Jayson Blair

Jayson Blair is a former reporter at The New York Times who was responsible for one of the greatest scandal's in the newspaper's history. Since then, Mr. Blair has been a motivational speaker on topics ranging from ethics to mental health. He focuses on l

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Virginia, USA  •  General Availability

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My name is Jayson Blair and I am a certified life coach. I use my experience with bipolar disorder and other issues to help others in similar situations.

I provide life coaching on coping skills, life goals, career, inattention, avoiding triggers that cause mood and anxiety problems, substance abuse and other issues, as well as crisis assistance to individuals and families involved in therapeutic and medical interventions. I provide my services exclusively through Ashburn Psychological Services, Loudoun County, Va.'s premier psychological and psychiatric practice and through my consulting company, Goose Creek Consulting.

Life coaching was a natural outgrowth of my personal experience as the founder and executive director of the Depression Bipolar Support Alliance-Northern Virginia, a group I started to provide support groups, educational programs, speaking events and other services to those with mood disorders and their family members and friends. I started DBSA-Northern Virginia after being diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder, formerly known as manic depression. I have struggled with moods, anxiety, substance abuse, career issues and many of the other areas where I coach.

My knowledge base comes from personal experience, working relationships with psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health professionals, graduate studies in psychopathology, psychopharmacology, industrial/organizational psychological, organizational development and other areas driven by interest and personal necessity.

My practice involves working with people, as do many life coaches, who struggle with career issues, motivation, time management, organization, inspiration and relationships, but I also focus on a non-traditional group of people for life coaches, and that involves people with bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, substance abuse problems and pervasive developmental disorders, such as autism and Aspergers. In order to serve those clients, I team with mental health professionals who manage medications and provide psychotherapy, while I work with the client on action-oriented interventions. I like to think of my work as being handed off the ball by psychiatrists and psychologists in order to bring the benefits of medication and therapy alive in the world outside of the office.

For example, in coaching clients who have problems with social skills we address many of the fears, anxiety and communication problems that are associated with social phobias, but then we translate that into reality through "exposure coaching," a fancy way of saying that we go out and talk with people, meet with people and get to know people.

In attention deficit disorder work, I provide concrete recommendations, work on study and coping skills individually tailored to the client and then begin to help them implement what we have learned in their lives, adjust to what we learn from implementation and then relentlessly following up.

In career work, as another example, I take detailed work, academic, social and family histories, help my clients measure and balance their competing imperatives, explore the type of people they would like to work with, the type of places that would like to live, the types of environments they would like to work in and develop a plan that we not only put into place, but that we begin to act on. Similar work with high school and college students often saves them the trouble of having to come to someone like me for help with career transition at a later point in life.

For people struggling with mood disorders and substance abuse problems, we talk about all sorts of medical interventions and therapy options, but the bulk of our work is identifying the triggers that are likely to send clients hurtling toward manic or depressive episodes, and coming up with a way to avoid them and still live fruitful lives. After major episodes, I work with clients on the activities of daily living, following up on recovery one step at a time and providing a safe place to grow, make mistakes, get back up again and enjoy life more fully. I firmly believe in harnesses the beautiful things about mental illness -- whether its creativity and depth, or energy and daydreaming -- so that the client can live a safe and healthy life without giving up the things that make them unique. Life should not just be safe, but it should also be fulfilling.

I am on the board of the Regional Recovery Workgroup, a mental health consumer partnership appointed by the Virginia Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services to improve mental health recovery efforts. I have participated in documentaries on my life and bipolar disorder, published my autobiography, contributed to an essay on the concept of guilt and diminished capacity in the legal system, for the book Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: Letters and Essays from the Famous and Infamous on the True Legal Definition of Guilt in America, written by CNN television host Larry King. I have written several articles about how individuals can cope with bipolar disorder for bp magazine.

I have professional relationships with several top-flight psychiatric hospitals, psychiatric and substance abuse day treatment programs, intensive outpatient substance abuse programs, adolescent therapeutic boarding schools and outpatient psychiatric-school programs, mental health professionals, career consultants, recruiting firms and others who can be of assistance to my clients.

I am a member of the Institute for the Advancement of AD/HD Coaching, the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches, the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches, the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation, the Depression Bipolar Support Alliance, the group Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and I tutor children at several schools in Fairfax County, Va.

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