No Longer on the Sidelines
Parents, who have often been a huge part of a young person’s support system both emotionally and financially, are updated weekly by coaches on their son’s or daughter’s progress. “We find that when the parents are involved,” Markle notes, “the success rate increases.” She adds, “But we don’t make promises to them,” especially about completing college.
Academic coaching gets integrated as needed and is a service Collegiate Coaching Services offers to all students who seek support for executive functioning deficits. Primarily students are attending University of Colorado, Boulder. They are in active recovery, functioning at a high level and no longer have active mental health or addiction issues. Still, they meet with an academic coach two or three times a week for academic assistance. Coaches help connect clients with advisors and tutors, plus they help with time management, study skills, and talking with professors.
A positive academic experience can be an excellent way to promote recovery, Markle says. “It’s really important. So many young adults in recovery have had college failures by the time they come to us that it’s an area where they feel a lot of shame.” But, she adds, they’re often academically capable with a higher-than-average IQ. Once they come out of primary treatment, however, they have trouble being successful. That’s one of the reasons Markle and her coaches sometimes suggest working part-time before launching into school. Doing so helps them build those skills necessary for success, such as showing up on time, managing their time, and being accountable to do what they say they will do. Once those skills are grasped, then they are better equipped for success in college.
Markle praises the University of Colorado-Boulder for its high level of support on campus. More than 50 therapists work on the campus. “Some schools might have only 3,” she compares. “CU-Boulder is very self-contained and supportive of their students.”
Collegiate Coaching Services supports CU-Boulder’s Collegiate Recovery Center at CU. Markle shares a special connection with the on-campus program. Not only does each program support the other, but Markle and her team started one of the first Internet Technology Addiction (ITA) programs in the country. The 12-step program had been meeting at Collegiate Coaching Services, but in May 2015, it moved to the Collegiate Recovery Center at CU.
Her beaming smile betrays how proud she is of her clients, her team, and her program. She recognizes the importance of community and connection, whether it is found within her four walls or without. “This team is amazing at building connection and trusting relationships. For our young adults…to feel accepted and recognized and respected right away, we can do amazing work with them and really stretch where they have gone before.” Indeed, the coaches at Collegiate Coaching Services are focused on developing recovery champions.
Addicted to Technology
According to Tracy Markle, founder of Collegiate Coaching services, her program is one of the few in the country to specialize in Internet, gaming, and pornography addiction. Technology addiction is growing, she says. Research finds 13.5-18% of young adults are addicted to the Internet, and based on practical experience, Markle cannot argue with these findings. Thirty percent of her clients suffer from technology addiction, 30% from substance abuse, and 30% from a combination of both. She and her team work closely with experts around the country, learning from and collaborating with them, while also establishing their own procedures and protocols for addressing this 21st-century addiction.
Presently, technology addiction is not listed as an official diagnosis among clinicians. Nevertheless, many in the field agree that it’s an area to watch. At Collegiate Coaching Services, the coaches are not waiting for Internet addiction to make it formally into the medical books. They are pioneering treatment and helping their clients navigate a technology-filled world that they cannot escape.