Gray Matter – Inside the Adolescent Brain

Understanding the tremendous re-organization of the brain and nervous system that occurs during adolescence provides increased awareness of the most effective strategies for teaching, counseling, and working with teens. It also assists youth workers to understand the full implication of the adage: Don’t take it personally. This training, which has been presented around the globe, has assisted countless providers in gaining a better understanding of adolescents and the imperatives for working with them most effectively.

Format: The workshop consists of didactic presentation, experiential activity, and discussion/processing as it explores, in action, the huge neural growth spurt that occurs during puberty along with the swelling in size of the amygdala, the brain’s emotional-significance indicator. Using understanding gained as a foundation, participants will then explore elements essential for effective learning and counseling strategies.

Participants: This workshop is designed for any professional who works largely with adolescent students/clients in any capacity.

Learning Outcomes – Participants will be able to:

  • describe the changes that take place during adolescence in various parts of the brain;
  • explain the dynamics of the effects of substance use on adolescent brain development;
  • design educational and/or counseling strategies that reflect the awareness of the neurological, developmental process; and
  • articulate strategies for not becoming personally triggered by the intense affect natural to this stage of brain development.

Logistics: This training is offered as a half-day (3-4 hours) or full-day workshop with 6-7 hours of workshop time book-ended around a lunch break. Time is adjustable. Space needs include a room with movable chairs and large enough to accommodate the people involved. Tables off to the side and a blackboard or whiteboard are needed.