The Digging Deep Project is excited to announce publication of “The Shadow’s Edge Guide to Self-Awareness,” a social-emotional learning (SEL) workbook for teens. This engaging, high-visual guide is packed with engaging pen-and-paper activities including journaling, art, guided meditation and more to help young people work through tough times on their way to self-discovery. The book, whose purchase price is kept low by philanthropy ($9.95), is intended for classroom or at-home use, or as a resource for between mental health visits, and is appropriate for young people ages 11-17.
During the tween and teen years, our personality, identity and self-understanding emerge from a sea of competing emotions, experiences and intra-interpersonal dynamics. And yet the vast majority of social-emotional learning resources are meant for younger audiences. The Digging Deep Project listened as our community of parents, teachers and mental health professionals expressed their need for SEL materials appropriate for this age group. The Shadow’s Edge Guide to Self Awareness is our attempt to fill this need, providing an important resource for young people who are struggling to figure out their place in the world.
About the Exercises
Over the years, the Digging Deep Project has been honored to collaborate with a range of counselors, psychologists, physicians, social workers, researchers, teachers and other professionals working with the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of children and young people. For this project, we worked with psychologist and author, Kristi Pikiewicz, PhD, to design age-appropriate activities based on concepts including mindfulness, positive psychology, and our developing understanding of Social Emotional Learning (SEL). Dr. Pikiewicz was a middle school teacher before earning her PhD in clinical psychology and now guides the social-emotional learning curriculum for a K-8 private school in Boulder, CO with a mission for gifted education.
The exercises are organized into the following three “stages,” which represent a path toward growth during/after a difficult event, life challenge, or period of confusion. These three stages also frame progress through our companion self-help app, Shadow’s Edge, which available for download at the App Store or Google Play.
Exercises help readers explore the elements of their past that create who they are now. Activities such as “Family Tree” and “Timeline” encourage readers to identify key people and events that shape their self-understanding, while art, journaling, guided meditations and check-ins in the form of a musical mixing board help readers turn their attention to what it’s like to be in the moment.
Periods of growth are often punctuated by feeling “stuck,” and activities in this stage of Disillusionment help readers sit with this feeling and respect what it can teach them, instead of pushing away challenging emotions. Exercises such as “Lost in Space” and “Chutes & Ladders” help readers understand that periods of Disillusionment are inevitable, but so is passing through this stage on the way to growth.
Activities in this stage help readers see themselves through a lens of pride, acceptance and hope, for example, journaling about things they’re proud of and learning to reframe events through a positive point of view. Through activities that encourage readers to try new things, the stage of Discovery becomes not only about who a reader is, but who that person could become.
The Shadow’s Edge Guide to Self-Awareness aligns with existing Social-Emotional Learning standards and curriculum, including the CASEL core competencies. Like everything at the nonprofit Digging Deep Project, price is kept low through philanthropy and all proceeds go to developing additional resources to support the mental and emotional wellbeing of young people. Please consider sharing this article to help spread the word about this valuable new resource!
Garth Sundem is a parent, husband, and author of books including “Real Real Kids, Real Stories, Real Change”.