Intervention in B Class by the Centre of Addictions’ Prevention “HELIOS” of the municipalities of Nea Smyrni and Agios Dimitrios

During the period 10-22 November 2022 was realized the intervention entitled “The Way to Autonomy” to B class students of Evangeliki Model High School of Smyrna by executives of the Center of Prevention “HELIOS”:

Karapataki Nantia, Psychologist-Psychotherapist, Academic Member of Prevention, and Zarafonitou Maria, Social Worker, Academic Executive of Prevention.

The Centre of Addictions’ Prevention and Promotion of Psychosocial Health “HELIOS” was founded in March 2006 as an urban non-profit organization by the local authorities of the municipalities of Nea Smyrni and Agios Dimitrios , in collaboration with the Organisation against Drugs. The centre is staffed by psychic health professionals, trained in prevention issues, and it offers free services to the citizens of Nea Smyrni and Agios Dimitrios, which consist of the planning and implementation of preventive actions in the local community with the aim of promoting the population’s psychosocial health.

In the framework of the interventions addressed to Secondary Education students, the Prevention Centre “HELIOS” has designed an intervention for High School students entitled “The Way to Autonomy”, which has been  realized the past years with the participation of High School students from the municipalities of Nea Smyrni and Agios Dimitrios. The intervention aims at facilitating students to ask questions and to search answers related to their transition from the adolescence to adulthood. This transition is a crucial stage of life. The youth are called to gradually leave the safety of their family and to try themselves in new roles. This change is accompanied by feelings of stress, insecurity and disappointment.

Taking into consideration the youth’s needs to share their concerns and receive encouragement and support, we designed this intervention that gives the opportunity to the participants to process, through experiential procedures, issues like autonomy, their self-image, feelings, and stress management.

It is a programme that lasts for 3 2-hour sessions per class, in which through experiential activities and group interaction emerge concerns that the adolescents face and they are given space and time for discussion and processing of them.

Collaboration with the students has been for us especially satisfactory and pleasant and let us have an insight, to a certain degree, into the pulse of the adolescent journey towards autonomy and adulthood. The adolescents mainly “talked” through symbolic painting. Their creations have been especially imaginative and each one of them showed how they perceive their way towards autonomy, how they attribute a meaning to it, what they keep and what they leave from their adolescent self, how they imagine their future as adults.

Examples of the intervention:

A group depicted the concept of “growing older” with a snowball that rolls down a mountain slope. During its downhill course, the snowball collects snow, just like the adolescent gains experience and knowledge during his/her journey towards adulthood, and it grows bigger and bigger until it reaches a point (adulthood  – completion), when it stays stable for a while before it gradually melts and dies.

Another group associated the concept of “growing older” with a child that grows up like a tree. Just like the tree, in the course of its development, grows roots, the child gains experiences. Just like the tree gets fruits as a result of internal and external processes, the child “wins a medal” (wins in life, achieves goals) while changing on the way both appearance and shirt number (change of personality and roles in life).

We deeply thank the school principal Mr. C. Fanidis and the school teachers for our excellent cooperation and their warm hospitality in the school.

Above all, though, we would like to thank from the depth of our heart the B class students for the trust they showed to us and shared among them and with us their concerns about life and their future.

We wish you all the best.

Yours faithfully,

Nantia Karapataki

Maria Zarafonitou