Well, now I have tried to start up a Path of Freedom in a youth prison. It was more difficult than doing it with grown ups. For sure. Not that I am very surprised since I have been working with teenagers at risk for many years, but still…
The first time I came there 4 kids and two staff members came. We had talked before that it was important that they could choose to take the class or not. And also about that it was important that they tried to talk with them before so that they had some idea about what it was.
So 2 of the kids where in a section for people who have just arrived without a sentence. That means that they are kind of still “on the street”, clinging to the macho-gangsta-stereotype and quite confused. They are not in any kind of rehab-programme, but just there to be locked in and waiting to go somewhere.
The other 2 boys – one diagnosed with grave autism, and was know to not handle new groups well, because all his attention then is about checking in others and so on. The last boy had been there for a while and had been kind of motivated to work for change, but now he had a backlas.
So… this was my group.
We started out and did a short meditation at first. The two new guys were giggiling and looking at the old timers. But for the second half of the meditation they kind of settled down. Then we talked about the PoF, what is mindfulness and why train, the steps to trouble and the steps to freedom. And I felt that the two new guys were pretty into it. I thought I had them involved and engaged. The old boys where more introvert and quiet.
Then we were about to start a new meditation and the one of the new guys just said: Fuck this is boring, I need a cigarratte! Don’t you wanna come? And of course the second guy wanted to go as well. So they left with one of the staff. Then the old guys said: well… I don’t wanna do this either… So we ended with some questions to them and let them go.
Afterwards I talked to the staff and asked about the group constellation. They also said: Normally, when we have ART with them for instance, we only do it with one boy and one staff at the time to make it work…
So then we decided to try it that way.
Now I have had two classes. 30 minutes with one teenager and one staff. Then we change and another teenager arrives with staff member.
It has worked well, but it’s difficult to really get into the stuff.
Now the staff and I will have an evaluation and see if it will continue (this was decided from the beginning). Hopefully they will let us try for at least 12 classes to be able to see what it could give.
But it has sure been tougher classes 🙂