by LISA CAPOBIANCO
Learning mindfulness is just one of many goals that Southington native Chris Albini hopes local youth will take away from a group he is in the process of forming.
A licensed professional counselor currently working under The Enlightenment Counseling Center, Albini wants to provide additional support to youth of all ages by facilitating groups that focus on changing negative patterns of thoughts and behaviors while learning how to incorporate mindfulness into everyday life.
He hopes to have multiple groups beginning in August, and to continue running them during the school year. Open to Southington and other communities, each group will pair up children and teens of similar ages, including ages 6 through 10 and ages 12 to 16, so they can identify with each other, said Albini.
A school counselor by day for New Britain Public Schools, Albini has experience working with families and youth. He specializes in anxiety, depression, ADHD, and anger management.
“We only have these kids six hours in the school day. They go home, and sometimes the environment is not the most positive environment,” said Albini, who attended the Southington Public Schools. “I’m hoping that by spreading this awareness, it’s going to create change.”
Through these groups, Albini said youth will learn to focus on the present (mindfulness) and how their behaviors now will make an impact on their future while building self-esteem. They also will engage in role playing activities to change any negative thought process into a positive one.
“If I can start having them make positive decisions now, set goals for their future, then that’s something I think in the moment they may react differently,” said Albini, adding that peers working together in the groups can have a powerful impact on them.
During his undergraduate years at the University of Connecticut, Albini was uncertain what career he wanted to pursue. But after working with children who had severe cognitive and behavioral learning disabilities at Wheeler Clinic, Albini said he fell in love with the psychology field.
“I saw the lack of support they had at home, and how much of a difference that I was able to make,” said Albini.
For Albini, being a counselor is a job that he loves waking up to everyday, especially when families he has helped reaches out to say thank you.
“That’s what inspires me to do what I do—to know that you’re helping and making a positive difference in people’s lives,” said Albini, who helps clients and students incorporate mindfulness.
For more information, contact Albini at (860) 877-2250. Youth groups will take place at The Enlightenment Counseling Center, located at 660 Prospect Ave., 2nd floor, Hartford.