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Social and emotional learning (SEL), according to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), is “the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.” SEL focuses on five broad and interrelated areas of competence which, as explained by the American Psychological Association (APA), include:

  1. Self-awareness: Students learn to understand their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as how their own emotions, thoughts, and values influence behavior across context. 
  2. Self-management: Students learn to harness and regulate their own emotions, thoughts, and behaviors (through processes like stress and time management, motivation, and academic/ personal goal setting) effectively in different situations to achieve goals and aspirations. 
  3. Social awareness: Students learn to understand social behavioral norms, recognize other people’s emotions, and empathize with people of all different backgrounds and cultures.
  4. Relationship skills: Students learn to foster healthy relationships and communicate effectively with other individuals and in groups, through developing important skills like active listening, team building, and conflict resolution, all of which are essential both inside and outside of the classroom.
  5. Responsible decision-making: Students learn to make their own independent, constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on ethical standards, safety concerns, social norms, and potential consequences. 

SEL is an integral part of education and human development. Research shows that SEL improves academic achievement by approximately 11%, increases prosocial behaviors (e.g., kindness, sharing, empathy, etc.), improves student attitudes toward school, and reduces depression and stress among students. While social and emotional learning is a life-long process, learning these competencies in an educational setting helps teenagers build and develop emotional intelligence that promotes a solid foundation for mastering relationships, emotions, and all else needed to mature into resilient adults.

Further Information and Support

For most of us, life can be very stressful, leading us to feel emotionally charged, which can cause anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and getting stuck in a cycle of being burdened with negative thoughts. Navigating through the challenges and emotional turmoil of life can be overwhelming, but you do not have to go through it alone. Engage Treatment is a Joint Commission Accredited professional psychological practice. We specialize in treating children, teens, and young adults struggling with depression and anxiety through community-focused treatment plans that incorporate a carefully selected combination of therapeutic interventions. Our compassionate, multidisciplinary practitioners are devoted to providing the highest quality of care that helps ignite positive change and enables clients to reach optimal health and well-being. Please do not hesitate to reach out for guidance. We are happy to answer questions and provide you with any additional information. Feel free to call us at 805-497-0605 or email us at [email protected]. You are also welcomed to get in touch by filling out our contact form. We look forward to connecting and having the opportunity to discuss how we might best be able to support you.

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