Monday, March 31, 2014

Keep Your Eye on the Prize!-- A Young Person's Guidebook to Adulthood

Welcome to a peek at my first book, Keep Your Eye on the Prize! This is a young person’s guidebook to adulthood, containing the best psychological tools for dealing with life, like difficult people, finding a life that fits, and surviving hard times. This posting will give you some information on the book, which you can check out through my Website:

INTRODUCTION—The Story Behind Keep Your Eye on the Prize!
In 2009, I was surprised and honored to receive a Hiram Hunn Award for over 30 years of service to the Harvard College Office of Undergraduate Admissions. After this, I decided to “give back” set pen to paper to write this book, which is targeted for parents and young people from age 15 through the 20s “and beyond,” as well as school and mental health counselors, clerical counselors, educators, and educational administrators. The book takes you through the transformational journey from adolescence to young adulthood, helping untangle this turbulent time, while providing helpful “tools” to make the journey easier. This non-academic guide selects from a universe of psychological principles distilling a few vital concepts that have been helpful to many young people. Illustrated with true stories, this pocket-sized guide is full of real life wisdom. An invaluable resource and book of wisdom

Winston Groom, author of Forrest Gump, and father of a high school student himself, described Keep Your Eye on the Prize! as “Absolutely essential for anyone leaving home for the first time.  Avoid this book at your peril.  Read it, absorb it, and you’ll never be stupid again!”

TABLE OF CONTENTS:                                                                          
Chapter 1: Your personal Prism and Type                                                        
Chapter 2: The Challenges of the Transition—
                        Trying Things Out and Managing Independence;   
                         Recognizing and Addressing Problems
Chapter 3: Adjustment & Transformation in the Journey of Life—Growing from “I” to “We”
Chapter 4: A Four Quadrant Model for achieving balance in life                 
Chapter 5: The Emotional Quadrant and the Process of Individuation        
                        The Soul and the Emotions—Happiness and Pain
                        The Psychological Tasks of Life
The Conscious and the Unconscious
The Role of the Defenses
Encounter With the Shadow
Falling in Love
                        Emotional Suffering—Anxiety, Shame, Humiliation, Jealousy, Envy, 
Chapter 6: Sisyphus and the Archetypal Problem of “Rowing Upstream”   
Chapter 7: The Miracle of Healing                                                                
Chapter 8: Synchronicity—a Miraculous Coincidence                                  
Chapter 9: Finding Your Archetype                                                              
Chapter 10: Confidence, Choice, and Self-Knowledge                                
Chapter 11: “Keep Your Eye on the Prize!”  


“Absolutely essential for anyone leaving home for the first time. Avoid this book at your peril. Read it, absorb it--and you'll never be stupid again!”
Winston Groom, author of Forrest Gump and parent of a high school student

“This is an outstanding book for students entering college. It spells out typical psychological and social problems, guides the reader to understand underlying causes and mental mechanisms and gives superb direction in dealing with these problems.  It is must reading for students and their counselors.”
Stephen Scheiber, M.D.
Past Executive Vice-President, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
Past President, Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry, the profession’s oldest “think tank”

“Dr. Barbara Long’s book, Keep Your Eye on the Prize!, is a powerful addition to the literature. It provides a wealth of information for young people and those who counsel and interact with them. The book includes, as well as many other sections, a very understandable integration of psychodynamic concepts and real life experiences. Also a section on social networking and the Internet in today’s world is very important with an understanding of feelings and behavior as they relate to this area and the important need for boundaries.  The book has uplifting and valid information for all.  I strongly endorse it.”
            Marcia Kraft Goin, M.D., Ph.D.
            Past President, American Psychiatric Association
Professor of Clinical Psychiatry
Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California

“Keep Your Eye on the Prize! is an excellent guide for college-bound high school youth and their parents, but it also would be a valuable resource for educators and counselors.  It explains the psychological constructs associated with the transition from adolescence to young adulthood in a refreshing literary style that uses case vignettes and information tools accompanying each chapter.  I plan to add this “prize” to my library and anticipate I will be referring to it regularly.”
Beth Ann Brooks, M.D., M.S.A.
Professor and Associate Chair for Education
Wayne State University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences
Program Director, Psychiatry and Child/Adolescent Psychiatry Residency Programs, Detroit Medical Center/Wayne State University

“Going off to college is an exciting, challenging and at times stressful life-changing event. It is a transition that requires learning new psychological and interpersonal tools. 
Barbara Long's Keep Your Eye on the Prize is a clear and well-written "toolbox" that parents will want in their children’s backpacks or e-book reader and that educators should share with their students.”

Jack Drescher, MD
Clinical Associate Professor, New York Medical College
President-Elect, Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry
Emeritus Editor, Journal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health

“This book is a treasure during a hyper-uncertain time in a young person's life. It covers all the practical bases a student encounters as they enter and continue their journey throughout college. It is wise and eminently readable. Strongly recommended.”
Barrie Sanford Greiff, MD
Psychiatrist, Harvard University Health Services and Psychiatrist to the Harvard Business School, Emeritus    

"A great time was had by all who attended [the annual Harvard Club of MN send-off party]... We gave one of your books to [the host] and one to a [past President]. The others were glommed up instantly by some of the students. The others were left wanting... I'll have the MN Club send [more books] out to this wonderful crop of students. Thanks ever so much for sharing your writing capabilities and thoughtfulness in this great primer for the adolescent cadre/cohort."
Ray Payne, Past President of the Harvard Club of MN

“Barbara Long’s insightful book breaks new ground by examining the later years of adolescence and of early adulthood, rarely considered together. In today’s world, that passage is ever more complex and this work provides valuable insights, helpful reference materials, and compelling illustrations of the journey. Whether you are an adolescent, young adult, parent, educator, counselor, or clinician, you will be better informed, indeed strengthened, by this book.”  
Lance Odden, Headmaster Emeritus, The Taft School

“This good book written by Dr. Barbara Long is, in my opinion, is a most useful and practical guide for young people. It is hard to be a young person these days, so to have wise and caring words of problem solving advice available in a pocket guide is wonderful. I wholeheartedly endorse this inspirational work which I believe will serve young people and their parents quite well.”
Frank D. Millet
Director of Admission Emeritus, Milton Academy

Monday, March 17, 2014

Hold On To Your Hat!-- Handling the Roller Coaster Emotions of the College Application Process

I hope you have enjoyed my postings to date. The ideas come from my two books, which these next few postings will introduce. Hold On To Your Hat takes on the “roller coaster” emotions that create intense stress for parents and students during the college application process. The book describes the five stages of the process and gives true stories and strategies for handing the emotions that arise. Hope you will check them out. You can access the book’s Website from my professional Website:

I. Introduction                                                                                               

II. Before You Start                                                                                                                                       A. Ready for College?                                                                            
            B. Sidebar for Parents— Financial                                                    
                        1. Financial Fragility— Sue                                                   
                        2. Trophies for Dad— Daniel                                                
C. Uncertainty→ Anxiety→ Action                                                 
            D. The “Rights” of Legacy— Vanessa                                                          
            E. “It’s Your Fault!”— Marc                                                             
            F. Collecting Trophies— Jacob                                                                      

III. Tools for the “Ride”                                                                                
A. Affect Theory                                                                                           
            B. Sidebar for Parents— Reviewing the Past                                    
                        1. Shame and Guilt— Mick                                                   
                        2. Humiliation— Vanessa and Marc                                      
3. Anger and Revenge— Jan                                                 
                        4. Continuation of a Legacy: “Follow Me!”— Ben, Thomas
            C. Sidebar for Parents of Young Children                                                    
D. Getting to Emotional Neutrality— the Emotions Scale                           

IV. The Five Stages                                                                                                              
            Stage 1: Preparation                                                                           
            Stage 2: Engagement                                                                         
            Stage 3: Waiting                                                                                
            Stage 4: Decision Day                                                                       
                        1. Success— Accepting with Class                                       
                        2. The Wait List                                                                                 
                        3. Rebooting from Rejection                                                 
                                    Do’s— Richard                                                                      
            Stage 5: Emotional Acceptance— the Power of Perspective— Glenda       

V. Summing Up    

VI. Lagniappe                                                                                              


Years ago, my children and I went to a local amusement park that housed the famous “Excelsior,” an advanced roller coaster ride “guaranteed to thrill and amaze” its riders.  My children were keen to try it and urged me to join them.  I looked up at the structure, denying the discomfort that stirred inside, and agreed.  Nothing I had ever done in life prepared me for the terror of this experience as our car slowly edged up the incline before dropping vertically for what seemed to be an eternity.  “Hold on to your hat!” I cried as my kids and I clung to each other in abject fear. Then the car twisted and turned laterally in stomach-churning gyrations before mercifully ending.  Three dizzy, slightly green, and chastened individuals silently groped their way to a bench on terra firma, while a co-participant, a young man of about 18 gleefully said, “Wow!  Wasn’t that great?  How about that first part—like jumping off a XXXX-ing mountain!” 

Applying to college can feel like climbing on the Excelsior.  You may step on at the last minute with no emotional preparation, and like the young man above you may enjoy the ride.  Or as I felt before I climbed on, you may feel anxious and uncertain but climb on anyway, unprepared for what follows.

This book is meant for students and parents who want to learn how to handle the emotions of this process. If you are about to step onto this emotional roller coaster, this book will help you understand (1) What happens in the five emotional stages of the process; (2) How uncertainty intensifies the emotions; (3) How you can develop the emotional skills and resilience needed to cope with the process without counterproductive or even destructive behavioral and emotional consequences. To do this, the book will discuss Affect Theory as background to understanding human emotions.  It will present both true stories of how people have responded both positively and negatively under these pressures and the winning strategies that have helped others who have gone on this “ride” before.


“Wonderful information. A must for anyone involved in the college application scene.”
Winston Groom
Award winning author (Forrest Gump and 16 other books) and parent of a high school student

“Barbara Long has done something remarkable.  In the abundance of well-intentioned self-help books about college admissions, she has honed in on the crucial question that is often ignored in the race to get into a name-brand college.  Her question is: how can you go through this process with balance, grace, and humility so that if you are rejected, you will still feel like a whole person?   Her advice works both for applicants and especially for their parents.   It includes amusing, but also serious examples, of over-the-top reactions to bad news.  I wish I had a copy to give to every parent at my high school.  I will recommend it widely.”
            Jon Reider
Director of College Counseling
San Francisco University High School

“Barbara, First, I do want you to know that your book is one of the best I have ever read about the many challenging aspects of today's college admissions process. Frankly, after years in a Dean's role and recalling how often my fellow admissions officers and I have been called upon to "explain" the reasons for a disappointing decision by understandably upset parents, I feel you have captured the unique psychological influences involved in the present-day overwhelmingly selective college admissions process. This phenomenon is being felt at all types of schools in addition to the most selective ones. 

Parents, I feel, in today's uncertain national and international economies want most of all to ensure that their children will have the best background in order to hopefully guarantee success in life however that is defined. Therefore, the "best" colleges and universities are benefitting from this mindset as are many of America's best known and respected state-related schools.

Your exceptionally helpful and insightful book should be required reading for all who are an active part of the college search experience, even including the prospective students. But all parents will be well-served to digest your observations and especially your interesting case studies. In well-chosen words you are able to suggest the reasons for the heightened level of anxiety. Your writing style is quite honest and refreshingly candid which will allow readers to put the entire process into some kind of order and perspective. While some parents may not agree with the admissions decisions, they will better understand the dynamics at work in today's climate. Again, I may not have read every piece of literature on this subject but I feel certain that "Hold On To Your Hat" will go a long way to helping many individuals understand the realities and reasons for the "selective college" admissions universe.

Finally, your organization of the various steps in the process will assist families to better navigate as well as more clearly understand what is ahead. Your book has been needed for many years. I predict much success and expect it will have a significant influence on many individuals!!”
            Lee Stetson
Dean of Admissions, University of Pennsylvania 1978-2008
Director of Admissions, University of Delaware 1974-78    

"Dr. Long's book provides college-bound students and parents with a practical understanding of, and approach to, the college application and selection process. It's less about grades and scores and more about expectations and emotions."
Michael Quinn
Vice President for Enrollment Management
Randolph College, Lynchburg, VA

“After living through the college admissions cycle six times with each of our children, I only wish Barbara’s thoughtful analysis and practical advice had been available to me during the process. Barbara’s clear explanation of the psychological processes at work in college admissions provides a useful and unique perspective for anyone embarking on the process for the first…or even the sixth time!” 
Lynn Wendell
Mother of six college graduates
            San Francisco, California

“I LOVE the book! You have done all of us a favor to write this book.  Well done!!”
Missy Sanchez
College counselor emeritus
Woodward Academy
Atlanta, GA

“As a college counselor on the high school side, I would recommend Dr. Long's book to each and every family I work with.  Parents and students alike "learn" incorrect information about the college search process from friends, relatives, and others.  "Hold On To Your Hat" demystifies the process and provides accurate information and solid advice I could only hope my students and parents come across.  I will be suggesting Dr. Long's book to every parent and student I work with.” 
DeeDee R. Willcox
College Counselor
Deerfield-Windsor School
Albany, Georgia

 “I really like it— easy to read and full of very sound advice!”
David Baron, M.D.
Professor and Vice Chair, Dept of Psychiatry, Assistant Dean of International Relations
Psychiatrist-in-Chief, University Hospital
Keck School of Medicine
University of Southern California

“As the parents of two college graduates, a current undergraduate, and a high school senior going through the application process, we applaud Dr Long for writing such a practical and informative overview of the college application/selection process. Not only does this guide provide all the necessary tools and pertinent information to guide both parents and students through the application process, it also provides valuable guidance on a topic rarely covered well by other publications, namely how to deal with acceptance and the disappointment of not being accepted into the student’s school of choice.  This is an exceptional guide to navigate through the college search, application and selection process. Well Done!!”
Nick and Maxine Mitchell
Parents of four children
Marietta, Georgia

“I am a mother of two children ages 16 and 17 and can already feel the intense anxiety that everyone experiences as they launch into this process with their kids.  The anxiety is there because no one knows what to expect emotionally from the process.  Dr. Long’s book was such a relief to read, because it dealt with the emotions involved and especially the challenges of expectations and disappointment—huge issues for parents and kids alike.  The book couldn’t have been more helpful in explaining the steps of the emotional process and I am so happy to have gotten the chance to read the book, because I am now beginning this roller coaster ride myself with my older child.  It was a relief to know what is coming up!”
Mignon Topping
Mother of two teenagers
Atlanta, Georgia

"This book by Dr. Long is a wonderful and most helpful to read before and during the college admission process for both parents and students.  By the time parents and their children are through the college admission process, it will show the signs of a well read and well loved book!  This book will be particularly helpful for parents who have attended Ivy League colleges when the admissions landscape was very different from today's highly competitive process, even for those students with exceptional qualities."
            Frank D. Millet
Director of Admissions, Emeritus
Milton Academy, Milton, MA

“Interesting overview that encompassed a variety of upcoming experiences in a journey that will be easier having read this.”
Robbin Wheatley
Mother of a high school sophomore
Roswell, Georgia

“I liked it! Rarely do you read any literature on the emotional component of the process. It provides a fresh and interesting perspective from the emotional perspective around the college application process. Long presents real and accurate family situations ranging from financial constraints to legacy expectations that that evoke various emotional reactions from the students.  Long also provides a comprehensive toolbox for parents to and students to use to help navigate the emotional side of applying to college.”
Jill Mattos
Mother of two high school children
Atlanta, Georgia

“Really wonderful!  What a practical, thoughtful, articulate and well written guide to understand and untangle the mysteries of the college process. This is a must read for all parents and college bound teenagers who may be on the roller coaster.”
            Paramjit T. Joshi, MD
President-Elect, American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Endowed Professor & Chair, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Children's National Medical Center
Professor of Psychiatry, Behavioral Sciences & Pediatrics
George Washington University School of Medicine
Washington, D.C.

Hold On To Your Hat! is a comprehensive guide to the emotional journey that students and parents face when dealing with college decisions. Applicable not only to the college process but in dealing with major life decisions, this book gives the reader the opportunity to grow through the diverse experiences as portrayed by Dr. Long’s various characters.  The proposed suggestions for each step of the college application process and the guidance in the self-assessments help students to form a more thorough personal understanding of self which, in turn, has emotionally prepared my students for the ups and downs during this adventure. I would recommend this book for any student who is interested in pursuing higher education!”
             Desmond Mitchell
             Head of Academics
 Associate Director OlĂ© Football Academy
 Wellington, New Zealand

"This is a splendid book with a great deal of valuable information for those who are applying to college and their families.  The vignettes are particularly meaningful.  Actually, it has a great deal for those in all walks of life. "
Marcia Kraft Goin, M.D., Ph.D.
Past President, American Psychiatric Association
Professor of Clinical Psychiatry
Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California
President, Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry, the profession’s oldest “think tank”

“This is an excellent guide particularly for parents of high school children who are engaged in the application process. The reader is led from the process of choosing colleges to apply to up to the time of acceptance or rejection. Brief case presentations help illustrate the different approaches to the process as well as the different emotional reactions that children and their parents experience. Identifying emotional reactions and guidance with coping make this booklet must reading.”
Executive Vice-President, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Emeritus
Past President, Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry, the profession’s oldest “think tank”

The following review was published in the October 2013 issue of Adolescence:
Hold On To Your Hat! Handling the Roller Coaster Emotions of the College Application Process
Author:  Barbara Long, M.D., Ph.D.
Review by: Susan E. Kimmel, M.D., Assistant Professor
and Robert J Ronis, M.D., MPH,
Douglas Danford Bond Professor and Chairman
Department of Psychiatry, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
            Hold On To Your Hat is an indispensable book for parents, students, admissions counselors and universities providing guidance regarding what emotions to expect during the college application and admissions process.  Pragmatic advice on how to manage these feelings is provided in a manner that is both understandable and enjoyable to read. As the competition for admittance to the top colleges increases, students feel pressured to perform at an extraordinary level, both in and out of the classroom, in order to secure a coveted spot at an elite university.  Long's book provides assistance to all those involved in this process, providing unique insights into typical pitfalls people may encounter during this process as well as presents strategies that can be used to help manage this tumultuous period.
Long reviews affect theory, providing parents and students with an increased ability to recognize their own emotions, as well as those of people around them.  This allows the reader to not only better understand how they feel, but also provides an increased awareness of how their actions and behaviors may affect their peers and families.  Five stages of the application process are presented along with the typical emotional reactions that accompany these stages.  Strategies on how to survive this process, and even strengthen bonds between parent and child are provided.  Behaviors that can occur during the stressful application process that lead to parent-child estrangement are discussed.  Frequent examples of actual families are used throughout the book to make the concepts in the book real and memorable. 
Complex issues such as pride, anxiety, finances, self-esteem, guilt and anger are involved in the college application process, and Long seamlessly combines these in a way in which people can learn how to navigate this process without letting it take over their lives. Everyone involved in the college application and admission process can benefit from reading this book.  It allows the reader to take a moment away from the hectic college admission process, and remember to stay grounded and keep a realistic perspective regarding where students attend college.  After all, most colleges have more to teach their students than the students can learn in four years.  Placing too much importance on attending a specific school can ultimately be destructive to students and their families.  Long's insightful perspective and wisdom allows readers from all backgrounds to avoid adverse emotional outcomes and encourages students to find a sense of pride within themselves no matter what college they attend.