19 May 2017

Riding The Big Waves Course for Female Students Aged 13 to 16

Shirralee Sisson, School Counsellor is arranging a course run by some well-known clinical psychologists. They have agreed to run the course at Island School at a much reduced price ($1000 includes 4, 1.5 hours sessions plus a 1 hour parent session.

It is a very good opportunity for students to develop skills that can be used in everyday life.

The course is open for female students aged 13 to 16. Maximum number in the group is 12, so places are limited.

What the course includes:
Each week, the group will utilise a different set of key skills, taken from Dialectical Behavioural Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, in order to help with the overarching topics that stretch across the ‘Riding the Big Waves’ group course.

These skills are:

  • MINDFULNESS: having a ‘wise mind’ which is neither totally emotional nor totally logical, learning practical techniques to help to stay in the moment.
  • DISTRESS TOLERANCE. learning techniques to help group members to manage difficult and painful situations and emotions in a healthy manner; promoting distraction, self-soothing and helpful rather than harmful ways of dealing with distress.
  • EMOTION REGULATION. reducing vulnerability to tricky and strong emotions, finding ways to manage waves of emotion effectively, noticing and learning about emotions and trigger-points.
  • INTERPERSONAL EFFECTIVENESS. learning how to navigate relationships of all kinds, communication strategies, finding ways to understand what others might be thinking.

All sessions will be a mixture of group discussion and taught activities from the group instructors.  Situations that many or all of the group will have encountered (losing one’s temper, falling out with a friend, feeling incredibly sad, getting into trouble at school, etc) will be used to provide the context for the discussions and skills, so that group members can learn from their own and other’s experiences.  Talking in this way is known to be an effective way of helping teens to understand the things that they might find difficult in context.  The group may be shown videos from films or youtube illustrating particular points and encouraged to discuss and reflect on these, in the context of the skills.  Between sessions, group members will be encouraged and expected to practice the skills that they have learned over the previous weeks in the group, and to talk about whether these were helpful in stressful, ‘big wave’ situations.

Group rules will be constructed at the start of the sessions, and will include:

Confidentiality – respect that what has been discussed in the group stays in the group

Content – an understanding that unhelpful strategies for coping with emotions will not be discussed inside or outside of the group

Space on the course is limited so I would encourage you to ring and book a place soon, if interested. They will ask basic information from you so they have a record of who has taken the course.


As mentioned the course will be run at Island School and I will be present throughout the sessions. As they start a few hours after school I am in the process of arranging a room and activities for the students who may have to stay after school as they live too far away.

In relation to feedback to parents at the end of the final session, parents will be invited to attend a session at 7pm to 8pm so that the information and strategies that your daughter will have learnt during the course could be shared with you so that it can be reinforced and applied at home.

Please could you let me know when you have registered for the course, just for my records.

Also if you have any further questions, please feel free to send me an email to discuss further details.


Shirralee Sisson