About 125 Williams County paraprofessionals, social workers and counselors spent the day taking training in mindful discipline at Bakken Elementary School.
The training was hosted by ConnectUs Therapy, an outpatient behavioral health clinic in Williston, with support from the Williams County Commission through a Williams County Behavioral Health Grant which was awarded to Katie Shannon, LCSW with ConnectUs Therapy, April 2021. Today’s training was led by Dr. Jenny Barkac, a Certified Conscious Discipline Instructor.
Barkac explained that conscious discipline aims to create a culture of compassion in those who work with children, facilitating a change in adults’ understanding of behavior. It provides specific strategies to meet the individual needs of each child, increasing self-regulation, sense of security, connection and empathy in children and adults.
“What we are trying to do today is to put all adults on the same page so that they can learn to manage and regulate their emotions so that their response to distress or disorder. students may be different, ”Barkac told the Williston Herald. . “We talk a lot about the brain and how it reacts in times of stress, so that they can recognize it in themselves and then guide children through those times.”
Barkac said the training will help empower participants and give them the tools to help coach the young people they work with. She added that training like this is important to help counselors, paraprofessionals and others learn the best way to deal with people who may be struggling.
“I think we don’t always feel like we have the tools to help support children, and sometimes we see children when they become deregulated as having behavior problems or intentionally choose that behavior,” and really there’s a lot more to it, ”Barkac said. “If we see this as a skills gap, just like math and reading, we are able to step in and prevent so that we can keep the kids in the classroom and keep everyone safe. “