Friday, November 1, 2013

Student Workshop for September at Cedar Ridge Academy International Private Therapeutic Boarding School

Each month, Cedar Ridge Academy International Private Therapeutic Boarding School has a workshop. This past September, we had a student workshop that allowed students to be able to explore different therapy ideas, work in co-ed groups, and practice mediation. Two students worked together to write this summary of how the day went for them.
One of our therapists instructs the group 
For student workshop this September, we had a day of groups focusing on the importance of teamwork and how to concentrate on positive motivations. The whole campus, including the teachers, gathered in the dome Monday morning to hear from the therapists. Rob, director of the program and main therapist for the girls, started the day with some basics of the program. He spoke about mindfulness, the practice of being aware to what is going on around you and with yourself, and focusing your mind on the here and now. He also discussed the process and concept of desensitization that he teaches the students to do here. The process includes exposing yourself to uncomfortable feelings and fears and sitting with those feelings to become more comfortable and accepting of them. A good, practical example of this process is for someone who is afraid of heights to climb up steps on a ladder everyday to an uncomfortable height and sit there. Over the days, this will become less scary and they will eventually be able to climb the ladder. He explained how many of us run from feeling of not being good enough, not being accepted, or not being in control of a situation. Many of us have developed destructive habits to run from these feelings or to ignore them. The main idea of the program teaches us to get use to those feelings and find ways to positively cope with them and accept them.

Following Rob’s speech on the nuts and bolts of Cedar Ridge was therapist Brent’s activity. He broke up the campus into three groups, each with a group leader. The leader chose two random members of the team to go and write a team chant with them. While they brainstormed their chant, the rest of the students participated in a guided mediation. We all practiced straight body posture and focusing on our breathing. Afterwords, we each performed the group chant and were judged by the teachers on creativity, group participation, meaning, and leadership.

Therapists play a role in coaching students 
After this group activity, Brent gathered us all together and asked us all one question: “What motivates you to work on yourself?” Many students provided answers and we created a white board full of motivation. Everything from the obvious “I want to go home” to a good college experience, sober relationships, and to rebuild family relationships were included on the list. He then polled us on how many of us were motivated by what and guided us in another meditation; this time to concentrate our minds onto our positive visions for our futures. We ended by lying down on the floor of the dome and spent the last ten minutes of our morning envisioning our motivation come true.

Another activity we did for student workshop was geocaching. For this activity we all got into groups that were the people from our homes and we had a staff that had a compass on their phones and each group had a different colored ball that they had to find. We would use the compass and the coordinates that we were given and worked as a team to find the balls out in the desert around campus.

Working together as a group, students pause to ask a therapist a question

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