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Gene: Chill & Spill

“This book helped me see the connection between what I was doing, the choices I was making – and getting into trouble.”

13-year-old Gene was having a hard time. With an absent father and a mother who was only in his life now-and-then, Gene was left to live in poverty with his grandmother. Although he was a popular kid with a class-clown persona, he had a hard time managing his anger, which led to being kicked out of school several times.

Gene was given a copy of Chill & Spill while attending a therapeutic boys’ group. According to his caseworker, Gene was not the type of boy who was usually open to therapy. He was “too cool” for stuff like that. But Gene was willing to work with Chill & Spill and joined the group.

The group dynamic and the trusted counselor gave Gene the structure he craved. While working within the pages of the book, he found a creative outlet to express his mixed up feelings. He found that it gave him a quiet space to simply sit with his thoughts and figure them out.

Instead of his usual sarcastic comments, Gene began to develop a better way to cope with his problems and manage his emotions. Although he enjoyed all of the prompts in Chill & Spill, Gene found the activity, How I See Myself, How I Want to be Seen, and How Others See Me to be particularly helpful in helping him understand his behavior.

“This book helped me see the connection between what I was doing, the choices I was making – and getting into trouble.”

During the time that Gene worked with Chill & Spill, his behavior improved and his school suspensions decreased. His new-found strategies helped him be more successful and to pursue things he loved – like basketball. His therapist told us, “Chill & Spill helped Gene learned how to not let his behavior interfere with his dreams.”

NOTE: To protect the child’s identity\, the image does not necessarily match the story and names may or may not have been changed.