July 6, 2022

Validation – How to Bring Calm, Connection, and Influence to Big Feelings

This is an excellent article from Karen Young a psychologist and therapist in Australia. Her website focuses on strengthening the mental wellness of children and adolescents, and attracts millions of […]
June 23, 2022

Understand that You Don’t Have to Understand

In Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, Meg Murray feels very much alone. She has braces, glasses, and flyaway hair. She can’t seem to get anything right in school, where […]
June 22, 2022

What I Learned in Juvenile Detention this Year

This past school year I was the paraprofessional teacher in our local juvenile detention center. Our school was called a “Transition School” as we helped our students, who lacked a […]
June 2, 2022

Gratitude is Good Medicine and Enhances Well-being

A growing body of research is confirming that practicing gratitude enhances emotional and physical well-being. “The practice of gratitude can have dramatic and lasting effects in a person’s life,” said […]
May 31, 2022

How to Talk and Listen to a Teen with Mental Health Struggles

“I could not stand being home doing homework because, like, I told you I was living with my best friend. So we had, like, 14 people in one house, and, […]
May 24, 2022

8 Things to Remember about Child Development

Excellent article from Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child. Remembering these keep points helps to keep all of us on track when working with young children. This article was originally […]
May 18, 2022

Resilience: Strategies to Strengthen Young Children

Everyone is capable of working through challenges and coping with stress. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from stress, adversity, failure, challenges, or even trauma. It’s not something that […]
May 10, 2022

Honor How You Truly Feel

Three weeks left until the end of school — and I can hardly wait! I feel what seems to be a weird mix of emotions: relieved (that we’re almost done), […]
May 3, 2022

What do You Mean ‘Fine’ Isn’t a Feeling? It Worked for the Beatles!

John Lennon wrote “I Feel Fine” which was released as a single in 1964. “Fine” may have worked in the 60’s, but it doesn’t work as an emotion in the […]
April 25, 2022

How it all began: A brief history of Circle Dynamics Group

It was a warm fall day in 2012 when a friend called me and said we were going to go to a high school that day to talk with the […]
February 28, 2022

Prescott Unified School District & Circle Dynamics Group

This article appeared in the 2022 winter edition of Prescott Living Magazine. We have the privilege of working very closely with Jessy and her team.
February 7, 2022

The Emotional Tango: Those are Your Feelings, Not Mine

The dancers in ballroom tango initially move across the floor through the flexing of the lower joints (hip, knee, ankle) while the feet are delayed, then the feet move quickly […]
December 28, 2021

Practice Emotional Hygiene

We all know how to maintain our physical health and how to practice dental hygiene, right? We’ve known it since we were five years old. But what do we know about […]
December 11, 2021

Ten Tasks of Adolescent Development

Adolescence designates the teenage years between 13 and 19, and is typically seen as the transition period into early adulthood. However, the physical and psychological challenges of adolescence may begin […]
November 16, 2021

Your Past Does Not Dictate Your Future

Robert (not his real name) was 17-years-old and was always angry. VERY ANGRY! His world had not been kind to him when he was growing up. Dad drank heavily and […]
November 3, 2021

Empathy: Stepping into Someone Else’s Truth

Empathy is often defined as the ability to appropriately perceive and relate to the thoughts, emotions, or experiences of others. Empathy is a core factor in our work with students […]
October 26, 2021

One Simple Question can Change a Student’s Outlook

This single question is immensely powerful. It exposes the individual’s hidden resources and can point to solutions to persistent problems. It asks the student to consider an alternate reality. Here’s […]
October 18, 2021

The Magic of Gratitude

Research has shown that gratitude can improve general well-being, increase resilience, strengthen social relationships, and reduce stress and depression. Four years ago there was a death in my family, and a week later […]
October 1, 2021

Co-regulation and the Prefrontal Cortex

Sure, this title sounds like a bad Halloween story, but let’s dig into it. Sometimes our students behave in ways that seem way beyond the size of the issue. There’s […]
September 27, 2021

What Happened Today, 2021-09-14

September 23, 2021

A Holistic Approach to Education

This amazing short video is from our good friend Noemi Weiss. She showcases that what makes this school so different: they educate from the inside out. Take 4 minutes to […]
September 20, 2021

Emotional Mastery: Unpleasant Feelings

There are eight very common unpleasant feelings that most of us feel from time to time: sadness, shame, helplessness, anger, vulnerability, embarrassment, disappointment, and frustration. Each of these feelings make […]
August 13, 2021

I Can’t Fix Your Emotions

I’m a paraprofessional working with high-school-age students inside our Juvenile Detention Center. I’ve never been a paraprofessional before, so when school started two weeks ago, it was a brand new […]
July 30, 2021

Manage Disrespect by Setting Limits

[This article is from Love and Logic — reprinted here with permission.] Many parents and educators struggle with feeling disrespected by their kids or students. Does this resonate with you? […]
July 7, 2021

What Happened Today 2021-07-01

It was a great training... but he left out the "how."
July 7, 2021

How are you Responding to Your Students and Colleagues?

Imagine that you have just entered the classroom and three students frantically approach you about the assignment you have given out yesterday. In your mind you are already saying, “Oh […]
July 5, 2021

A Single Word that can Change a Student’s Attitude

Everyone falls into self-limiting beliefs sometimes. But with self-awareness and maybe a little nudging from a mentor or teacher, we can re-train our brains and create a Growth Mindset. With […]
June 24, 2021

The Final Aspect of our CLRS Approach: Support

The CLRS Approach fosters authenticity, genuine listening, and compassionate support so that students and staff uncover solutions to their problems, and find the relief and support that comes in sharing […]
June 12, 2021

Another Aspect of our CLRS Approach: Respect

We have written about the key elements of our CLRS Approach (Curiosity, Listen, Respect, and Support), and have provided in-depth information about Curiosity and Listening. Now I want to dive […]
June 10, 2021

Developing Empathy

In its simplest form, empathy is the ability to recognize emotions in others and to understand other people’s perspectives on a situation. Understanding others is more than just sensing other […]
June 7, 2021

What Happened Today 2021-06-04

Furthering the relationship with a student who was struggling.
May 25, 2021

There are No Negative Emotions

Sometime before the COVID pandemic, we were leading a training session and a psychologist that was in the training stopped the conversation by saying, “Those are all bad, negative emotions. […]
May 11, 2021

Uncertainty, Stress, and Anxiety

We are living in an age of uncertainty. For educators, in particular, this uncertainty causes high levels of stress and anxiety as we move closer to the start of the […]
May 6, 2021

How are You Feeling Today?

When we speak with groups, we always begin by asking people how they are feeling right in this moment, and to share that with the group. “How are you feeling […]
April 22, 2021

Introduction to Emotional Intelligence Skills

Whether it’s in the boardroom or the classroom, individuals need the skills to communicate, work in teams, and let go of the personal and family issues that get in the […]
January 19, 2021

The Power of Silence

During these (hopefully) waning days of COVID and the “promise” of a new year, you may be finding more opportunities to listen to friends, co-workers, or family members share their […]
November 25, 2020

Why Is SEL Important, Especially Now?

[This article comes from] Educators have long understood the benefits of SEL. Yet, the national conversation about why students need social-emotional learning is more ubiquitous than ever in 2020-21. […]
September 8, 2020

5 Family Engagement Strategies from School District Leaders

We know that parents are the experts on their children. Yet, school district leaders know that effectively and equitably engaging families is far from simple. When families are engaged in […]
August 31, 2020

Ask What Happened, Not Why it Happened

Columbo solved his mysteries by asking many questions; as all the great detectives have done – in real life as well as fiction. All the great inventors and scientists asked questions. Isaac Newton asked, “Why does an apple fall from a tree?” and, “Why does the moon not fall into the Earth?” Charles Darwin asked, “Why do the Galapagos islands have so many species not found elsewhere?”
June 3, 2020

Uncertainty is a Source of Strength

The class of 2020 has graduated high school with little fanfare except for being shut-in at home with their brother and sisters. And when they look to their immediate futures, […]
March 11, 2020

Uncertainty and Resilience

We live in uncertain times. Maybe we always have. Maybe the “certainty” that we invented was just that — an invention in our own minds that may not have reflected […]
March 3, 2020

The Power of Authentic Curiosity

A few weeks back we were meeting with an educator that just a few hours before had noticed a child sitting alone and looking distraught. He took time out of his day to sit down for a minute and be curious about this young man.
February 27, 2020

Life as a Human Being on the Planet

I have been involved in discussion circles for about 5 years now, sometimes in schools with teens, sometimes with other adults in training settings, and I have enjoyed them all. […]
February 11, 2020

Creating a Deeper Connection

I recently had an engaging conversation with my cousin in New York and she was telling me about a shift in her business focus from plain old digital marketing and […]
January 28, 2020

Ask Open-Ended Questions

A good open-ended question cannot be easily answered with one or two words. The classic “How was school today?” for example, is open-ended, but lends itself to be answered with […]
January 11, 2020

Every Child has Gifts for Us

The Zula tribes of South Africa live in community and believe that every child, starting even before birth, is to be powerfully and ritually welcomed into the world. They are […]
January 10, 2020

Listening. . . Really Listening

When was the last time you listened? I mean, really listened. With no agenda to persuade. No desire to give advice. No desire to change the trajectory of the speaker by sharing your […]
January 9, 2020

I Use Drugs or Alcohol to Cover Up the Pain

Back in the 1960’s we had the Beatles and Woodstock, and a trend toward getting high through the use of drugs, especially hallucinogens such as marijuana and LSD. Today we […]
January 8, 2020

The Six Pillars – Developmental Assets

The developmental work of each teen is to cultivate an authentic identity that is socially acceptable. This is actually two separate, but related things. Teens are working hard to discover […]
January 7, 2020

A Sense of Connection is a Core Human Need

Many people have either battled depression themselves or know someone who has. The unfortunate truth is that so much of the hectic, competitive, and isolating culture we live in contributes […]