CONSTANCE SCHARFF, PHD

VP of Business Development

Constance Scharff, PhD is an internationally recognized speaker and author on the topics of addiction recovery and mental health. She currently serves Rock to Recovery as VP Business Development and advises the board as Science and Research Chair. Previously, Dr. Scharff was Senior Addiction Research Fellow and Director of Addiction Research for a luxury addiction treatment center based in Malibu, California. She is the 2019 recipient of St. Lawrence University’s Sol Feinstone Humanitarian Award, honoring her service to and advocacy for those suffering from mental illness, trauma, and addiction.

 

Dr. Scharff’s writing centers around using complementary health and contemplative practices to improve treatment outcomes. Her latest book, Rock to Recovery: Music as a Catalyst for Human Transformation, written with Rock to Recovery founder Wes Geer, describes the impact songwriting and performance have on mental health. She is also coauthor of the Amazon.com #1 best-selling book, Ending Addiction for Good and the award-winning poetry book Meeting God at Midnight.

 

Dr. Scharff regularly travels the world speaking, teaching and advocating for compassionate health practices that destigmatize mental health problems.

Published Articles

Below are articles written for psychologytoday.com talking about how it’s possible to recover from addiction and thrive.

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Most of us are feeling at least some anxiety now. Standard causes of anxiety are compounded by the pandemic, the concern created by the mishmash of reopening rules and strife some feel around vaccinations and emerging Covid-19 variants. There’s a lot to be anxious about!

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Volunteering in support of activities you care about is a great way to feel better mentally and emotionally. Whether your passion brings you to volunteer with groups that serve animals, youth, the homeless, libraries, or any number of fabulous causes, volunteering will improve your mood and overall outlook on life.

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Those who don’t get support after rehab often relapse. Leaving rehab requires planning. This plan usually consists of a list of names of people to call for support. It may include a therapist, the appropriate local 12-step hotline, and more. Many, if not most, people leaving treatment find the idea of calling those numbers overwhelming. Here are six actions to prevent relapse.

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Is taking care of yourself a selfish act? After all, taking care of one’s self may mean deprioritizing others who need or depend upon you. To take a walk, you may need to put an elderly parent or child in the care of another for an hour. Enjoying a soaking bath may require setting firm boundaries that others not bang on the door for a period of thirty minutes.

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Gathering additional support in the pandemic is what your recovery may need. A recovery coach is an individual who provides mentoring and support services to someone early in recovery from addiction or to a person who has a particular obstacle they are struggling to overcome at any point in their recovery.

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November and December are normally the months when we come together to celebrate holidays with friends and family. We travel. We eat. We share gifts. Covid-19 has put a damper on holiday gatherings. We are being asked not to travel or congregate in groups. Millions are out of work. Food insecurity is at the highest level in recent memory. Stress and mental health problems are common.

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While the terms “recovery coach” and “sober companion” are often used interchangeably, they are actually different services. Neither a sober companion nor a recovery coach is a therapist. They do not advise on mental health issues or create a treatment plan for psychological concerns. Rather, they are mentors who have had success in lifestyle change and can help an individual address obstacles to making life changes.

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It’s possible to recover from addiction and thrive, even during a pandemic. Covid 19 has changed the landscape of everything we know, including how mental health and addiction recovery are managed.

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We are in a period where many are experiencing emotional upset and coping with mental health concerns without needed resources. Opioid overdoses are on the rise. Suicide rates are expected to increase. Those working to overcome addiction, trauma, or the stress of unemployment or poverty, may need extra support.