The Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM) Small Group Model for Children and Adolescents

About This Program

Target Population: Children ages 3-18 years who have experienced trauma and, optionally, their caregivers

For children/adolescents ages: 3 – 18

Program Overview

The Center for Mind–Body Medicine (CMBM) Small Group Model for Children and Adolescents is an approach for healing psychological trauma, relieving stress, reducing symptoms of chronic illness, and increasing resilience. Working in small groups of 8–10 children, facilitators teach a variety of techniques drawn from the world’s healing traditions as well as modern medicine, to help participants learn to move through emotions and experience their own capacity for self-healing. Trained facilitators guide the experience, helping participants discover their own answers.

The CMBM Small Group Model for Children and Adolescents helps young people understand how their mind and bodies operate under stress and in the aftermath of trauma. This knowledge is then used to teach self-regulation and reduce shame around negative coping adaptations. The CMBM also offers parallel group learning processes and individual coaching for parents whose children are targeted by their approach.

Program Goals

The goals of The Center for Mind–Body Medicine (CMBM) Small Group Model for Children and Adolescents are:

  • Learn practical mind/body skills (MBS) to balance the physiological response to stress and achieve emotional and physiological balance
  • Gain understanding of how stress impacts emotional and physical health
  • Reduce symptoms of trauma, anxiety, depression, and chronic illness
  • Build personal resilience and self-efficacy for managing future challenges
  • Identify individual strengths
  • Learn tools to mobilize imagination in order to develop creative solutions to problems and conditions
  • Enhance relationships and improve capacity to seek and receive social support

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for The Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM) Small Group Model for Children and Adolescents.

Essential Components

The essential components of The Center for Mind–Body Medicine (CMBM) Small Group Model for Children and Adolescents include:

  • Screening:
    • Participants are screened by caregivers, teachers, or other service providers to determine if they are ready to participate in a small group learning process.
    • Screening tools will vary based on the setting and what behaviors/conditions are being targeted for intervention.
    • Participants are interviewed by the group facilitator to ensure they are interested in learning self-care skills, and ready to commit to a group process with sharing and an expectation for consistent attendance.
  • Group Structure and Composition:
    • 8–10 group members meet together for 10 weeks, once per week, for 30–90 minutes, depending on age level of group participants
    • One facilitator who guides the group process, and also participates in sharing and activities along with the participants
    • Group meetings follow the same structure each week:
      • Opening meditation
      • Check-in
      • Didactic
      • Experiential
      • Sharing
      • Home practice suggestions
      • Closing meditation
  • Essential Group Content:
    • Creating A Safe Space
    • All About our MBS Group
    • Why are we here?
    • How our Brains and Bodies Operate under Stress
    • The Imagination Superpower
    • Our Breath is Our Best Friend for Life; What is meditation?
    • All of the Feels - Expressing our Emotions
    • Moving to Our Own Beat - Movement & Music
    • Our Family Map - Finding Our Safety Net & Supports
    • Nourishing Our Bodies - Minding What We Eat
    • How Are Your Spirits? - Honoring Our Spirit, Our Culture, and Heritage
    • Saying Goodbye and Taking Our Next Step

Program Delivery

Child/Adolescent Services

The Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM) Small Group Model for Children and Adolescents directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:

  • Symptoms of posttraumatic or chronic stress; anxiety; depression; hopelessness; isolation and loneliness; sleep disturbance; anger; chronic pain; addiction, substance abuse; suicidal ideation; hyperactivity; shame and low self-worth; low assertiveness and passivity; symptoms associated with trauma such as reexperiencing/flashbacks, dysregulation, hyperarousal/triggers, avoidance, and numbing; aggression and aggressive behavior, fighting, bullying; high risk and self-harming behaviors; deficits in social skills; lagging or problematic attachment patterns
Services Involve Family/Support Structures:

This program involves the family or other support systems in the individual's treatment: One-on-one coaching can be provided to parents and caregivers to help reinforce a child participant’s learning in the home environment. Providers can also offer a parallel group for parents/caregivers, if desired.

Recommended Intensity:

Preschool children: One weekly 30-minute session; School-aged children: One weekly 60-minute session; Adolescents and parents/caregivers: One weekly 90-minute session

Recommended Duration:

10 weeks

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Community Daily Living Setting
  • Foster / Kinship Care
  • Hospital
  • Outpatient Clinic
  • Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider
  • Group or Residential Care
  • Justice Setting (Juvenile Detention, Jail, Prison, Courtroom, etc.)
  • School Setting (Including: Day Care, Day Treatment Programs, etc.)
  • Virtual (Online, Telephone, Video, Zoom, etc.)


The Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM) Small Group Model for Children and Adolescents includes a homework component:

Program participants are encouraged and coached in establishing a regular practice of the self-care skills that are taught during the weekly small group meetings. In each session, they are asked about their experience of the practice, and its benefits and challenges. Program participants are also given exercises to share with family members to encourage dialogue and collaborate practice in the home.


The Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM) Small Group Model for Children and Adolescents has materials available in languages other than English:

Arabic, Creole, French, Hebrew, Russian, Serbian, Spanish

For information on which materials are available in these languages, please check on the program's website or contact the program representative (contact information is listed at the bottom of this page).

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

  • 1–2 CMBM-trained small group facilitators
  • Small group meeting room for 10–12 people (or digital meeting platform such as Zoom, if meeting online)
  • Crayons or other coloring tools
  • Paper
  • Pens
  • Temperature-sensitive Bio-squares or Thermistors for biofeedback exercise
  • Puppets
  • Smartphone or other device for playing music

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

There are no educational prerequisites to be trained in the CMBM Small Group Model for Children and Adolescents. Facilitators should be motivated and able to participate in a self-reflective learning process. Facilitators must be committed to learning the CMBM material presented, practicing the techniques themselves, and bringing what they have learned to others.

Manual Information

There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Program Manual(s)

  • Gordon, J. S., Kimmel, J., & Erb, M. (2020). Bringing mind-body medicine to your community and practice. The Center for Mind-Body Medicine.

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training Type/Location:

Public, regional and/or online trainings are held 1–2 times each year. A local, community-wide training can also be arranged for 100+ participants.

Number of days/hours:

To become a group facilitator, the following two trainings are required:

  • The initial Professional Training Program which is 28 hours of experiential and didactic training
  • The Advanced Training Program, Children & Teens Track, which is an additional 28 hours.

The following workshop is recommended:

  • An 8-hour workshop for specialization in work with children.

Implementation Information

Pre-Implementation Materials

There are pre-implementation materials to measure organizational or provider readiness for The Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM) Small Group Model for Children and Adolescents as listed below:

After completing the training, facilitators typically receive 16 weeks of ongoing supervision and mentoring through weekly phone or teleconference calls with a CMBM faculty member. This supervision is optional, but strongly encouraged for all newly trained facilitators, and required for those seeking Certification. The supervision process provides coaching and fidelity monitoring and evaluates facilitator effectiveness.

For those interested in a higher level of expertise with the model, there is an option to go through CMBM’s Certification process. This is a deeper level of training and mentoring that strengthens facilitator skills and is a necessary next step for someone who wants to be on CMBM's faculty, training other facilitators. It entails additional training and three written papers.

Fidelity Measures

There are fidelity measures for The Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM) Small Group Model for Children and Adolescents as listed below:

Fidelity measures ensure that the essential components of the model are being incorporated into the group process and gauge the facilitator’s method of leading a group to ensure their approach is consistent with the model’s established method. All those who provide groups are assessed by fidelity measures in the Advanced Training. When trainees facilitate a group during the Advanced Training Program, they receive direct feedback from a CMBM faculty member who is observing and participating in the small group they are leading. The faculty member takes detailed notes on the performance of each trainee, shares the content of the notes with the trainee, and also with other CMBM faculty who may be providing posttraining supervision. Further assessment through supervision is optional.

Following the Advanced Training, fidelity is assessed through written, self-reported, process notes, that are submitted to the supervisor and discussed during weekly supervision calls (phone or video) with a CMBM faculty member.

Fidelity measures can be obtained by contacting CMBM’s Clinical Director: Lynda Richtsmeier Cyr at

Implementation Guides or Manuals

There are no implementation guides or manuals for The Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM) Small Group Model for Children and Adolescents.

Implementation Cost

There are no studies of the costs of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM) Small Group Model for Children and Adolescents.

Research on How to Implement the Program

Research has not been conducted on how to implement The Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM) Small Group Model for Children and Adolescents.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Child Welfare Outcome: Child/Family Well-Being

Gordon, J. S., Staples, J. K., Blyta, A., Bytyqi, M., & Wilson, A. T. (2008). Treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder in postwar Kosovar adolescents using mind-body skills groups: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 69(9), 1469–1476.

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 82


  • Age — 14–18 years (Mean=16.3 years)
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — 62 Females and 20 Males
  • Status — Participants were adolescents with PTSD.

Location/Institution: Jete e Re (“New Life”) High School in Suhareka, Kosovo

Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
The purpose of this study was to determine whether participation in Center for Mind Body Medicine (CMBM) Small Group Model for Children and Adolescents decreases symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Participants were randomly assigned to CMBM Small Group Model for Children and Adolescents or to a waitlist control group. Measures utilized the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire (HTQ). Results indicate that students in the immediate (CMBM) Small Group Model for Children and Adolescents had significantly lower PTSD symptom scores following the intervention than those in the waitlist control group. Preintervention and postintervention scores for the (CMBM) Small Group Model for Children and Adolescents were 2.5 and 2.0 respectively, and for the control group, 2.5 and 2.4, respectively. The decreased PTSD symptom scores were maintained in the initial intervention group at 3-month follow-up. After the wait list control group received the (CMBM) Small Group Model for Children and Adolescents, there was a significant decrease in PTSD symptom scores compared to the preintervention scores. Limitations include small sample size; the lack of inclusion of a trauma exposure scale in the actual interviews with participants; the possibility that bias was introduced because the teachers both administered the intervention and performed the postintervention interview assessments, when administered by interview; the HTQ in this study was a self-report measure and did not give a clinical diagnosis of PTSD; and follow-up was only on the intervention group.

Length of controlled postintervention follow-up: 3 months (intervention group only).

The following studies were not included in rating The Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM) Small Group Model for Children and Adolescents on the Scientific Rating Scale...

Gordon, J. S., Staples, J. K., Blyta, A., & Bytyqi, M. (2004). Treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder in postwar Kosovo high school students using mind–body skills groups: A pilot study. Journal of Traumatic Stress: Official Publication of The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, 17(2), 143–147.

The purpose of this study was to determine the acceptability and preliminary effectiveness of Center for Mind Body Medicine (CMBM) Small Group Model for Children and Adolescents in decreasing symptoms of posttraumatic stress in adolescents. Measures utilized included the Posttraumatic Stress Reaction Index questionnaires. Results indicate the posttraumatic stress scores significantly decreased after participation in the programs. These scores remained decreased in the 2 groups that participated in the follow-up study when compared to pretest measures. Limitations include lack of randomization; lack of control group; small sample size; there was no documentation of individual trauma exposure or inclusion criteria for participation in the program; follow-up data was obtained only from the second group and from a portion of the first group; and length of follow-up.

Staples, J. K., Abdel Atti, J. A., & Gordon, J. S. (2011). Mind-body skills groups for posttraumatic stress disorder and depression symptoms in Palestinian children and adolescents in Gaza. International Journal of Stress Management, 18(3), 246–262.

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the Center for Mind Body Medicine (CMBM) Small Group Model for Children and Adolescents to determine its effects on symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, and on hopelessness in children and adolescents in Gaza. Measures utilized include the Child PTSD Symptom Scale (CPSS), the Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI), and the Hopelessness Scale for Children (HSC). Results indicate significant improvements in PTSD and depression symptoms and a significant decrease in a sense of hopelessness were observed immediately following participation in the program. At 7-month follow-up, the improvements in the total PTSD and depression scores were largely maintained and the decreased sense of hopelessness was fully maintained despite ongoing violent conflict and economic hardship. Limitations include lack of randomization, lack of control group, and small sample size.

Additional References

Cyr, L. R., & Farrah, K. (2005, Summer). Mind-body skills groups for adolescents. Biofeedback, 33(2), 63–68.

Contact Information

Rosemary Lombard, EdM, MBA
Agency/Affiliation: The Center for Mind–Body Medicine
Phone: (202) 374-9279

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: October 2021

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: January 2022

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: January 2022