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Showing posts from August, 2016

Creative/Experiential Methods With Teens In Groups or School Settings: Workshop Handout

Creative/experiential interventions are direct, immediately useful and highly effective methods of cultivating positive emotional states and social connections that translate into thinking and interpersonal skills. Social-Emotional Learning is increasingly recognized as boosting academic achievement as well as resilience to stress, psychological well-being and enhanced ability to make and form relationships, which has life-long impact on personal and professional life. This is uniquely beneficial during the adolescent years, when emotions are heightened and the pre-frontal cortex is still developing.
During the teen years, "there is a dramatic increase in connectivity among brain regions involved in judgment, getting along with others and long-range planning - abilities that profoundly influence the remainder of a person's life," writes Dr. Jay Giedd, in The Amazing Teen Brain. "And these developmental changes are occurring over a protracted number of years, as puber…

What Hope Looks Like: How Teens Benefit From Improvisation Training

On day #1 of a week-long teen bereavement camp, our group work had a singular goal: get the kids to come back for day #2. Most were pressured by a family member or therapist to give the camp a fair try but after that it was up to us. Issues of loss combined with the relentless honesty with which teens will respond to anything counseling-related added to the degree of difficulty. But they did come back, because the radical engagement possible through Applied Improvisation transformed 14 anxious, highly self-protective strangers into an emotionally-connected group in just a few hours. In high-pressure therapeutic environments like this camp, as in psychotherapy or school counseling settings, the connectivity and creativity that power improvisation are an ideal match for adolescents' developmental needs. We can see the results of using these methods in the way the kids bond and build one another up, and in their feedback long after groups are over. And it helps that there is also sci…