Abstract: Inside/Outside Self-Discovery for Teens: Strategies to Promote Resilience, Relationships and Positive Body Image

The teen years are the ideal time for young people to strengthen their self-esteem and resilience so that they can resist the pull of drugs, alcohol, sex, and body-image obsessions.

This dynamic curriculum was designed to help these youth develop skills to navigate the challenging terrain of early adolescence by teaching about self-awareness, what feelings are and how to work with them, strategies for constructive self-talk, methods for managing stress and tension, the forces that drive social comparison and cause insecurities, and media literacy (especially those messages pertaining to body-image and dissatisfaction with oneself).

The Inside/Outside Self-Discovery Program promotes emotional health and resilience by helping young teens to:

  • increase internal resources that fortify healthy development
  • build skills for managing the ups and downs of peer relationships
  • foster the ability to resist cultural pressures to be perfect
  • develop supportive inner talk to counter self-criticism

Evaluative research suggests that participation in this program enhances the coping skills needed for resilience and self-acceptance. The Inside/Outside Self-Discovery Program is ideal for anyone working to empower youth and teens.

Lessons to Promote Resilience & Build Self-Esteem

  1. Why Self-Awareness Matters
  2. Looking at Myself from the Inside Out
  3. Owning, Accepting, and Managing Feelings
  4. Sharing Ourselves through Our Inside/Outside Boxes
  5. Negative Self-Talk: Thoughts That Undermine Our Self-Esteem
  6. Plus Stress, Minus Stress
  7. Don’t Take It Personally
  8. Fairly Comparing
  9. Media Awareness
  10. Put Ups: Affirmations of Others
  11. Practicing Self-Affirmations and Learning about Positive Self-Talk
  12. Helpful Not Hurtful Communication
  13. Resolving Conflict: Keeping Friends and Keeping Peace
  14. Our Contract with Ourselves, Each Other, and Our Community
  15. Relationship Matters: Activities to Promote Friendship & Prevent Bullying
    • Parent Letters & Guidelines for Parent Meetings
    • Ideas for Activities to Celebrate Community: Quilt-Making & Reunion Parties
    • Meeting with Faculty
    • Warning Signs for Eating Disorders and How You Can Help
    • Warning Signs for Depression and How You Can Help

“This book is a must for anyone involved in helping kids and teens develop the inner skills needed for taking on life’s challenges. Self-confidence doesn’t just happen. It needs to be nurtured and taught. This curriculum does just that.”
— Kerri Walsh, Three Time Olympic Gold Medalist

“This unique curriculum teaches the coping skills for self-regulation and the emotional awareness that children need to be resilient and effective as they navigate adolescence. It is an invaluable tool for health educators and others concerned with the mental health of this generation of students. With tools like Inside/Outside, schools could actually prevent the self-image issues, body image despair, and emotional distress that lead many girls to devastating eating disorders.”
— Margo Maine, PhD, FAED, psychologist & author of The Body Myth: The Pressure on Adult Women to Be Perfect (with Joe Kelly), Father Hunger: Fathers, Daughters and the Pursuit of Thinness , and Body Wars: Making Peace With Women’s Bodies

“This curriculum is an essential tool for anyone wanting to help build girls’ self-esteem and combat the media forces that endanger them. It offers practical and creative steps for developing the core skills necessary for empowerment. I highly recommend it.”
— Jean Kilbourne, author, So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids & Creator of the Killing Us Softly: Advertising’s Image of Women film series

“This is a well-thought-out set of lessons grounded in a variety of developmental theories. It presents material and offers opportunities to girls in ways that are creative, flexible, respectful, and sensitive to their internal lives and networks of relationships with family, friends, and peers.”
— Michael P. Levine, Ph.D., FAED Professor of Psychology, Kenyon College

“This insightful and highly effective tool will help young girls learn how to release themselves from the constant onslaught of self-deprecating behavior and thinking. It will give them an incredible sense of well-being that will spread into all other aspects of their lives.”
— Emme, Supermodel, TV personality, Chair Ambassador National Eating Disorders Association

“The Inside/Outside Self-Discovery program aims to make adolescence a better time for our girls and boys. It aims to keeps them healthy, teach them strength, and nurture their character—so they can follow their dreams and take on the world.”
— Miriam Peskowitz, co-author, The Daring Book for Girls