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The 3-5-7 Model
July/August 2014 


Summertime often brings with it picnics, bar-b-ques and other get-togethers where we re-connect with family and friends.  We look forward to gathering together to tell and remember stories about the past; people who have been lost and experiences that have been shared.  In my book The 3-5-7 MODEL: A Practice Approach to Permanency, I wrote about the importance of hearing the stories of our youth:


By listening to them as they tell their stories, we are able to help them clarify past life events, integrate their relationship experiences, and support the actualization of connections as they continue their life's journey. It is most likely not a quick journey, often requiring many "tellings" of their stories as they express many feelings about those events. It is a sorting out, a claiming of real emotions, a sense of the found of what may have been lost to them. In doing their work, children and youth are able to find answers that make sense of their experiences.  In doing so, they are able to claim their identity

and feelings of being valued, increasing their self esteem.


Consider what 3-5-7 Model ©work you may be doing in your family as you attend family gatherings and hear the stories of the past.  Did you learn something new?  Did you hear something differently now that you are older?  How is your family growing and evolving on its journey?  


Focusing on our Skills
Responding to the Expressions of Our Children and Youth 

When children experience a loss they don't express it in the same way adults do but they are, nevertheless, in mourning.  Children live in the moment and feelings are expressed through behaviors at the time they are felt.  It is at the time that children have these "loss behaviors" that action by the parent/adult must occur.   If nothing is done to acknowledge the hurts, the opportunity has passed. Adults sometimes fail to respond to these grieving behaviors; they may not know what to do or say, or fear they will make it worse, or they may see the behavior as something that has to be handled by therapists. The problem with this is by the time the child sees the therapist the moment has long gone and the child cannot remember what he was feeling at that time.  As a result children may be labeled as resistant or unmotivated to engage in treatment.

This lack of response to the child's feelings can cause the child to feel alone or that no one sees them; they often experience feelings of rejection believing that no one cares about them. When feelings are not validated, they may feel ignored or abandoned. Therefore, adults should feel empowered to acknowledge a child's expressed emotions and feelings.  

Book Recommendation 
Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and Their Parents), by Eline Snel

Simple mindfulness practices to help your child (ages 5-12) deal with anxiety, improve concentration, and handle difficult emotions.  


Mindfulness-the quality of attention that combines full awareness with acceptance of each moment, just as it is-is gaining broad acceptance among mental health professionals as an adjunct to treatment. This little book is a very appealing introduction to mindfulness meditation for children and their parents. In a simple and accessible way, it describes what mindfulness is and how mindfulness-based practices can help children calm down, become more focused, fall asleep more easily, alleviate worry, manage anger, and generally become more patient and aware. The book contains eleven practices that focus on just these scenarios, along with short examples and anecdotes throughout. Included with purchase is an audio CD with guided meditations, voiced by Myla Kabat-Zinn, who along with her husband, Jon Kabat-Zinn, popularized mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) as a therapeutic approach. 


(Description Courtesy of Amazon)

Featured Activity 

My Life Soundtrack


Purpose:  The primary focus of this activity is to help children use music and musical lyrics as a way to identify and connect with others, and appropriately express their emotions. The activity can be elaborated for musically creative children.


Materials Needed:  Create a My Life Soundtrack worksheet with the following headings:

  • My theme song is...I chose this song because:
  • A song that makes me happy is:
  • A song that makes me sad is:
  • A song that helps me release my anger is:
  • A song that I can relate to is:
  • My favorite song is...and this is why:
  • This song creates a lot of feeling when I listen to it:
  • This song reminds me of a particular event in my past is...The event was:
  • My favorite style of music is...and this is why:


Getting Started:  The child/youth should be presented with My Life Soundtrack worksheet. The worksheet can be given to the child during the prior session, in order to give the child more time to think of their responses. If it is presented during the session in which the worker intends to complete the activity, expect to give the child more time to think about their responses.  The worker should begin talking with the child about the emotional connection that singers have to the songs they sing. Talk to the child about the emotions they feel listening to the song. Suggest they pretend to be a song writer and ask the child to share what life experiences they may choose to write about. Each response the child gives on the worksheet should be processed with the child to gain a better understanding of the emotions that the child is experiencing and how they are managing those emotions.  Sometimes, the child can provide specific lyrics to the songs they chose, which can be processed with the child. If the child does not know the lyrics, the worker can extend the activity by printing out the lyrics for the child and processing those specific lyrics with the child during the next session.


Tips and techniques to making the activity meaningful:  A CD with the child/youth's chosen songs on it can be made and given to the child, or an i-Tunes gift card can be purchased for the child/youth so that songs of their choice can be purchased. 

Excerpt from the 3-5-7 Model(c) Workbook.

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P.O. Box 4847 Harrisburg, Pa 17111-0847
office@darlahenry.org   |   717-919-6286