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).

[Vlog] Teaching Mindful Eating To Adolescents

[Click for Mindful Eating Activity PDF] Learn about how to help youth impacted by trauma! Trauma-Informed Care for Professionals Working with Youth is a completely online, semi self-paced, and affordable training that will teach you the basics of a trauma-informed approach. Get updates on exact course dates and exclusive pre-launch discount codes! Thanks! Check your …

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Cultivating the Lion Mind: A Mindfulness Metaphor that Sticks

Whenever I teach mindfulness to teenagers I try as best as possible to incorporate the use of metaphor. I find that with teens (let alone people) metaphors access a different part of a person’s ability to relate to information. I often ask the youth I work with how they’d define mindfulness. For those I haven’t …

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9 Guidelines for Teaching Trauma-Informed Mindfulness To Teens

Jeanette*, a 17 year-old high school student, found herself in my office trying to describe the shock of losing her father: “I just can’t….” and she trailed off. “I mean I don’t know, I just, I don’t, I can’t…” and she stopped again. She couldn’t speak because her brain was down regulating. The outer most …

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Teaching meditation to teens who have the giggles

Teaching mindfulness to teenagers is one of my favorite professional pastimes. I usually teach mindfulness to young people in educational, medical, and even correctional settings. To say the least, the teens themselves aren’t always that excited about closing their eyes and meditating in front of their peers, especially if they have a negative connotation toward …

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10 Acronyms That Promote Self-Awareness and Decision-Making in Youth

When my colleague Steven Saul and I were developing the Mindfulness-Based Substance Abuse Treatment (MBSAT) 12-Session Curriculum at a juvenile detention camp, we had a number of conversations about the pros and cons of using cognitive acronyms as strategies to promote mindfulness and general self-awareness. He was more open to cognitive techniques given some of …

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[Infographic] 5 Mindfulness Myths

Mindfulness is the practice of observing your own experience in the present moment with an attitude of non-reactivity and/or non-judgement. That’s it. It’s not necessarily about being calm, going to a “happy place” or even controlling your breathing. Mindfulness is about being with “what is” in regard to your experience. Check out this infographic on …

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3 Ways Traumatic Events in the Lives of Teens Impacts Substance Abuse

Guest post by Jeff Nalin, PsyD of Paradigms San Francisco No one wants to think about their teenager dealing with trauma, nor do they want to think about their teen abusing drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately, these two events are not only common for teens to experience, but they are also intrinsically linked. Understanding why experiencing …

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A Critical Intervention For Working With Traumatized Youth

Working with youth who’ve experience trauma in their lives can be both a challenging and rewarding endeavor and of course, is a multifaceted process absent of a “one size fits all” approach. One of the questions I often get in my trainings and at conferences is what to actually do when a youth struggling with …

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