The mission of Woodward Academy is to provide a safe and structured environment in which our students can learn, develop, and apply skills that will provide positive direction for their futures. In full alignment with this mission, we have developed a specialized program which will strengthen our ability to be effective in reaching our most challenging students. The Knight’s Mind Training program offers an additional course of action for carrying out the WA mission – from the inside out.
A significant number of our students have been identified as having high levels of emotional and behavioral dysregulation. Emotional and behavioral dysregulation refers to emotional and behavioral responses that are poorly modulated and fall outside of accepted social norms. This results in entrenched patterns of maladaptive and anti-social behavior. Severe and explosive anger, physical aggression, verbal aggression, sexual aggression, opposition and defiance, isolation, anxiety, and depression/suicidality/self-harm are all indicators of high emotional and behaviors dysregulation. The pervasive and disruptive behaviors of these types of WA students present an ongoing challenge and frustration, often leaving us wondering if there is any real hope for change.
Read more about Knight’s Mind Training after the break.
The current gold-standard of care and treatment for this kind of emotional and behavioral dysregulation is an approach known as dialectical behavior therapy. By incorporating this approach, the Knight’s Mind Training program represents an evidence-based intervention which has been shown to be very effective in groups with teens. We have designed a curriculum that is cohesive with the mission and methods of WA and which targets the development and practice of four core skills addressing the behavioral excesses and deficits typical of these students.
Four Core Skills:
1. Mindfulness helps one increase focus, attention, and awareness and then experience more fully what is happening here and now while focusing less on painful experiences from the past or unhelpful anticipations of the future. Mindfulness also provides tools to overcome habitual, negative judgments about self, others, or experiences.
2. Emotional Regulation skills help to recognize present feelings more clearly and to observe each emotion without getting overwhelmed by it. The goal is to modulate feelings without behaving in reactive, destructive ways.
3. Distress Tolerance helps one cope better with painful events by building resiliency and provides new ways to face upsetting and stressful circumstances.
4. Interpersonal Effectiveness gives new tools to express beliefs and needs, negotiate solutions to problems, and set healthy limits – all while valuing relationships and treating others with respect.