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 and breathing movements. Experience of your own mindfulness practice helps you to stay attuned to the participant. Training in this area is essential so that you can guide the process effectively. Supervision is highly recommended.
- Cultivating Observation: Building on the above process, the participant can cultivate skills in observing their experiences, with gentleness, curiosity and compassion. If you are trained you can also explore possible “positive”/ comfortable, “negative”/ uncomfortable and “neutral” (neither comfortable nor uncomfortable) labels for their experiences. The participant might also draw their experiences, using colours and shapes to identify the various aspects in their own way. This process needs training so that their choices are validated.
- 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 intervention. This is about mindfulness in everyday life and extends into the final interview (Step 4). It explores “being with” any uncomfortable experiences, techniques to engage the attention in the process so that the teaching is differentiated. It takes time and practice.
Overall, it is best if those working with the individual are also trained in mindfulness-based approaches, such as the MyMind for ADHD developed by Susan Bogels.