Psychological Interventions in Schools – Do We Need To Be More Mindful?

Mindfulness approaches have shown effectiveness in psychological research and clinical practice with adults, and have been applied with children and adolescents in various settings. A particular challenge for practice with children and adolescents, however, is the transition from tightly controlled research studies to pragmatic approaches in real world settings, particularly for diverse and underserved groups. Schools are consistently identified as  cost-effective and supportive settings for students to access mindfulness-based and other psychological approaches to support mental health. This session will explore approaches to school-based psychological interventions for adolescents, with a particular focus on mindfulness-based interventions and issues associated with universal prevention versus targeted intervention approaches. Challenges to implementation and opportunities for supporting effective translation of approaches for school environments will be discussed. 

Dr. Amanda Taylor, MPsych(Clin)/PhD

Clinical Psychologist
Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology, The University of Adelaide, Australia
Lead Researcher, Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for Children School Research Program

About: Dr Amanda Taylor is an endorsed clinical psychologist and Senior Lecturer with the School of Psychology at the University of Adelaide, Australia. Her research focusses on understanding and facilitating factors that contribute to good mental health for children, adolescents and families in applied settings. Her recent work includes leading a trial of school based mindfulness approaches and ‘gold standard’ cognitive behavioral therapy for young adolescents in underserved areas.

Dr. Catherine Johnson, PhD (Psychology)
Research Fellow (Eating Disorders; Transdiagnostic Prevention Programs in Schools)
Flinders Institute for Mental Health and Wellbeing (FIMHWell)
College of Education, Psychology & Social Work
[email protected]

About: Dr Catherine Johnson is a Research Fellow (Psychology) in the Flinders University Institute for Mental Health and Wellbeing, in Adelaide, South Australia. She has led a series of four large RCTs in schools delivering mindfulness based interventions to early- and mid- adolescents. Her work has also involved a multi-year university-school partnership developing a framework for ELC-Year 12 wellbeing. Her research interests are refining content and delivery of universal wellbeing interventions in schools to improve effectiveness.

Dr. Julia Dray (She/Her) (PhD Psyc, BA Hons I Psyc) 
Postdoctoral Researcher - The University of Technology, Sydney, Australia
[email protected]

About: Dr Julia Dray is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Technology Sydney. Dr Dray’s research targets enabling people to embed lived-experience of mental health problems in research; to develop and maintain positive mental health, development, and life trajectories. She does this via complex implementation science based approaches to improve health and mental health care and outcomes, reduce modifiable health risk behaviors and strengthen protective factors, and has a particular focus on resilience and mental health problems in children and adolescents.

Randye J. Semple, PhD

About: Randye J. Semple, PhD is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences at the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California. She is Director of Psychological and Behavioral Health Services at Los Angeles General Medical Center and Co-Principal Investigator for the USC Center for Mindfulness Science. She also serves as Co-Director of the Trauma Specialty Training Clinic at the Adult Outpatient Psychiatric Clinic, Los Angeles General Medical Center and manages the longitudinal trauma training program for USC psychiatry residents. Dr. Semple is a clinical psychologist and the lead developer of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Children (MBCT-C) and The Mindfulness Matters Program. She has authored or co-authored nearly 60 scientific publications and two books for clinicians and K-12 teachers: Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Anxious Children (2011) and The Mindfulness Matters Program for Children and Adolescents: Strategies, Activities, and Techniques for Therapists and Teachers (2019). Learn more on Dr. Semple’s website: