Here is a resource for educators, youth workers, mental health professionals, social workers, juvenile justice counsellors and anyone involved with young people. Reflexions is a set of cards that use contemporary street and techno style photo collage and graphics to deepen conversations on the issues that concern young people. A single word accompanied by graphics guide participants to identify and name reactions to their circumstances. Especially important for boys struggling to express their emotions.
Reflexions are a set of cards that at first glance might suggest have little to say about strengths. Compared to many other card sets they appear dark, angst-ridden and the opposite of cute. And the words on the cards don’t sound like strengths either: ‘confused’, ‘frustrated’, ‘angry’, ‘disgusted’ etc. But none the less, these cards are strength cards by another name.
Every card names a feeling. Feelings are feelings, they are not inherently negative or bad. But by naming feelings with which we are sometimes uncomfortable, we are able to bring to the surface discussion about how these feelings translate into actions.
Feelings can be difficult to put a name to. It is easier to resort to simple, global words to talk about feelings rather than try to separate out the tangle of different feelings we may have at any one time. And all human service workers (and parents!) know the difficulty of trying to get more than monosyllabic responses from many of our adolescents. The first and most basic use of Reflexions is to simply provide a vocabulary and a means to articulate feeling about anything of significance in the young person’s life.
Reflexions was designed as a tool for young people who, in the process of growth towards indipendence, are creating their own identities. Becoming an independent individual can be a difficult journey in our society. Dealing with the pressures of families, schools, peers, authorities and even the media is a difficult undertaking at a time when hormones are raging and there is a constant urge to experiement with all aspects of what life has to offer.
Originally designed for adolescents, the 32 Reflexions cards use the busyness and realism of photo montage design to talk about the emotions, the issues and the experience of young people. While more visually confronting than the cards that use illustration, Reflexions also speak to many adults who in their own way face the same issues suggested by the cards.