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January 2015
the guide
e-newsletter: helping teenagers find their way.

Teen Talk Blog
The Poison of Perfectionism
by Merrett Sheridan, LMFT,
image: CollegeDegree360

Site Director at Palo Alto High School

I've failed over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed" - Michael Jordan

"Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly" - Robert F. Kennedy

For Adolescent Counseling Services at Palo Alto High School, the most common issue we saw students for last year was academic stress.  At the root of this is often a belief around being perfect fueled by extremely negative judgments about making mistakes and failure.  The cost of perfectionism and the resulting stress is extremely high, both emotionally and physically.  At a perfectionists core is a belief that mistakes are unacceptable and that their self-worth is dependent upon not making any, EVER.  The challenge here being that everyone makes mistakes so the perfectionist is inevitably doomed having set for themselves an unreachable goal and hanging their well-being in the balance of reaching it.  This leads to high levels of stress and I often point out to these students that perfectionism and mental health are mutually exclusive, you simply cannot have both.  Mistakes are nothing to fear and there's no way around them, and if you react rather than learn from them they will have served no purpose other than to further eat away at your self-worth.


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ACS 411
Parenting Our Teens Through the Challenges of Life:
A Conference on Adolescent Mental Health

Saturday, February 28, 2015 | 9:00 am to 3:30 pm
Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, 950 Santa Cruz Ave, Menlo Park, CA
Join ACS Executive Director, Philippe Rey, Psy.D. and other noted experts for an all-day conference focusing on adolescent behavior, substance abuse, mental health issues, and other topics related to parenting adolescents. Cost $25, includes lunch.
For more information, click here.
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  • Spring Sounds 2015 | Saturday, May 2, 2015 | 6:30 to 11:00 pm
    Oshman Family JCC , 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto 
    Help us celebrate our 40th Anniversary!  
    Check for ticket info and event updates.
  • Silicon Valley Gives 2015 | Tuesday, May 5, 2015 | 12:00 am to 11:59 pm
    Check for updates 
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Adolescent Counseling Services | 1717 Embarcadero Rd, Ste 4000 | Palo Alto, CA 94303
(650) 424-0852 |