The purpose of using mindfulness in residential treatment is to help individuals learn to work through maladaptive coping behaviors. Mindfulness in teen residential treatment can help teens cultivate awareness of their physical sensations and what comes up for them when feeling anxious or depressed. This helps them begin to explore why they chose to numb this experience in the first place and to sit with the feeling until it becomes less powerful. Teens are particularly receptive to this way of retraining their brains, as their unhealthy patterns are less ingrained than older adults.
What are mindfulness and meditation?
In the most basic terms, mindfulness is the practice of cultivating nonjudgmental awareness in day-to-day life. It refers to being in control of your mind, rather than letting your mind take control of you. Mindfulness has long been a central component in a variety of religious and secular practices from Hinduism and Buddhism to yoga and more recently, has been applied through medical research and practice, such as in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.
There are two types of mindfulness, full awareness, and attentional control, that work together. Full awareness encourages people to be fully present with their experience without trying to change the situation right away. By slowing down one’s thoughts, people are better able to see choices available to them and make healthier decisions.
How is mindfulness taught at Red Mountain Colorado?
- Daily Meditation groups: Your teen will begin each day meditating with us as a group, led by one of our staff who are long-time meditation teachers. While many programs only teach meditation once or twice a week, we’ve found that it’s not adequate to achieve the changes we seek for your teen. That’s why we have our students practice meditation therapy and mindfulness every single day. These group therapy sessions give teens the space to openly discuss their experiences with mindfulness.
- Trained Teachers: Along with our trained Meditation instructor, our Executive Director, Josh White, is a Sensei (sanctioned teacher) in the White Plum tradition of Zen Meditation who often leads mindfulness practices. He completed koan study after 19 years of practice and study and incorporates koans (paradoxical riddles meant to cultivate kindness toward others and an appreciation of the present moment), into his teaching at Red Mountain Colorado.
- Experiential activities: We incorporate mindfulness lessons into a variety of experiential activities to teach teens how to apply these skills in less structured activities. Some examples may include activities like rock climbing, white water rafting, Equine-Assisted Therapy, Challenge Courses, and Yoga.
- Personal practice: When teens first arrive at Red Mountain Colorado, they participate in our Beginning Mindfulness Group, but as they move into the Advanced Group, they have more time for self-guided meditation. Some students become invested in the practice and do additional personal research or journal about their experiences and the insight that they’ve gained.
What are the benefits of mindfulness in teen residential treatment?
- Greater Self-Awareness and Self-Control. Meditation and mindfulness will teach your teen to stay in the present moment and acknowledge their thoughts and feelings. In turn, this will help them resist impulsivity and be in more control of their behaviors.
- Increased Empathy Towards Others. Your teen’s destructive behaviors have affected you, your family and others around them. Through the practice of meditation and mindfulness, your teen will learn how to manage negative thoughts, feelings and behavior patterns so they can grow in their empathy towards others.
- Improved Behavior and School Performance. Research has shown that meditation and mindfulness help adolescents feel calmer, happier and more relaxed. Meditation therapy also improves a child’s ability to stay in the present moment and concentrate. All these improvements in mood and attention will help your teen do better in school.
Red Mountain Colorado Can Help
Red Mountain Colorado is a teen residential treatment center aimed to aid teens aged 14-17 struggling with emotional and behavioral challenges; with an emphasis on healing from trauma. The program focuses on creating a positive change in the lives of students through a mindfulness-based approach. Various types of therapy and activities are taught and used to replace the need for coping behaviors. Students leave Red Mountain Colorado feeling empowered and in control of their lives and how to live healthily.
For more information about mindfulness in teen residential treatment, call 877-302-5022.