Children & Adolescents

Our children are suffering, in large part because our society values doing over being, and product over process. Our culture tends to put test scores, wealth, and status before joy, connection, and well-being. Scientific research and the media tell us that young people’s lives are increasingly stressful. For some, the stress is simply living in our fast-paced, media-saturated Western world. For others, the stress comes from being pushed to perform, “succeed,” and get into a “good” college. For still others, the stress involves surviving in extremely challenging, even traumatic, home environments and life circumstances.

Regardless of race, education, or socioeconomic status, an alarming number of children and adolescents are being diagnosed with ADHD, depression, anxiety, obesity, eating disorders, and addictions, and engaging in cutting and other self-destructive behaviors, including suicide.  Cruelty, bullying, and violence are on the rise. No one is immune.

Let’s do what we can now to immunize our youth against the stresses of modern life and the related diagnoses. Let’s provide them with mindfulness skills proven to be of benefit throughout their lives. There is absolutely no reason they should wait until they are forty-five, and have lost a job, had a heart attack, or are in the midst of a divorce to learn practices that will support and sustain them.

In addition to the tools for children and teens listed at right, I am available in person and via the web to offer introductory presentations, workshops, and 8-week courses to children and adolescents privately, and in schools, after school programs, and community settings (including sports teams, performing arts, service-learning, faith-based and other youth groups).

Contact Dr. Amy to request a training or presentation.

“[Mindfulness] is a way of understanding and being aware of feelings… . Mindfulness has helped me before homework because it relaxes me so I do a good job with my homework.”

—5th grader


What I felt was that I was just closing my eyes and the whole room was silent. I felt peace.

—10th grader


“Excited. Golden. Ticklish.”

—Mindfulness “haiku” written by a 4th grade SQP course participant


I stop fighting and relax. Relaxing makes me feel calm and relieves the anxiety I carry with me everyday. Now when I have bad or uncomfortable feelings I can stop myself, notice and examine my feelings so that my feelings don’t make my choices for me.

—9th grader


Mindfulness is a great class because you can chill out, and relax. It will cool you down and make you less stressed. You should try it if you are mad or sad or just want to feel better. That’s what I do. Try it!

—5th grader

Still Quiet Place training

This 10 session online training supports teachers and health care professionals interested in offering mindfulness to children and adolescents. When sharing mindfulness with youth it is essential that our offerings come from the depths of our own practice, that we use age-adapted language, and that the offerings are engaging.

For each session, course participants will view 1 hour of video of a 4th grade Still Quiet Place course (via the web at a personally convenient time), engage in home practice and partner practice, and participate in a 1 ½ hour web based group discussion. Each course participant will receive a copy of my recently published book A Still Quiet Place: A Mindfulness Program for Teaching Children and Adolescents to Ease Stress and Difficult Emotions, and access downloadable audio tracks.

During the training we will:

· discuss skillful adaptations for teaching mindfulness to children and adolescents

· emphasize language and practices which are inviting and accessible to youth

· observe and discuss a 10-session course for 4th graders from beginning to end

· discuss variations in curriculum for younger and older children

· engage in an in-depth exploration of ways to facilitate children’s and adolescents’ embodied experience of mindfulness

· guide practices for partners and the group as a whole

· review the current research regarding teaching mindfulness to children and adolescents

· inquire together about your personal readiness to offer mindfulness to children and adolescents

The curriculum we will be working with has been used in multiple settings, teaching to: child-parent pairs in the Department of Psychology at Stanford University; to predominantly low income students, many from non-English speaking households, in their public school classrooms; to mostly affluent students at independent schools; and to middle income children and adolescents in community settings. Using this curriculum, preliminary data shows that from pre- to post-MBSR, the students have increased ability to orient their attention, and decreased anxiety. In written narrative, the children also report decreased emotional reactivity, increased self-compassion, and increased ability to complete difficult homework and tests.

The depth of our exploration will depend on the experience of the participants. Priority will be given to those with

· Long-term daily mindfulness practice

· Retreat experience

· Experience working and playing with children and youth

Course fee: $600; a limited number of partial scholarships are available. If you are interested in participating please fill out the application questions. Please submit you application by September 9th, 2014. Space is limited so apply early.

Questions: In a separate word document please write your name, phone number, address, and email, and answer each of the following questions clearly and simply in an average length paragraph. For ease and clarity please put your name in the header of each page, and page numbers at the bottom right.

1. Please describe you current and past mindfulness practice, amount of formal rail practice, what you have discovered about yourself, and what the practice means to you.

2. Please list any MBSR and related trainings you have participated in (8 week adult MBSR course, 7 day professional training, 9 day or 8 week practicum, yoga training, other…

3. Please describe any work/play you have done with children, what drew you to work/play with children

4. Please share your sense of what you bring, what you are cultivating, and what your edges (challenges) are in working/playing with children.

5. Please list the retreats (4 days or longer) that you have attended

6. Please describe any MBSR teaching you have done, and what you have discovered through teaching

Course times:

· 10 Tuesday evenings beginning September 30th, 2014 and ending December 2nd, 2014, 4:00- 5:30 pm Pacific Time.

· There will be a tech check session on September 23rd at 5:00 pm PST

· “More Virtual option” Those for whom the above dates and times don’t work may still participate in the course. The webinar will be recorded for you to replay at your convenience. You will be able to email questions and comments prior to each webinar for discussion and response, and you will have two live small group webinar sessions October 29th and November 19th at 8:30 am PST. Many people have successfully participated in the course using this format and would happy to describe their experiences.

Alternatively, you can listen to recordings of a recently completed course on your own time, and have one individual 30 minute supervisory telephone/skype session.

If there is sufficient interest (10 or more participants) from a given time zone, I am open to offering a course at time that is convenient for the group. To minimize confusion please put all time requests in Pacific Time.

CDs for Children & Adolescents

Adolescents

teens-2Sometimes being a teenager sucks. You need a place of your own, where you can kick back, chill, and just be yourself. The Still Quiet Place can be that place; it is a source of power and peace that is always inside you – when you are taking a test, listening to music, arguing with your parents, or laughing with your friends. You can find the Still Quiet Place by just closing your eyes and taking a few slow deep breaths.

Click to try it now.

In just a few moments you have learned to watch the breath come and go. With a bit of practice, you can learn to rest in the Still Quiet Place and watch your thoughts and feelings come and go, just like the breath.

Over 25 years of research have proven that practicing mindfulness (watching our thoughts and feelings come and go) offers relief from the worries, heartbreak, jealousy, self-doubt, and anger we all experience.

Mindfulness is a class I am taking at school. It is a time when we breathe and think about our thoughts, about NOW, not the past or the future. When we settle in breathing we go to our “still quiet place.” It feels calming in the “still quiet place.” I use mindfulness when I am nervous about something.

Often we look outside ourselves for comfort. We think that we will be happy if we get good grades, date that certain someone, make the track team, get the lead role in a play, or if our parents would just leave us alone. Sometimes when that doesn’t work, we look for relief in drugs or sex or self-harming behaviors.

The secret is true relief is always available inside of you, in the Still Quiet Place. You don’t have to go anywhere or do anything, or be any different than you are right now.

Children

Would you like to know how to:

    Focus your mind when you are confused about a math problem?
    Speak clearly when you are angry with a friend?
    Not be overly upset when you miss the winning shot in the tournament?

In this course you will learn a special way of paying attention to your breath, your body, your thoughts, your feelings and the world around you.

This way of paying attention is very cool because when you can observe your thoughts and feelings, then you can choose what you say and how you act. And choosing your words and actions can improve your life!

Other children who have taken this course have found it has helped them with their friends, “enemies,” parents, brothers, sisters, schoolwork, sports, and other activities.

To learn more about how both children and parents have benefited from this program, visit the research page.