Location

Percival

Strand #1

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Strand #2

Mental & Physical Health

Relevance

Guided Imagery, a technique that teaches relaxation and guided meditation to visualize positive change, is becoming a popular practice for children and adults of diverse populations. Guided imagery promotes an intervention strategy that helps at-risk children visualize positive outcomes in their social and educational goals. Many programs that serve children of poverty utilize a cognitive-behavioral approach (how to change negative thinking patterns to change behavior), but children also need creative approaches, such as guided imagery to enrich their thought process. The literature proves that guided imagery techniques have benefits in the reduction of childhood mental health disorders, reduction of childhood obesity and health problems, and an increase of academic success. At-risk youth should be entitled to an eclectic choice of intervention strategies that promote creativity and well-being.

Brief Program Description

"An Introduction to Guided Imagery Techniques for At Risk Youth" is a hands-on presentation that will enable participants to learn the basic components of guided imagery. Participants will have an explicit learning experience in learning how to use relaxation techniques, guided meditation methods and skill building exercises in writing guided imagery scripts. Participants will experience the technique first hand so they can apply these skills with at - risk youth after the conference. The participants can also use these techniques to benefit their own personal lives!

Summary

The program aims to meet the following educational objectives: To educate participants on the history and research pertaining to guided imagery, to inform participants of the benefits of guided imagery techniques with at-risk children, to teach participants the basics of relaxation and body awareness techniques - (such as body mapping, belly breathing and progressive relaxation) and to build skills in positive visualization and guided imagery script writing. Cognitive-Behavioral therapy is the preferred method of managing mental health problems. Managed health care policies in the mental health profession do not always allow for enough time to apply creative methods that go beyond changing a behavior. Many of the children we work with have multiple layers of trauma in their lives; including abuse/neglect, poverty, educational barriers, health problems and family issues. It is not always possible to increase motivation or change a problem with a brief intervention. We need to employ methods that teach children how to develop self-esteem and self-efficacy so that they can learn how to visualize their own goals and listen to their own voice. It is difficult for a child to focus on obtaining his/her dreams when their lives are too chaotic to visualize what that dream may look like. This program aims to teach youth professionals how to reach children through using guided imagery techniques as a tool to enhance visualization of goals. There are three components to the session: Relaxation techniques, visualization techniques and guided imagery script writing techniques. The participants will first learn how to perform basic relaxation techniques, such as proper breathing, body mapping and body awareness of physiological responses. The next step is to teach visualization techniques, such as identifying mental barriers and envisioning personal growth and development through free association and cognitive techniques. Lastly, participants will learn about the structure of a guided imagery script. They will learn how to write one and how to encourage children to write a script. Participants will learn through hands on writing exercises during the session. Participants will leave with knowledge of the steps of the guided imagery process and how to apply those skills with at-risk youth. Outlines and worksheets of the three step model will be provided for participants to take home to use with at-risk children.

Evidence

Guided imagery was developed by the medical and social work professions. The techniques can be used with diverse populations such as: cancer treatment, mental health treatment, health issues, specific traumas, self-esteem and educational barriers. Various studies that will be referenced in the session include a study from the Journal of Alternative Complimentary Medicine that indicated guided imagery reduces obesity in children. The Journal of Youth Studies featured a study that concluded that guided imagery can reduce test anxiety. A study conducted at Immaculate University in Pennsylvania found that guided imagery reduced criminal behavior with pre-incarcerated youth. Another significant study from the Public Health Reporter concluded that guided imagery techniques reduced smoking behavior in urban black youth. There are hundreds of studies that can be referenced on the benefits of guided imagery with at-risk youth. The proposal aims to contribute to this literature by training professionals on how to apply guided imagery techniques for future research and best practice initiatives.

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Lisa Skeens has been a psychotherapist for twenty years and a Social Work professor for twelve years. She is currently an Assistant professor of Social Work at Ohio University-Lancaster campus and has taught at Capital University and Lambuth University in Jackson, Tennessee. She currently has a private practice in Dublin, Ohio where she is a therapist for children, adults, couples and families. She is bilingual in Spanish and works frequently with the Latino population.

Her areas of clinical expertise include: treatment of anxiety and trauma disorders, non-medical methods of childhood ADHD treatment, immigration/multicultural therapy, mental health issues of migrant farm workers, mental health treatment for the LGBT community, guided imagery/play therapy, trauma work with victims of human trafficking and research of learning styles of first generation college students.

Dr. Skeens is also a national mental health trainer/educator and motivational speaker. She has been featured on multiple radio and television shows as a mental health expert.

Keyword Descriptors

Mental Health, Intervention Techniques

Presentation Year

2015

Start Date

3-3-2015 11:15 AM

End Date

3-3-2015 12:30 PM

Included in

Social Work Commons

Share

COinS
 
Mar 3rd, 11:15 AM Mar 3rd, 12:30 PM

An Introduction to Guided Imagery Techniques for At-Risk-Youth

Percival

"An Introduction to Guided Imagery Techniques for At Risk Youth" is a hands-on presentation that will enable participants to learn the basic components of guided imagery. Participants will have an explicit learning experience in learning how to use relaxation techniques, guided meditation methods and skill building exercises in writing guided imagery scripts. Participants will experience the technique first hand so they can apply these skills with at - risk youth after the conference. The participants can also use these techniques to benefit their own personal lives!