The first use of the Handling Intense Emotions curriculum is now underway. One group living unit at Lawrence Hall Youth Services in Chicago has begun using the curriculum. The group home staff was trained in mid-June and a Handling Intense Emotions group for young people was initiated the next week. This initial implementation will be used to help refine the intervention and the implementation plans prior to the launch of a pilot of the intervention with a research study wrapped around it.
We already have one lessoned learned. Some of the direct care staff thought that the validation plus skills sounded a little too therapy-ish. They see their role as bring the “real people” in these kids lives and worry about sounding like therapists. Here is what i wish I had told them. “In this job, you are sometimes asked to be a little like guardian angels. You are asked to quietly protect these youth. Sometimes, you are asked to a little like detectives, to find out what is going on with these young people. And sometimes you are asked to be a little like therapists. Yes, you need to be able to master the validation plus skills to make them sound like you. But it is OK to sound a little bit like a therapist some times.”