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Mon, Sep 12


Online Event

How Self-Medication Theory, Prochaska's Stages of Change & Harm Reduction Can Improve Outcomes for System Involved Youth

Dr. Lauren Szyper

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How Self-Medication Theory, Prochaska's Stages of Change & Harm Reduction Can Improve Outcomes for System Involved Youth

Time & Location

Sep 12, 2022, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM PDT

Online Event

About the Event

Dr. Lauren Szyper

Training Description

The focus of this training is to better understand how heightened stress and mental health challenges that system involved youth and families face can lead them to turn to food, substance use, and other repetitive behaviors as a way of attempting to soothe themselves. The Self-Medication Theory and Prochaska’s Stages of Change in conjunction with Meyer’s Minority Stress Model will be covered as ways to conceptualize and better understand this way of self-soothing.

Learning Objectives

● Participants will learn about the common reasons at-risk system involved youth and families turn to food, substances, or other habitual activities as a way of attempting to cope

● Participants will learn the difference between use and abuse.

● Participants will learn about Prochaska’s Stages of Change and how to help identify where they are at in their relationship with self-medicating



● Time will be allotted for all participants to join and “sign-in”

● A brief introduction of the presenter

● Overview of the agenda

● Review of training goals and objectives

● Opportunity for participants to share why they chose to attend this training and identify anything they would like to be covered that may not be in the agenda or would like to go more into detail about.


● Natural responses to uncertainty

● Defining self-medication

● Common reasons for self-medicating

● Co-occurring disorders, the common overlap of mental health concerns and self-medication

● Habit versus addiction

● Self-medicating with food

     o Intuitive eating and Undieting

     o Cultural and family influences on our relationship with food

     o Body image and self-esteem and the influence of culture

● Self-medicating with substance use with an emphasis on alcohol use

     o Normalization of alcohol consumption

     o Perception of addiction; the us vs. them mentality

10:30AM-10:45AM: Break (CEUs will not be offered for this time)


● Self-medicating with substance use with an emphasis on alcohol use continued

     o The physiological impact of alcohol

● Self-medicating with online shopping

● Self-medicating with gambling

● Self-medicating with work

● An overview of the Transtheoretical Model (Stages of Change)

● Increased vulnerability for self-medicating among marginalized/highly vulnerable groups

     o Conceptualization through Meyer’s Minority Stress Model

11:45AM-1200PM: Break (CEUs will not be offered for this time)


● An overview of the Harm reduction model

● Avoidance and numbing versus genuine stress reduction

● Reframing intense emotions

● Mindfulness and other strategies to create new coping mechanisms

● Resources


● Opportunities for final questions

● Review of training objectives and assuring they have been met

● Discussion of how participants will utilize what they learned

● Complete evaluations


Meet Our Trainer(s)

Lauren Szyper holds a doctorate in clinical psychology.  She has worked full time in community mental health for about 15 years now, serving a diverse high-risk population overcoming challenges related to mental illness, addiction, homelessness, immigration status, and the like.  Lauren has worked with children, teens, adults, and seniors with complex trauma and have worked closely with the child welfare system.  She has facilitated clinical trainings for numerous years on topics ranging from crisis intervention and de-escalation, understanding the child welfare system, to trainings on professional boundaries, and working with the LGBTQ communities.

This course meets the qualifications for (3.5) BBS CEUs for LCSWs, LMFTs, LPCCs, and LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences & is provided by Fred Finch Youth Center, CAMFT Provider #045295.

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