Reflections on Dr. Gerchow’s Mindfulness, Mindlessness & Meditation group
In 2019, Dr. Christine Gerchow facilitated a Mindfulness, Mindlessness & Meditation group for youth affected by trauma and in custody at Contra Costa County’s John A. Davis Juvenile Hall (San Francisco Bay Area).
The below reflections from the youthful group participants illustrate the power of taking a psychophysiological approach to support youth affected by trauma.
“It feels like I aint locked up inside a room and don’t need to worry about things. I can think about myself but let thoughts run freely and not feel like someone will make me talk. I can keep going back to learning how to rest. I am trying to remember how to rest.”
“I feel like I am high, but I’m not. This is a cool spot.”
“You come in with negative energy, stressin’ and then you leave feeling like the temperature got turned down.”
“It calms me. It really settles my anxiety. It Is a positive outlet. I actually have freedom to lay down and relax in a way that suits me. Ms. Christine doesn’t force me to do something that isn’t right for my body. It’s a go with the flow, peaceful type of class.”
“This is real treatment because it gives us time to heal at our pace and in our safe space.”
“I would want to tell people in Washington DC that when I was locked up and a lot of stressful situations were going on in the outs, this class was what got me through. It helped me a lot and it was the only thing I looked forward to. It was the only thing I felt that really was made for people who go through stuff and who need time to think about how to get better. It set my mind free. My favorite things about the class were having quiet time to myself; the smells, sounds and feeling that I wasn’t in jail.”
Acknowledgments: Dr. Gerchow’s work would not be possible without the support of the Contra Costa County Department of Probation, particularly staff from the Cypress (Youthful Offender Treatment Program) and Shasta (Girls In Motion) units.