Sam Himelstein, Ph.D.

works as a Licensed Psychologist (PSY25229) in the Chemical Dependency program at Kaiser Permanente with teens and their families, in private practice in Oakland, CA, researches the efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions with incarcerated and underserved adolescent populations, is an author of multiple scholarly journal articles and two books, travels the country speaking at conferences and conducting professional trainings, and is the founder and president of the Center for Adolescent Studies. Dr. Himelstein is passionate about training professionals from multiple disciplines in creating authentic, healing relationships with adolescents that contribute to positive outcomes. A formerly incarcerated youth himself, Dr. Himelstein was privileged to change his life from a path of drugs, violence, crime, and self-destruction to that of healing and transformation. His mission is to help young people become aware of the power of self-awareness and transformation, and train professionals with similar interests. Learn more about his philosophy and approach in his books: A Mindfulness-Based Approach to Working with High-Risk Adolescents (Routledge, 2013), and Mindfulness-Based Substance Abuse Treatment for Adolescents: A 12-Session Curriculum (Routledge, 2015).

Why Setting Boundaries Are Critical To Healthy Relationships with Teens

As I approach facilitating the fourth installment of the Mindfulness-Based Substance Abuse Treatment (MBSAT) Curriculum Certification this weekend, I find myself contemplating what some of the most important aspects of working with teens are. Being authentic, present, compassionate, and intentionally fostering a genuine relationship are of critical importance, as I’ve written about in other posts. …

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Why Mindfulness is a Good Skill for Teens to Learn

Later this week I will have the privilege of connecting with over 300 hundred teachers, therapists, and other professionals working with teens interested in the intersection between mindfulness and youth work. This will happen at the annual Bridging The Hearts and Minds of Youth conference in San Diego, CA, and I’m lucky enough to be …

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Self-care is self-love: The most critical skill in the direct service industry

With Valentines Day recently passing, the media has flooded us with everything about love, relationships, and making our sweethearts feel great. Rarely when Valentines Day rolls around however, do we talk about a form of love that is so critical that its absence can cause an immense amount of personal suffering: love of ourselves. Self-love …

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“Did you ever do drugs?” 3 Responses to the Age Old Self-Disclosure Questions for Adults working with Adolescents

Self-disclosure is one of the most anxiety-provoking topics that arise when I train professionals working with adolescents. Therapists, teachers, probation staff, etc. all have reasons why they don’t engage in self-disclosure with the young people they work with: “I was trained not to talk about myself,” or “I don’t want them to know anything about …

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3 Tips for Using Mindfulness in Substance Abuse Treatment with Adolescents

Recent statistics show that teen drug use has been declining in the US, however there’s still a significant need for substance abuse prevention and intervention with young people, especially those adversely affected by the many issues youth deal with; drugs, achievement, depression, anxiety, trauma, etc. Mindfulness, the practice of being aware of one’s mental, emotional, …

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6 Tips for Building Authentic Relationships with Adolescents

Working with teens can be tough. Anyone who works with adolescents knows that sometimes they test boundaries, become resistant, and can be very challenging. Teens can also be remarkable and amazing to work with. There is an inherent wisdom during the life transition period from childhood to adulthood that can show itself in many ways; …

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