Associate Professor David Bennett AO Head, NSW Centre for the Advancement of Adolescent Health The Children’s Hospital at Westmead Author (with Dr Leanne Rowe) of “What to do when your children turn into teenagers”

Our teenagers need to know how to be self-reliant and resilient. The Enlighten programs are fostering these skills and having a profoundly positive effect on young women. They are meeting a real need in schools by creating unique, transformative experiences for students. The programs are based on transformational psychology and highlight the value of uniqueness, relatedness and transcendence. Students are introduced to a variety of self-regulation procedures such as visualisation and short relaxation techniques, factors enhancing mental and emotional characteristics are described, and strategies for enhancing personal wellbeing are employed. Programs, like this one, that focus not only on transformation of the individual but also provide an affirming collective experience, have the capacity to really change culture. There is good evidence that we need to be warmer, more nurturing but firmer with our teenagers. I like the fact that Enlighten manages to connect in such creative ways with young women and make them feel safe, valued and loved.

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