Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Week in Failure and Successes

My guys are split into two different groups. The first is my talkers. They like to work on problems, have discussions and set goals. At times, they are regular teen boys: disruptive, inappropriate, intensely silly or angry at the world, but overall they get stuff done to the best of their abilities. My second group struggles with most everything: sitting down, holding still, listening, following a single step direction and sometimes not punching people. I have tried mixing them, so my strugglers can see how a group runs and maybe manage to participate, but that mix tends to make my talkers into strugglers or cause them to gang up on the poor strugglers, who often just feel worse about themselves. Ideally, I would like my strugglers to be seen individually until they are able to manage behavior better, but that's the downside to not being in charge. I have to follow rules sometimes, even if it seems contraindicated. My strugglers are tough and often all I want is safety and for them to leave a little calmer than when they came in. We are working from the bottom of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs most of the time.

Snowflakes = Bad Idea of the Day
Both of my groups get some self-regulation with each group. Sometimes with my strugglers, it is an hour of self-regulation and attempts at group cohesion. I often use a book called Ready, Set, Relax. I highly recommend it. It has guided relaxation scripts for kids with discussion points and activities. I think the scripts could work for anyone and the activities could be modified. Anyway, for my failure of the week I read one of these scripts about changing weather and being unique. Then I asked the guys what makes them unique, which they were unwilling to discuss. Then I asked them to talk about what made each other unique, which resulted in insulting each other. We also attempted to cut out snowflakes, which somehow resulted in them wanting to murder me and not a single snowflake. I think the problem was in the mood of the day. Sometimes they enter the room in 5 different places, all of them mad and hating each other. It was that kind of day. These days overwhelm me and I feel hopeless as a therapist and they feel hopeless as little people in the world. It sucks for all of us. On the positive side, I saw one of them the following night for an individual session and he was making snowflakes and wanted to continue with what we started in group.

Bumparena = Success!
The success for this group was a game called Bumparena. We made teams of two and the guys took turns making decisions, asking for feedback from each other and planning how to get balls to fall into their goal. They loved it! They were focused, understood the rules, were respectful to each other and able to slow down and think things through -- all unusual skills for them to exhibit. I couldn't have been prouder. It wasn't a deep insightful group, but a great game to get them thinking about some basic cause and effect, get along and actually love being in group. We all left happy and they have been asking for me to bring the game back... although next time I may find a way to incorporate some new therapy goals (insert evil laugh).

And because one of my goals for the year is to create regularly and add to my posts...

I am still taking photos during my training runs and saving for art journal inspiration.

 And I completed a couple of monkeys. I am waiting for some natural lighting so I can take some decent photos and put them on etsy.
Next week, I hope to do more drawing.

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