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Bromley Brook Boarding School for Girls Creates Focus Cards to Help Students Regulate Emotions, Solve Problems
Date:2/24/2010

ere are certain skills that can help them.”

The Focus Cards were created by Bromley Brook staff in collaboration with the Stone Center at Wellesley College to develop a unique way of working with adolescent girls. The cards integrate the theoretical foundations of women’s psychology and relational-cultural theory in a way that can help girls foster healthy relationships and connections, and encourage them to have power with each other as opposed to power over each other.

The girls receive one Focus Card each week, which is added to a binder of collected cards that the students and treatment staff can refer back to. Three times each day, students are given time to reflect on their behaviors and fill in the cards. The school’s clinical staff and therapists were trained on how to help girls use the cards and process their observations.

“So many of our girls struggle with distress tolerance and emotional regulation,” said Mary Jo DeGrandi, MS, coordinator of Special Therapeutic Programs at Bromley Brook. “We want to create opportunities throughout the day for the girls to reflect on what’s going on with them and what strategies they used to help themselves.”

The Focus Cards are simplified versions of the Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) diary cards that have been successfully used in therapy since the 1990s. Bromley Brook has run a DBT group for students for years, but only a small group of girls participated. The cards allow all students to benefit from the DBT principles.

“We were already doing DBT work and realized that every girl would benefit from it,” Hartunian explained. “It provides a concrete way for students to measure and keep track of their emotions.”

About Bromley Brook

Bromley Brook is a boarding school for girls ages 13 to 17. The school aims to meet the specialized learning requirements and unique social needs of gir
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