Relationships

Four Ways to Improve Difficult Relationships With Youth

Guest Post from Catharine Hannay of Mindful Teachers In retrospect, it wasn’t such a great idea to tell my devout Christian mother I thought I was a pantheist. I don’t blame her for freaking out. The poor woman must have imagined me performing Dionysian rituals in the backyard, assisted by our ever-accommodating golden retriever. But …

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The 4 Essentials of Being a Trauma-Informed Youth Professional

If you work with youth there’s a good chance you work with trauma. Trauma symptoms or adaptations as I like to call them (i.e., your mind/psyche finds ways to adapt to the difficult/dangerous experience for survival) manifest in many ways, from hyper-vigilance to flashbacks, from trust issues to dissociation, from altered world-views to avoiding specific …

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4 Tips for Working with Marginalized Youth During the Holidays

As I entered the juvenile hall to teach a Thursday evening meditation class many years ago, I tried to prepare myself for the level of emotion that might arise: it was Thanksgiving Day. In hindsight, I don’t know if I could’ve better prepared myself for that evening. Youth were emotional because they were incarcerated and …

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Trauma and the Brain: An Introduction for professionals working with teens

Trauma can be defined as a deeply distressing response to a real or perceived threat to one’s life. Trauma can result from events including, but not limited to, getting physically or sexually assaulted, sudden death of family members or close friends, being emotionally abused or neglected throughout one’s childhood, the result of a catastrophic environmental …

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6 Ways to Check-In with Teens

Group work with teens can be both challenging and extremely rewarding. One of the responsibilities we as facilitators are charged with is mixing up content to curtail boredom—the feeling in youth that can easily snowball into disengagement, detachment, and less buy-in. When facilitating group work, whether it’s therapy-based, skills-based, or even a traditional classroom (yes …

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Substance Abuse Treatment Does NOT Happen In A Vacuum

Most of us know that working with teens can be challenging. For those of us conducting drug treatment, we this can be an uphill battle that’s so difficult that we can’t stay attached to outcome, or we’d be constantly disappointed. Oftentimes teens that are chronic drug users have no interest in stopping their use, an …

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3 Basic Counseling Skills for Working With Teens

Working with teens has its own unique set of challenges and often times as providers we’re relegated to positions of listener, mentor, and guide, regardless of whether or not we’re actual therapists or counselors. I have known many teachers who build authentic relationships with their students and in turn their students feel more comfortable talking …

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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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