is one of the biggest, unexplored parenting issues of our time.

Director Ruston turned the camera on her own family and others—revealing stories that depict messy struggles over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction.

Tamara has a Master of Arts in Psychology with a Clinical Counseling Specialty and holds her certification as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Georgia. Her area of specialty prior to establishing her educational consulting practice has included counseling individuals and families in the acute care, corporate, and private practice settings. She also has vast experience facilitating therapeutic, educational and experiential groups with both the adult and teen populations.

Since 1998, her focus as an educational consultant has been to provide families within the Southern Region and across the United States with distinct educational options or therapeutic alternatives for their struggling teen or young adult children.

If you have a teen or young adult struggling with appropriate screen usage call Tamara Ancona, MA, LPC, at (678) 297-0708 for an evaluation, and to discuss potential solutions.

Teens + Screens = A Good Thing?!?

teens on computer

Teens and screens get a bad rap. Too much screen time has negative consequences, and often times teens get into trouble by misusing their time online. But what if we could turn that around? Instead of banning all screen time this summer encourage your teen to make good use of their time.

NetSmartz is a program of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that helps educate children and teens about smart online activity. Parents can go here to learn more about keeping kids safe online. They also have a site dedicated to teens, where teens can play games, watch videos and look at comics dedicated to making better online choices.

And, if you think your teen can take their knowledge to the next level they can go here and download a kit to help teach their peers about online safety.

By involving teens in the conversation about online safety we give them the opportunity to be leaders among their peers and create a safer future for their entire generation.

If you have a teen or young adult struggling with appropriate screen usage call Tamara Ancona, MA, LPC, at (678) 297-0708 for an evaluation, and to discuss potential solutions.

Sober Living & Nightlife

Sober

Sober living can pose challenges to young people looking for activities to do at night, especially when the things they used to participate in revolved around using substances. Passing up chances to spend time with old friends for the sake of sobriety can be overwhelming.

To get you started, here is a list of 11 sober things to do at night, published by  Turnbridge Addiction Recovery Center, that will not put your hard-earned recovery at risk.

  1. For sports fans or athletes: Go to a local sports game. And if you want to get involved, join a sports league in the nearby community. Committing to weekly games will help you get active and meet new people in your area.
  2. For art and history buffs: Not only are museums educational, but they also serve as a great, quiet space for reflection and meditation. If you need a night out of the house, you may consider checking out a nearby museum. Or, if you enjoy a bit of history, you may consider researching local walking tours in your area.
  3. For film lovers: There’s always the option to catch a flick at the local theater. Grab a friend and make a night of it by doing dinner and a movie. Plan ahead and you may even find a nearby film festival. Or, you can invite some friends over, pop some corn, and host a film fest of your own.
  4. For those with a little bit of wanderlust: Travel. Take a mini-road trip or go on a little adventure with a friend. Often, getaways to new places bring out the most enlightening and positive experiences while in recovery. And when you’re sober, there is always a designated driver!
  5. For learners: Take up an online or evening course at a nearby community college. Study a foreign language. Or, visit the local library or pick up a good read at the bookstore. Feed yourself knowledge and you will find yourself going places you would never have imagined.
  6. For those who like a thrill: Want a bit of a thrill? Take a trip to an amusement park! Or, grab some friends and hit up a game room, arcade, laser tag, or bumper cars! If you’re looking for some seasonal sober activities, research haunted houses or spooky happenings in the area.
  7. For those looking for a breath of fresh air: Go for a late night hike or find a nearby rooftop to enjoy. If you are looking for sober, holistic activities to do, pull up YouTube and try some yoga!
  8. For fitness fanatics: Challenge yourself. Is there a 5k you want to run? Train for it! It will feel very rewarding when you do. If you need help keeping up with an exercise regime, join an evening running group or find a personal trainer for that extra push.
  9. For the antsy: Grab a friend and take a walk – anywhere your feet will bring you. Walk to a coffee shop, to get a slice a pizza, or to do some late-night window shopping. You may find the fresh air and a good conversation rejuvenating.
  10. For entertainers: Got good space at your place? Become a host! Have friends over for Sunday night football, plan a pumpkin carving contest, or host a “Friendsgiving Dinner” this November… any occasion is a great occasion to have a sober get-together with your closest friends. The best part is, you will actually remember these parties the next day.
  11. For those who need support: Sometimes, it’s as simple as just attending your 12-step meetings. The majority of people you will find in those meetings are also looking for new friends or something to do at night. After the meeting’s end, suggest going out for coffee or ice cream. Stay at a favorite spot and talk for hours. You may even find yourself shutting it down like you used to do at the bar! And if you want to take it a step further, consider getting dressed up for meetings. Switch out the sweatpants for your favorite pair of jeans to make yourself feel good about who you are and where you’re going. In life after addiction, this is one thing that many people miss – getting dolled up to go out at night.

If an adolescent or young adult in your life is struggling with addictive behaviors and you think they need help call Tamara Ancona, MA, LPC, at (678) 297-0708 for an evaluation, and to discuss potential solutions.

Recognizing Addiction

Recovery

Recognizing and admitting a loved one struggles with addiction is the first step on a long journey of recovery. But how do you recognize if a habit has turned into something more worrisome or potentially life-threatening?

Caring for someone who struggles with addictive behaviors can be frustrating, scary and disheartening. And communicating with them – and getting them to recognize the problem – is challenging.

The Ranch at Dove Tree wrote an article this January, published on their website, addressing these concerns. Their article, The Five Biggest Lies Addicts Tell Themselves about Addiction, below, helps foster an understanding between addicts and the people who want to help them.

“If you have never struggled with substance abuse, it may seem impossible to understand why your loved one continues to engage in behavior that hurts you, your family, and himself.

Remember that addiction is a disease, and as much as this illness can cause an addict to lie to those who love her, it also forces her to lie to herself. Understanding the fallacies and lies that enable addiction can make it easier to communicate with someone who is struggling with substance abuse.

Here are the five biggest lies addicts tell themselves:

  1. I can quit anytime I want to: This lie often manifests in the phrase “as soon as:” I’ll cut back as soon as I’m less stressed at work, as soon as I fix my relationship, as soon as I find a new job. Everyone can relate to this kind of justification; we regularly promise ourselves to start being healthier as soon as the holidays are over or as soon as bikini season begins. We also know how hard it is to keep those resolutions; imagine what it’s like to try to fight a disease like addiction on your own. The truth is that it’s extremely difficult to overcome this illness alone. That’s why it’s so important for addicts to accept that they can’t solve their own problems. Only then can recovery begin.
  2. I only drink on weekends so I can’t be an addict: To an addict, it can seem like their substance abuse is not that big of a deal if it’s limited to two or three nights in a long work week. But limiting binging to a short period of time does not eliminate the health risks associated with abusing drugs and alcohol. Friends and families can often attest that the emotional consequences of weekend benders extend well into the following week. The truth is that addiction is an illness, and although people control it with varying success, no one can manage their disease forever. Those who want to reach out to addicts should recognize that the individual may feel like they are in control of their addiction; it’s important to help your loved one realize how thoroughly their disease permeates your lives.
  3. As long as my addiction doesn’t affect anyone else, it’s okay: Friends and family members of someone who struggles with substance abuse know the truth: addiction always affects other people. Recognizing this justification can help you understand why your loved one lies to you about their addiction. They may believe that they are shielding you from the negative consequences of their behavior. It’s important to recognize that this hurtful behavior can come from a place of love; showing the addict exactly how their addiction DOES affect you and your family can be an influential part of helping them recognize the need for seeking treatment.
  4. I’m not as bad as him or her, so I’m okay: Again, this is an easy justification to understand. From our job performance to our health habits to our relationships, we often compare our actions to other people’s failings as a means of justification. But this unhealthy practice is especially fatal for addicts. The truth is that with addiction, as in life, there will always be people who are better or worse off. Be prepared for this kind of self-justification and firmly remind your loved one that other people’s behavior is no excuse. The ultimate consequences of addiction, and the potential for recovery, are on the individual.
  5. I don’t care if my addiction kills me: For a person who loves an addict, this is one of the most hurtful lies that substance abusers tell themselves. Remember that addiction comes with a plethora of physical, emotional, and psychological consequences. Addicts suffer from failing health, neck-break mood swings, and warped perception. Substance abuse can often wreak havoc on professional and personal lives as well, which further contributes to depression. It’s no wonder that many addicts feel hopeless. The truth is that through the detox and recovery process, your loved one’s perception will change. As they regain their physical health and well-being, and begin to address the emotional issues related to their addiction, a person who struggled with substance abuse will start looking at the world through a completely different lens. As someone reaching out to a loved one who has given up hope, remember all of the factors that contribute to your friend or family member’s attitude. Express how much they mean to you, but do not be discouraged by defeatism. Their mood at their lowest point does not indicate their potential for the future.

Whatever your relationship with an addict, it’s important to understand that this problem is a disease, both physical and mental. Remember that your perception and that of your loved one who is addicted to drugs and alcohol are fundamentally different. Arming yourself with an understanding of the self-deceptions that enable addiction can make it easier to relate to your loved one, and begin to help them recognize the seriousness of the problem.”

If you have a teen or young adult one struggling with addiction call Tamara Ancona, MA, LPC, at (678) 297-0708 for an evaluation, and to discuss potential solutions.

Tamara Ancona Participates in Panel Discussion

Screenagers

Recently Brandon Hall School hosted a showing of the film “Screenagers” for their students’ parents and local community. “Screenagers” is the first feature documentary to explore the impact of screen technology on kids and to offer parents proven solutions that work.

Physician and filmmaker Delaney Ruston decided to make “Screenagers” when she found herself constantly struggling with her two kids about screen time. Ruston felt guilty and confused, not sure what limits were best, especially around mobile phones, social media, gaming, and how to monitor online homework. Hearing repeatedly how other parents were equally overwhelmed, she realized this is one of the biggest, unexplored parenting issues of our time.

Director Ruston turned the camera on her own family and others—revealing stories that depict messy struggles over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction.

As an additional resource to parents Tamara Ancona was invited to participate in a panel discussion following the film, and help answer questions parents had surrounding their own teen’s screen usage.

Tamara has a Master of Arts in Psychology with a Clinical Counseling Specialty and holds her certification as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Georgia. Her area of specialty prior to establishing her educational consulting practice has included counseling individuals and families in the acute care, corporate, and private practice settings. She also has vast experience facilitating therapeutic, educational and experiential groups with both the adult and teen populations.

Since 1998, her focus as an educational consultant has been to provide families within the Southern Region and across the United States with distinct educational options or therapeutic alternatives for their struggling teen or young adult children.

If you have a teen or young adult struggling with appropriate screen usage call Tamara Ancona, MA, LPC, at (678) 297-0708 for an evaluation, and to discuss potential solutions.