This week was Career and College Week at the girls' school. I talked to Syd's class on Tuesday and it was so great. They've heard me talk about being a psychologist before, and I was afraid that it would be redundant, but these kids have grown so much since last year! This year I talked about college and how much schooling and training it took to be a psychologist, as well as the different roles I have within the prison system, including behavior management and assessment. They really loved that I have tests to tell me if people are faking or exaggerating. I led them through a behavior chain analysis and talked about how they could use that to help them make good choices or change outcomes in their own lives. This morning two moms stopped me at drop-off to tell me how much their kids liked it, and one even dressed up like me for "When I Grow Up" day. She wore a heart on her t-shirt because she "wants to spread love and kindness" to people who need it. *swoon*
I went into Averson's class today. I'm always a little hesitant about how to explain what I do in a concrete way, as well as steer away from the whole "bad guy" narrative. I think I did okay, since they only asked a couple of questions about the bad guys :) For her class, I focused more on feelings and how I help people get back into the "green zone" (OMG. If you're not familiar with the zone system of emotional regulation it is SO GREAT for kids. These guys got it in under five minutes.) I wanted to give them something tangible to take away, in addition to my very favorite emotion chart. One of my favorite shrink tools is breathing. For them, I gave them each a picture of a cup of hot cocoa. We slowly smelled the cocoa through our noses, and then blew on it to cool it down. It was so sweet to see them all doing mindfulness on their carpet squares. I think they liked it too. I mean, I followed an actual Strongman, a Police Officer, and a nurse who handed out goodie bags, so I'm pretty sure I wasn't the favorite, but no one fell asleep so I'm counting it as a success.