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Dec/Jan 2006Vol. 6, No. 10Using Spiritual Interventions to Help Troubled Youth

The National Child Welfare Resource Center for Youth Development (NRCYD) has released a new report that explores the uses of spiritual activities in providing effective therapeutic services to youth. Adolescent Heart and Soul: Achieving Spiritual Competence in Youth-Serving Agencies was prepared by M. Wilson of the New England Network for Child, Youth, and Family Services. The report examines how seven agencies, some religious and some secular, have developed spiritual programming in their work with young people.

The agencies selected work with youth aged 14 to 22, most of whom are in residential treatment or transitional living programs. The agencies believe that providing opportunities for spiritual development or introspection is a critical component of their overall treatment. The particular form of introspection is considered relatively unimportant, so the agencies offered a range of spiritual activities, both religious and secular.

The report is intended to be a guide for agencies wishing to develop and expand the spiritual component of their programs. Many tools and resources developed by the agencies are reprinted in the appendix of the report.

The report is available for download from the NRCYD website at (PDF - 1,382 KB).