“Exploring Emotional Health” is a fantastic blend of wisdom, vital information and sensitively structured workshop sessions for young people. Youth workers, who might be wary or unsure about tackling topics like anxiety and depression are gently led through some introductory sessions about identifying and coping with emotions – myths are debunked, stereotypes are challenged and your confidence in tackling this subject will grow.
I’d go so far as to say that all youth work where there is a “teaching” aspect should be shaped like this. A workshop style approach as adopted by Liz, helps young people explore the topics in their own way – space to reflect, space to ask questions, space to interact with the thoughts, feelings and comments of others. A key question many young people ask as they face the regular emotional upheavals of adolescence is, “am I normal?” To unpack each subject in a way that makes it accessible, less scary and without putting young people on the spot is a real skill – Liz achieves that here.
What is a bonus, and sets this resource book apart from many others, is the holistic way that Liz approaches the whole subject and each section. It is so important to be a reflective practitioner, but what is rare is to see questions for the youth workers to ask of themselves – as well as their young people. This might be a tool for a youth group – and in fact, you could draw on different elements in numerous work contexts – but, it is also a tool for the youth worker. In work and ministry, one of the best things we can offer young people is a “healthy us” – that doesn’t mean we are emotionally “sorted”, but it does mean we are prepared to go on a journey and explore our own emotions as well as those of our young people and become more emotionally literate ourselves. This book is a gift to the Church, and a gift to youth work – if you want to see young people live life to the full (and “full” means our whole selves, everything we are – including our emotions) – then I encourage you to get it.
What follows is a brief Q&A with Liz which I hope gives you more insight to the book than my words above can, I’m looking forward to what Liz produces next!