Book review: Teaching Mindfulness to Empower Adolescents

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Authors: M. Brensilver, J. Hardy & O.J. Sofer
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 978-0-393-71379-4
£ 16.99

The authors bring a range of skills and professional backgrounds together, including specialisms in psychiatry, qualifications in mindfulness teaching and communications training. They acknowledge that they have drawn on the experience of many colleagues and experts in this field, as well as their contact with the adolescents that they have worked with. 

The book covers areas such as tailoring mindfulness to adolescent development, working with resistance and overcoming obstacles, anger, self-harshness and self-compassion and trauma, mindfulness and mitigating harm. There is also a guide to further resources, although these are mostly U.S. based.

The central theme of the book relates to understanding the ways that educators, parents and other caring adults can support adolescents in learning to understand themselves and to inspire ways to develop deeper relationships with them. Mindfulness is seen as a transformative practice to support this and to empower adolescents through mentoring, sports, music and personal development.

Each chapter opens with an insight into a personal adolescent experience, followed by reflective activities that ask the reader to engage in order to develop their own mindfulness and to consider ways that adults use this in their interactions with adolescents.

There are interesting observations on the ways in which non-verbal communication as well as the tone and speed of our voice convey our feelings. This is linked to information about ways to build authentic relationships and interpersonal skills. A practical and thoughtful resource.

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