Part of Educational Psychology practice may involve working individually with children and young people. Here is a detailed outline of Step 2 of the Mindfulness-based Awareness Training (MBAT) intervention, developed as part of the doctoral research. This is intended for those workign with children and young people who have a regular mindfulness practice and who are training in other approaches, that are part of educational psychology work, including the Solution Focused Approach.
It is following the teaching intentions outlined in “Teaching Mindfulness: A practical Guide for Clinicians and Educators”. How each of them has beee adpated to meet the needs of the individual is detailed here:
- Experiencing new possibilities: The first step is to start to see where the individual may want to engage in this. This involves completing the Child Acceptance and Mindfulness Measure (CAMM) and seeing what areas they identify as having “4”s. These areas indicate where the individual may be having difficulty (are being less mindful, having difficulty with attention or emotional regulation). Then, pick one of the areas where they indicated a “4” on the CAMM and use a solution focused approach to consider best times and worst times, where they are now.
- Discovering embodiment: Next, try a three-minute breathing space with them – focusing predominantly on exploring the soles of the feet. This can be incorporated with inquiry at the same time in a way that encouraging the embodiment to be more fully explored and encouragingly sustained.
- Cultivating Observation: Through inquiry about their experiences the intention is to support the individual in cultivating skills in observing their expereinces, with gentleness, curiosity and compassion. The inquiry may begin to consider any possible “positive”, “negative” and “neutral” labelling of experiences. Part of this process may include presenting the individual with an outline of the body and encouraging them to mark with symbols of colours/ shapes these positive, negative, neutral experience. Thoughout, their own langauge is used to explore this, so that this validates their chose of metaphorical language to observe their expereinces.
- Cultivate compassion: This area is developed in subsequent sessions of the MBAT intervnetion. Att his stage in the interview, there is a return to the solution-focused scaling, considering how they feel now, after the short mindfulness practice. You can ask about time when they felt more more towards the ideal end of the scaling and when they may feel more “positive” sensations in the body. Next explore strategies that they may use to increase these positive experiences and how the mindfulness practice may support this.
- Moving towards acceptance: This final stage is further developed in the rest of the MBAT intervention. This includes considering mindfulness in everyday life and extends into the final interview (Step 4). This would explore “being with” the “negative” experiences, some ways of breathing and being with, all adapted for CYP with SEND. This stage also links to the other teaching intentions, especially the first two and takes time and practice.
Overall, it is best if those working with the individual are also trained in mindfulness-based approaches.