Trauma Therapy Group
Most of our students who have experienced trauma have spent a majority of their lives avoiding the impact of these events and learning to cope and adapt in unhealthy ways, often leading to the many reasons that bring students to Woodward Academy. Our Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP) has been running Trauma Therapy Group with students at Woodward Academy since 2013. In this time the clinician has developed a curriculum that lasts anywhere from 15-20 weeks, often describing to group members that this group comes with many challenges and rewards. The aim of these sessions focuses on allowing students to become more self-aware while relating thoughts and feelings more openly and overall being able to learn about the impact of their past traumatic experiences on their lives today. They cover a great deal of psycho-education regarding trauma, traumatic stress symptoms, trauma reminders, the impact of trauma on the brain and body, healthy versus unhealthy coping strategies, and mindfulness strategies to cope with traumatic stress symptoms. Throughout the process students learn to engage and relate with their peers who have experienced similar traumatic events, offering them the opportunity to gain more understanding and work towards future healing and further resilience.
Working with adolescents brings unique difficulties that can make mental health services very complex. In their stage of development they struggle with identity and self-expression and being able to open up verbally. Woodward Academy acknowledges this developmental hurdle and works through these conflicts. When it becomes difficult for the student to express themselves through verbal expression or “talk therapy,” we have been able to utilize Art Therapy. These groups are co-facilitated by an art therapist and work through the use of art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem. The overall goal in Art Therapy is to improve or restore a client’s functioning and his or her sense of personal well-being.
Knights Mind Training
Knight’s Mind Training is a six-week 12 session mindfulness-based program which targets increasing self-awareness, self-control, resilience, and effective personal and interpersonal actions. Also informed by approaches such as acceptance and commitment therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and the science of interpersonal neurobiology, the Knight’s Mind Training program represents an array of evidence-based interventions which have been shown to be very effective in groups with teens who experience attentional, emotional, and behavioral dysregulation. Students learn and practice skills for recognizing their own thoughts, emotions, impulses, and sensations in order to respond with self-control and effective prosocial actions rather than with impulsive and maladaptive reactivity. Underpinned by a model of human experience which addresses the causes of human distress and the pathways to relieving it, students develop a new relationship with experience characterized by present moment focus, stability, and a growth orientation. Knight’s Mind Training engages participants in a sustained intensive training in mindfulness practice, in an experiential inquiry-based learning process, and in exercises to develop insight and understanding.