Martha Straus • Friday Afternoon
Is it time to rethink the time-out as a disciplinary practice for out of control adolescents? The purpose of this widely accepted technique is to give misbehaving kids a few minutes by themselves to re-regulate their emotions, but many oppositional traumatized adolescents don’t know how to soothe themselves or re-regulate their emotions. Isolated physically, they remain out of control internally, with no guidance about how to cope with their anxiety. This workshop will present a different approach: co-regulation—metaphorically, a way of “loaning” these clients your limbic brain. It’s a way of modeling and mirroring techniques that adolescents can begin to incorporate to calm and soothe themselves on their own. You’ll learn how to avoid power struggles by developing a benevolent, empathetic mindset with seemingly oppositional kids. You’ll then be able to see the meaning behind the teen’s frustrating misbehavior, and provide the sense of connectedness that no time-out can.
Martha Straus, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Clinical Psychology at Antioch University New England, is the author of Adolescent Girls in Crisis: Intervention and Hope.