Welcome to the Newsletter for ChangeWorks Life Coaching 

May 2006
There is the pain of changing or the pain of not changing...It's up to you

Written by: Maureen Fannin, LCSW

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A Note from Maureen

First, I want to wish all the mothers out there a very Happy
Mother's Day. I hope you are planning to do something nice for
yourself this year and will let everyone take care of you.

I have added another section to my newsletter called
GirlWorks. This section will focus on providing
information on issues relating to improving the lives of
girls. I will be exploring key issues and giving
parenting tips to help parents encourage self esteem and
confidence in girls. I hope you find it useful. This
first issue is exploring what is commonly called the
crisis of confidence in girls that begins in adolescence.
This is an important issue in the lives of girls and has
long standing implications throughout adulthood. I am
trying to have my newsletter not get too long but if I
keep adding sections this may be impossible! Let me know
if you think I'm getting too long winded!

Shattering the Glass Ceiling Within section is focusing on
helping women understand how fear maybe creating barriers in
their lives. The Life Coaching Corner is looking at change as a
process and not just a series of simple steps. I hope you enjoy
this issue. I will see you next time.


What's new - GirlWorks! Group Therapy for school age and
adolescent girls

GirlWorks is a group therapy program that I am developing for
school age and adolescent girls. The mission of GirlWorks is to
offer girls a place where they can explore their feelings,
thoughts, actions, values and choices in a safe and nurturing
environment. At GirlWorks, we support independent thinking,
creative expression of feelings, and work toward promoting a
sense of empowerment in the lives of girls.

For more information on GirlWorks, please contact me at contact
me at 703-626-0381 or e-mail me at I am in
the process of getting this information on my website at Most insurance will be accepted.


GirlWorks- The Crisis Confidence in Girls

If you visit any playground, you will most likely see young girls
laughing and playing confidentially right along with the boys.

In fact, developmentally, girls have an advantage over boys.
They score higher in standardize tests at the beginning of
their education. They are generally more mature than boys
and are more ready to learn.

Despite this early edge, something happens to girls between
elementary and middle school. Academics and psychologist
have discovered a crisis in the confidence of girls as they
move through adolescence. The dynamics of this crisis in
confidence is much too complex to dissect in this
newsletter, but it's important for parents, educators and
those in the community to be aware of this phenomenon.

Girls go from being outspoken, confident, and having dreams
of being a veterinarian, astronaut or lawyer to crippling
silence. They become uncomplaining and compliant. Educators
have made tremendous strides in changing the classroom
environment to better suite the needs of girls, but the
problem with girls is not only educational but emotional.

As girls mature, they become aware of the expectations
society has of women. A conflict emerges between what an
individual girl needs and what is expected of her. Many
girls attempt to cope with this conflict in self defeating
ways. For example, they may turn their anger toward others
on themselves by becoming depressed, withdrawn and even
through self injury.

Girls are taught at an early age to be nice and considerate
of the feelings of those around them. Therefore, it is
difficult to express negative feelings to friends and
family. There are things parents can do to help girls
express their anger outwards and not against themselves.

Parenting Tip-

•Help build your daughter’s self-esteem by letting her know
that you trust her and the decisions she makes. Avoid the
temptation to constantly offer advice. Encourage girls to
think for themselves. If your daughter expresses self-doubt
about her abilities, encourage her to objectively examine the
validity of her beliefs. Explore and encourage your daughter
to pursue her talents.

•It is very important to tell your daughter that you love her and
no matter what happens you always will love and care for her. Be
there when she needs you. Don't ever give up on her. With your
love and support your daughter can pass all tests of life and can
tackle all hurdles with courage.

•Make an effort to empower your girls by enabling them to
identify for themselves and help deal with the feelings of inner
conflict that lead them to self-destructive coping mechanisms
such as eating disorders and self-injury.

•Help you daughter learn to set appropriate limits with peers.
Let her know that it is okay to say no and still feel connected
to others. Many girls have trouble saying no for fear of losing
the relationship. Your daughter must learn to understand that a
positive relationship should support emotional honesty even
through conflict.


Shattering The Glass Ceiling Within- The focus of this section is
to assist women in shattering their self imposed limitations in
order to create a life that fulfills their ultimate potential.

The Barriers within- Women and Fear

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." This famous
quote helped Americans see that fear does not have to stand
in the way of our lives. It helped us understand that the
feeling of fear is often worse than the problem were facing.
However, fear is one emotion that holds a lot of women in a
place of anxiety and immobility.

As women, we fear failure, rejection, success, independence,
dependence, living alone, managing finances, the past, the
future and even the present. For many of us fear has a front
row seat in our lives directing every path taken and not
taken. Fears and anxieties are as diverse and endless as
each individual.

Many of us want our lives back. We want our own wishes
and desires running things and not the fear we feel on a
daily basis. Fear is a barrier that prevents change, but
fear is also an emotion that serves an important purpose.
Fear is an internal warning mechanism that let's us know
something is wrong.

Harriet Lerner, has written an excellent book on the subject
of fear. In her book, Fear and Other Uninvited Guests:
Tackling the Anxiety, Fear, and Shame that Keeps us from
Optimal Living and Loving, Lerner emphasis the importance of
decoding the message our fear is conveying. Many of us stop
short of understanding our fears and spend most of our
energy avoiding what is causing us the most anxiety.

Fear can also be a motivator to move beyond our own comfort
zone to further our growth and development. The key is
knowing when to be motivated and when to run for the hills.
Like good cholesterol and bad cholesterol, there is good
fear and bad fear.

One way of decoding whether you're experiencing "good" fear
or "bad" fear is by doing simple reality testing. Reality
testing is about making a comparison between what is
happening and what you fear is happening.


Use the following questions to test the reality of your fears.

Ask yourself ”what is the evidence that what I fear is happening
or will happen?” For example, suppose you want to leave your
current job, but you fear that you will never get another job at
the same salary. Despite being miserable everyday, you remain at
your current position. Ask yourself:

A.)Where is the evidence that you will never get another job
at the same salary? Do they not pay your salary at any
other company?

B.)Have you ever had trouble getting another job? If so,
for how long?

C.)Do you know what the current job market pays for your
particular career or position?

D.)If you cannot find a job quickly, how much money will be
needed to maintain your current standard of living?

E.)If you have to take a pay cut, how much of a reduced salary
can you make and still maintain your current standard of
living? Is it possible to recapture your old salary after
some time?

The key to reality testing is to look at your fears and ask
questions that challenge the assumptions that support these
fears. By challenging your assumptions, you may acquire a better
handle on whether your fears are based on something tangible or
just based on “fearing fear itself.”

Good Luck!

"Fear is that little darkroom where negatives are developed." -
Michael Pritchard

Coaching topic of The Month- There Are No Simple Answers

I think there is one question that many life coaches and
therapist dread. You are sitting with your client exploring areas
of their life that need changing and they look at you point blank
and want to know how to stop whatever pain they are experiencing.

     It's not that you don't want to answer since it's a fair
     question. I sometimes feel myself at a loss of how to
     respond since I don't have an easy answer. Change is a
     process that begins and moves its way through a maze of
     obstacles within a person's life. There are never simple
     answers to the problems affecting the human condition.

     It's important to remember that change comes in phases.
     Prochaska's model of change is a well known theory that
     provides enlightening information of what is necessary to
     maintain positive and lasting change. Prochaska describes
     five stages of change.

1. Precontemplation
2. Contemplation
3. Preparation
4. Action
5. Maintenance

The answer lies not in one simple answer to solving what ails you
but in identifying your current stage of change. There are
different answers in each stage. Contemplation is often the most
confusing and difficult stage of change. It is also a stage that
tends to keep individuals trapped by their own problematic
thinking. This stage is characterized by being aware that a
problem exists and trying to understand its causes and cures.
Contemplators often substitute thinking for acting. There is a
will to change but this will is simultaneously met with
resistance to change.

     The answer you are seeking will usually be clear when a
     person is ready to move from contemplation to preparation
     and then to action. Contemplators frequently use phrases
     like, "Yes, but….". Even during those time when I do offer a
     clear answer to their questions, I am often met with "Yes,
     but". This response is common and I'm guilty of it myself,
     but it is also an indication that you may not be ready for
     action. The good news is that contemplation is a legitimate
     stage of change. We all must go through a period of self
     reflection before "yes, but" can turn to just plain "yes."

Action Item: Answer the following questions to evaluate your
readiness for action.

6.Are you aware of what needs changing in your life?

7.Have you attempted any concrete action towards making positive
  changes in your life?

8.Are you able to maintain a consistent course of action toward
  your goals?

9. What are you willing to sacrifice for the sake of yourself?

Answering these questions will help you to evaluate your place in
the change process. For more information on Prochaska's model for
change consult the book, Changing for Good: A Revolutionary Six-
Stage Program for Overcoming Bad Habits and Moving Your Life
Positively Forward.


Additional Quotes

"People often say that 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder,'
and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is
realizing that you are the beholder. This empowers us to find
beauty in places where others have not dared to look, including
inside ourselves. " Salma Hayek


Psychotherapy & Life Coaching Services

For more information about ChangeWorks Psychotherapy & Life
Coaching Services, LLC. Please visit our website at


Maureen Fannin, LCSW ChangeWorks Psychotherapy & Life Coaching
Services, LLC 9315 Center Stree, Suite 204 Manassas, VA. 20110

7.  Psychotherapy & Life Coaching Services

I provide individual, couples and family therapy in my psychotherapy practice.  I am currently accepting clients in my Manassas office.  Please contact me at 703-626-0381.

I also provide individual and group coaching and conduct seminars and workshops.  Please contact me at or visit my website at  I am also accepting referrals for coaching.

Good Luck and have a great month!  See you next time!

Maureen Fannin, LCSW

ChangeWorks Psychotherapy & Life Coaching Services 9315 Center Street Suite 204 Manassas, VA. 20110 Phone: (703)626-0381 E-Mail