course »Guiding Youth Safely Through Their Own Internal Experience PART 2: Mindfulness

Date: 12/1/2016, 9:00 am—1:00 pm
County: Alameda County
Location: Oakland
Sponsor: Seneca Family of Agencies
Phone: 510-654-4004
Inner Life Skills for Youth is an experiential learning curriculum designed to introduce young people to the often confusing world of their “inner lives”. In a simple step-by-step manner, using a sequence of conceptual building blocks and experiential exercises, the curriculum guides youth safely into their internal experience, helps them to identify and organize this experience, and helps them to build the language and understanding to be more self-aware on a moment-to-moment basis. This increased self-awareness translates into greater resilience, stronger emotion regulation, more stable concentration, greater clarity and ability to articulate what is happening internally, and greater choice and response flexibility.

The curriculum is based on years of work with highly at-risk youth populations, including violent young offenders, youth with extensive identified trauma histories, and severely emotionally disturbed youth in residential care, and has been the object of both qualitative and quantitative research studies that document its effectiveness.

It is unique in synthesizing mindfulness, somatic awareness, and emotional self-awareness practices within an understanding of the cultivation of human nervous system coherence. The curriculum fills an important gap in mental health treatment. Many well-intended treatment approaches attempt to intervene with youth in a way that presupposes that they have the basic skills necessary to access, explore, and express the basic experiences (thoughts, sensations, emotions, urges) that constitute their inner lives. This assumption is often far from accurate and results in approaches and interventions that can be frustrating for both the youth and those attempting to help them. Inner Life Skills for Youth closes this gap by teaching young people the language of their inner lives. The Inner Life Skills curriculum for youth is designed for use in group or classroom settings, as well as for one-on-one work with youth or as an enhancement to traditional forms of therapy.