Teaching Compassion

canstockphoto43756I provide services for children and teens with various mental health and behavioral health needs.

Some of their behavioral needs include targeting verbal aggression, physical aggression, destruction of property, self-harmful behaviors.

Interpersonal skills are taught to these children. Concepts like: giving up harmful choices. Developing empathy and concern for other people. Finding a healthy way to express thoughts and feelings. Being assertive opposed to passive or aggressive. Validating other people’s thoughts and feelings. Being an attentive listener. Learning to accept “no” for an answer.

We often do compassion training with local facilities.

In example, we have a local no-kill animal shelter.

  • Our children can donate their own extrinsic reward points to buy pet food, animal toys, and blankets. We take the kids to the shelter and let them take a tour.
  • Our children (who are in a psychiatric residential treatment setting) have often written letters to the elderly in nursing homes who are sick and lonely.
  • We play emotional movies (that are age-appropriate for children or teens) and have a discussion on being empathetic with characters in the movie.

I  thought this Huffington Post article on “8 ways to teach compassion” was a good article to read:


“Anne with an E” on Netflix

I realcanstockphoto7287322ly enjoyed the “Anne with an E” (Anne of Green Gables) on netflix.

I believe fiction (cinema) and (books) can be a great way to teach empathy.

I had a lot of empathy for Anne and her adoptive parents throughout this series.

I offer a CEU course on Cinema Therapy that you might want to check out. it is listed in the courses here: http://www.dannypettry.com/courses.html

Here is a review of the series:

Click here for my amazon affiliate link to the original book. 

Staying balanced when you’re an Empath

I think I am an Empath. I am very empathetic. As I believe most of us, recreational therapists are.

I’m a big fan of The Chopra Center and Deepak Chropra.

Melissa Eisler had written a post titled:

how to stay emotionally balanced if you’re an empath.

I often feel as if I have “caught” emotions from others. A professional term for it is vicarious trauma.


Here is the link to her article: