The Systemic Mirroring approach for treating adolescents focuses on helping teens who suffer from emotional dysregulation, self-injury, isolation, impulsivity, aggression and other risk behaviors such as – excessive alcohol consumption and promiscuity. From many years of working with adolescents we realized that beyond their defiant and rebellious attitude their main difficulty revolves around the formation, expression and conservation of the experience of having value, significance and worth. Without these abilities, teens frequently experience feelings of shame, inferiority, humiliation, lack of respect and lack of confidence in themselves and in the significant adults in their lives – parents and teachers. Constantly fearing to be exposed as failures, they tend to avoid dealing with the necessary academic, social and interpersonal challenges of their lives. In order to help these teens we put great emphasize on helping them regulate their feelings of shame, humiliation and rage.
Why shame? Shame is the emotion most related to the self and to the question “who am I”. Since adolescence is a time of identity formation it is also a time in which teens must regulate feelings of shame often – It is through the interacting with others that we develop identity and it through this interaction that we experience shame. When we experience shame our answer to the question of "who am I?" is "I am bad", "I am a failure", "I am weak". Since it does not make much sense to publicize such conclusions, the more shame we have the more we feel we need to hide our true identity from the world.
Adolescents experiencing high levels of shame usually have a history of not meeting the expectations of others or of themselves. As a result, they develop a fear of disappointing either themselves or others, a fear they cope by trying to avoid situations in which people have certain hopes for them. In some cases they even purposely fail, fearing that being successful will lead others to have expectations from them.
The Systemic Mirroring approach was developed by Dr. Uri Weinblatt and his collaborator Kfir Hadar and is based on intensive systemic work that includes interventions with the adolescent, the parents and the school. The goal is to restore quickly the experience of worth for everybody who is involved in the life of the teen. In order to do so we developed unique interventions that allow teens to open up, voice their concerns in constructive ways, regulate their anger and rage and reconnect with their peers, family and community.