Darla Henry & Associates
In This Issue
Welcome 3-5-7 Model© 
We are happy to have recently spent time with time with friends old and new at Adoption Rhode Island, Family Services of Rhode Island and the Delaware Valley Adoption Council in Pennsylvania.  We are also looking forward to spending time with old friends and meeting many new friends as we return to Calgary for two weeks in December. 
The 3-5-7 Model: A Practice Approach to Permanency, Stories of Hope and Healing for Children, Youth and Families is available at DarlaHenry.org.

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November/December  2015


As you know, the 3-5-7 Model© includes three tasks; Clarification and Integration, moving toward Actualization.  Recently, I have been focusing on understanding the integration work that our youth do-the work that is all about the important people in their lives, people they (not us) consider important.

When our youth explore "What happened to me" and "Where am I going", they are learning the answers to these questions: Who is going to be there for me?  Who is going to support me in my growth?  Who is going to meet my needs?  Our youth are searching for safety in a relationship-some sense of being safe with a person who they can begin to trust and who they can rely on to meet their needs.  Through this integration process, youth move toward those who will be their permanent relationships, making sense out of the events of their lives along the way (in this way we can think about Clarification and Integration as being interwoven). 

All too often, professionals have made the decisions about the youth's relationships for them, and then have worked to "help the youth understand" why those decisions have been made.  Practicing in this way does not honor the resiliency of our youth, and fails to recognize the true power of the 3-5-7 Model© approach.  It is their work to do. 

As you engage youth in activities to explore the people who they value and are important to them, but can't live with, the intense work of integration helps them understand the possibility of reunifying with birth parents or moving forward with extended family members or an adoptive family.  They make these decisions themselves; they can visualize permanency in a new relationship and are in readiness to move toward Actualization.

As we enter the holiday season, my hope for you is that you have many opportunities to spend time with those whom you feel safe with-those who meet your needs and provide you with a sense of belongingness.

Focusing on Our Skills - "Presents" vs "Presence"  

Being present to another's pain as they express feelings and thoughts and share stories of lost loved ones is central to the grief process. These interactions with children and youth are the premise for relationship building, for repetition of the attachment cycle, for responding to the need for closeness, comfort, the recognition of feelings, and the affirmations of the reality of life experiences.  More than anything, your presence during this process is a powerful healing force.  Take this quick quiz to see how present you are to the youth you work with. 
Are you:
  • Available and attentive during sessions?
  • Supportive of the youth's work to process feelings/thoughts through brief verbal responses/reflections?
  • Comfortable with silence and expressions of grief?
  • Able to use brief comments and/or questions that encourage youth to explore experiences and express feelings?
  • Able to use self-disclosure about your own feelings and experiences in a manner that facilitates growth in the youth?
If you answered yes to these questions*, you have strong skills of "presence".  
What a present it is to be present!

* Questions adapted from the 3-5-7 Model© Skills Development Guide - a tool that helps promote development of worker skills in application of the 3-5-7 Model© in practice.
Know and use today's 3-5-7 Model©!  If you had training prior to the development of the Skills Development Guide get in touch with us to learn about it and additional tools and resources that have been added to our program. 
Taking Care of You
Holiday stress can ramp all of us up and can make us feel less patient and more irritable.  Often we tend to over-focus on the "to do" list (why do we get so crazy about getting things checked off the list?!??) and focus less on our relationships and the importance of enjoying time with loved ones and being present in the moment with them.  We acknowledge the stressors that you face as work competes with family time and encourage you to give yourself permission to pause and reflect, especially during the holiday season.  Remember that our youth sometimes need a break too-a chance to have down time and to be present in their environments. 

The Holidays: An Opportunity for Healing
Check out these great tips and reminders from our friends at The Center for Adoption Support and Education (C.A.S.E.) about how to help support youth during the holidays: http://adoptionsupport.org/index.php/the-holidays-an-opportunity-for-healing/