Youth workers in the Warrnambool region have been introduced to ERIC in a training seminar hosted by WRAD Youth.
ERIC stands for Emotional Regulation and Impulse Control and is a modular treatment package developed by Deakin University and YSAS and targets emotion regulation difficulties in young people who need help for mental health and substance use issues.
The seminar on June 8 discussed the development and preliminary findings of three pilot programs for the intervention.
Dr Kate Hall, senior lecturer in addiction and mental health at Deakin University and senior clinical psychologist at YSAS, led the presentation and described ERIC as having a strategic focus on social and emotional development in young people.
The seminar was a skills based intervention to try to build skills in ERIC.
ERIC has eight domains chosen on a scientific basis and within each domain there is a series of practical worker delivered therapeutic tools.
“It is used to teach young people skills like decision making, mindfulness and emotional literacy,” Dr Hall said. “It is flexibly applied by workers in terms of the young people they’re working with.”
Dr Hall said ERIC was written so it could be disseminated to frontline workers.
“We’ve had two years of development and have piloted it with workers and young people seeking help with AOD and co-existing mental health issues.”
Dr Hall said emotional dysregulation is identified as something that develops in vulnerable people who have deprived or traumatic experiences through childhood.
The session for youth workers in Warrnambool outlined how ERIC takes a different approach to interventions and was designed to be relevant to workers on the frontline.
It is hoped that further funding can be received to pilot ERIC in other areas, potentially including the Warrnambool district.
WRAD assertive youth worker Alana Beasley said the seminar was valuable for local services that work with youth. “It helped our understanding around the importance of mindfulness and the possibility of altering our responses to react in a different way,” she said.
“I think the best thing about ERIC was the realisation that is ok to feel emotions, it’s ok to feel angry, sad, and anxious- these are important emotions that serve a purpose. It’s how we respond to these emotions that are the key. ERIC provides strategies and tools for clinicians to help ruminating youth clients think in a different way and sit with their emotions in order to alter their responses.
Others participating in the workshop said they were impressed by how young people were consulted in the process of developing ERIC. “ERIC has been built around young people in what they need, what works and what doesn’t work; it’s practical and applicable.”