Date: 2/13/2018, 9:00 am—4:30 pm
County: Alameda County
Sponsor: Fred Finch Youth Center
As adults we often find ourselves asking young people to pay attention, yet do we ever really teach them how? In our increasingly externally-oriented, media-saturated, technologically-driven society, the training of attention and the development of self-awareness, self-regulation, and social and emotional skills takes on an ever-greater importance for helping young people develop in healthy ways. In this highly experiential training, we’ll explore teaching mindful awareness to young people in a way that is safe, accessible, and relevant to their lives and experiences. Much of the popular language of mindfulness is designed to respond to the experiences of a largely white, middle-class audience, and therefore doesn’t speak directly to the realities of urban youth culture. In addition, many of the ways that mindfulness is traditionally introduced don’t work well for young people with trauma exposure. For example, most traditional formal mindfulness practices first encourage a person to sit still and close their eyes. For someone carrying a heavy trauma load, this directive takes away their ability to self-regulate through unconscious motor movement, and will most likely put them in closer touch with an experience of dys-regulation. So how do we re-invent, or adapt mindfulness practice so that it supports a person with trauma exposure, rather than challenging their system? In this training we’ll focus on modifying mindfulness practices for use with young people, and particularly those with trauma exposure. We’ll explore why young people might want to learn mindfulness, and learn to talk about it in ways that resonate with their experience. We’ll practice simple sequential exercises for helping young people develop the foundations of self-awareness and self-regulation in an environment of safety, respect for self and others, and deep inquiry. We’ll break concepts like attention down into their simplest building blocks, and learn how to work with these through exercises, games, and conceptual models.