Child and Youth Education
Child and Youth Education encompasses a formal review of information with the child about how their problem developed. The goal of utilizing this technique is to empower the youth with knowledge about their problem. This is also done to provide a rationale for doing treatment.
Self verbalization is a type of cognitive skill that aims to increase one’s awareness of his or her inner voice. The goal of self verbalization is to learn to decrease negative self statements and increase use of positive self statements. Many strategies can be used by a youth’s therapist to help the youth tune into his or her inner dialogue and change it for the better.
Problem solving is a skill that utilizes activities for helping the youth solve problems. These activities should involve the therapist teaching the youth how to approach and solve problems. This technique is less powerful if the therapist solves the problem for the child by giving him solutions.
Calming exercises which teach youth how to effectively cope with stressful events are known as relaxation. These exercises can include muscle relaxation, breathing exercises, or meditation. Relaxation is done with a therapist at first to learn the specific technique. The youth is then taught how to use the strategy effectively during times which are stressful.
Exercises which give the child information, training, and feedback about the way they interact (e.g., play, speak, work) with others works to develop social skills. The goals of these exercises are to increase positive interactions with others and to give the child tools to interact appropriately.
Communication skills are a form of training for youth or parents to learn how to communicate effectively with each other, ultimately minimizing stress and increasing positive interactions. This may include active listening, “I” statements, symbolic communication strategies (e.g., picture exchange communication cards), or basic social exchange (e.g., nodding yes or no).
Cognitive techniques are used to change an event’s meaning through discussing the child’s thoughts on the events at hand. This is frequently done through the child keeping a “thought record.” These records are usually worksheets that outline predictions in a way to test them for accuracy. The goal of doing this technique is to positively influence the child’s thinking style so that they can better cope with stress.
Activity Scheduling refers to exercises that allow clients to identify and take part in fun activities outside of therapy when they want to feel good. The goal of activity scheduling is to encourage continued participation in rewarding and healthy experiences and to help youth build positive friendships.
Maintenance/Relapse Prevention is employed in the form of various exercises. These exercises involve a review of the learned skills and planning ahead for any challenges that might arise after therapy is finished. The goal of doing this is to make sure that the skills the child has learned is not lost in the future.
Speaking with the youth regarding future plans/goals and how therapy may aid in reaching those goals is known as goal setting. This skill involves learning to set goals that are realistic, measurable, and support a positive behavioral change. Part of goal setting may also include thinking about potential barriers and how they can be addressed.