Student Rehab – 12 Step Program for the Digitally Addicted

It’s August 12th! Less than 2 weeks left before school starts!

You know what time it is!

Time for Back to School Rehab!

Teacher: ‘So students, did everyone have a wonderful Summer?

Okay, glad to hear it.

Now I know you’ve spent the past 3 months playing video games, tweeting and texting on your phones, and fondling the remote control mindlessly, so it’s time for some brief solution-focused group therapy.

How many of you can focus on one thing for longer than 3 seconds?

How many of you have heard of a handheld wireless tool called a ‘book?’

Award-winning book Guide To Self: The Beginners Guide to Managing Emotion and Thought

Let’s see a show of hands please….hold them up. Okay, 2 of you.

In that case, let’s talk about addiction.

Johnny, I need you to stop moving your thumbs.


Yes, just use your thoughts, dear. Really, you can stop fidgeting using your mind!

I know it’s difficult, dear. Just give it a try.

The withdrawals from your iPhones, video games and laptops seem just as bad as nicotine detox.

Addiction is when you can’t stop thinking about where your next fix is coming from. So if all you can think about is getting home to fire up WOW or COD, you just might be addicted!

Call of Duty (COD)

Addiction is when you spend all your energy focusing on how your going to get your next fix. So if you are counting the seconds from first period to the end of the school day while worrying about playing Angry Birds on the iPhone, you just might be addicted!

Remember, quitting technology cold turkey can be brutal.

So if you need a fix during the school day, we were just got in some brand new Kindles. You can use them in the meantime to quiet those nasty eye twitches and finger tics.

Alright. I’m glad we had the chance to have this little chat. There’s the school bell.





John Schinnerer Ph.D.

Great New Book If You Have Boys, Are Dating One or Are Married to One

I just discovered a new book that came out this month called The Male Brain by a neuropsychiatrist, Louann Brizendine, MD.  It is easy to read and filled with scientifically backed info on boys, adolescent males and men. It’s a must read if you have boys (or are married to one!).

For instance, Dr. Brizendine covers areas such as why boys thrive under physically competitive circumstances, are born to rough house and wrestle and are fixated on social rank and hierarchy.  She uncovers the male preoccupation with sex, sexual pursuit and sexual fantasy (i.e., the male brain has an area for sexual pursuit that is 2 ½ times larger than the female brain).

I haven’t finished the book yet, but I’m having a difficult time putting it down. It’s a great read on the heels of The Purpose of Boys by Michael Gurian, which I found to be lighter in the citations and research underpinnings. However, both books are informative and useful for those of us who deal with males, or for those of us who, due to our Y chromosomes, are males.


Have a heroic day!


John Schinnerer, Ph.D.

Positive Psychology Coach

Guide To Self, Inc.

Where Meaning Thrives

Author of Shrunken Mind blog which was recently named Top 3 in Positive Psychology blogs and Top 50 among Sports Psychology blogs.

A Positive Psychology Approach to Teaching? What Teachers Make by Taylor Mali

Uplifting video poetry/performance art – ‘What Teachers Make’ by Taylor Mali.

You MUST check this short inspirational video out. Fantastic! Well done, Taylor!

If I don’t see you first, have a relaxing and interesting spring break!

On your mind,


John Schinnerer, Ph.D.
Positive Psychology Coach
Guide To Self, Inc.

Teen Stress Connected To Depression And Obesity Recent Penn State Study

This past weekend, I presented at a Parenting Conference on Strengths-Based Approaches to parenting. At the conference, a new film, The Race to Nowhere, was screened.The movie brought up a number of pertinent issues regarding the educational system in the United States…



The creation of high degrees of chronic stress in all ages of students (but not all students) due to excessive homework demands.


The excessive homework load seems to be largely due to curriculum which has been pushed down to lower and lower grade, often to the point where the academic requirements are mismatched with the developmental stage of the student.


The well being and happiness of students are not considered relevant in the current educational system.


The current system puts students into a constant forward-looking race to get to the next stage of education. For instance, sixth graders are looking at which foreign language classes to take to get into college; 7th & 8th graders are focused on what to do now to get into the advanced track classes in high school; many high school students are continually focused on what they can do in terms of extracurriculars and AP grades to get into the ‘right’ colleges.


Once in college, students are finding they never learned how to think critically on their own. Rather they were taught to regurgitate facts to do well on standardized tests which assess only a fraction of the whole child’s abilities and skills. 


At some point, many of these students are running headlong into a period of purposelessness and some are even dropping out of college due to depression, anxiety and hopelessness. If you are interested in finding out more about the movie, check out their site at



Today, I came across a new study out of Penn State which shows a link between adolescent stress, depression and obesity. Below is a review on the study borrowed from a fantastic psychology site


By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on February 25, 2010


Obesity is a disturbing worldwide trend. In fact, researchers say the effects are so pervasive that unless the issue is controlled, children born today will not live longer than their parents.

A new research finding provides insight on how a mental health issue may trigger obesity among adolescents. In the study, researchers discovered depression raises stress hormone levels in adolescent boys and girls. And, among girls, the stress hormones may lead to obesity.

Accordingly, early treatment of depression could help reduce stress and control obesity.


Cortisol, a hormone, regulates various metabolic functions in the body and is released as a reaction to stress. Researchers have long known that depression and cortisol are related to obesity, but they had not figured out the exact biological mechanism.

Although it is not clear why high cortisol reactions translate into obesity only for girls, scientists believe it may be due to physiological and behavioral differences (in girls, estrogen release and stress eating) in the way the two genders cope with anxiety.

“The implications are to start treating depression early because we know that depression, cortisol and obesity are related in adults,” said Susman.

If depression were to be treated earlier, she noted, it could help reduce the level of cortisol, and thereby help reduce obesity.

“We know stress is a critical factor in many mental and physical health problems,” said Susman.

“We are putting together the biology of stress, emotions and a clinical disorder to better understand a major public health problem.”

Susman and her colleagues Lorah D. Dorn, professor of pediatrics, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and Samantha Dockray, postdoctoral fellow, University College London, used a child behavior checklist to assess 111 boys and girls ages 8 to 13 for symptoms of depression.

Next they measured the children’s obesity and the level of cortisol in their saliva before and after various stress tests.


Statistical analyses of the data suggest that depression is associated with spikes in cortisol levels for boys and girls after the stress tests, but higher cortisol reactions to stress are associated with obesity only in girls. The team reported its findings in a recent issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health.

“In these children, it was mainly the peak in cortisol that was related to obesity,” Susman explained. “It was how they reacted to an immediate stress.”

Source: Penn State University

For full article, click here.

Have a wonderful and stress-free week!

All the best,

John Schinnerer, Ph.D.

Positive Psychology Coach

Author of the award-winning book Guide To Self:

The Beginner’s Guide To Managing Emotion & Thought Guide To Self, Inc.

913 San Ramon Valley Blvd. #280

Danville CA 94526

(925) 575-0258 – Web site – Award-winning Blog

@johnschin – Twitter


Dr. Dave Van Nuys Interviews John Schinnerer, Ph.D. on Shrink Rap Radio – transcript

Shrink Rap Radio #228, January 10, 2010, Positive Psychology Coaching

David Van Nuys, Ph.D., aka ‘Dr. Dave’ interviews John Schinnerer

(Transcribed from by Virl Seribo)


Excerpt: I don’t know how much listeners know about positive psychology in general, but basically it’s not a self help movement, it’s not a fad.  It is a new branch of science based on a mountain of research into how and when people function at their very best.  And I think at last count, maybe a year or two ago, there were about 50,000 peer reviewed studies that are looking at what make people function optimally.  And to me, that’s what really separates it from, you know, Tony Robbins, or Marianne Williamson, and The Secret.  It’s not those things.  It’s grounded in science and it’s a change after roughly 100 years in the medical profession from what is wrong with us to what is right with us.


Introduction: That was the voice of my guest, Dr. John Schinnerer, who uses Positive Psychology as the underlying framework in his personal coaching practice.  John Schinnerer PhD is in private practice helping individuals learn happiness by mitigating destructive emotions and fostering constructive emotions.  Using positive psychology, he helps clients achieve happy, thriving, meaningful lives.  He graduated summa cum laude from the University of California-Berkeley with a PhD in Educational Psychology.  Dr. Schinnerer has been an executive and psychologist for over 12 years.  He’s president and founder of Guide to Self, a company that coaches clients to their potential using the latest in positive psychology, emotional management, mindfulness, and attentional control.  He’s hosted over 200 episodes of Guide to Self Radio, a primetime radio show on positive psychology in the San Francisco bay area.  Dr. Schinnerer’s areas of expertise range from positive psychology, to emotional awareness, to moral development to sports psychology.  He wrote the award winning Guide to Self: The Beginners Guide to Managing Emotion and Thought, which is available at and other online book sellers.  And he’s currently collaborating with the University of New Zealand in a longitudinal positive psychology study, called The International Well Being Study.  You can send Dr. Schinnerer an email via  Now, here’s the interview…


For the entire interview, please click here to go to


Have a fantastic weekend!

John Schinnerer, Ph.D.

Positive Psychology Coach

San Francisco Bay Area, California< -->