Integrating involves a maturity process in which various aspects and relationships are differentiated and optimized to the extent that they are, in turn, set in relation to each other. Integration is not therefore a state or characteristic that can be achieved. Integration is not something that just happens, but rather makes things happen. Integration is not the destination, but rather a path to growth.
Emotional education (EE) is a growing topic in educational centers. Although schools are not required to consider it directly, it is not uncommon to find educational centers that have committed to developing activities focused on this topic within the curricular schedule.
Such programs usually aim to promote students’ wellbeing and self-esteem. They certainly seem positive in a society with a lot of hidden pain, but are they appropriate for EE? In addition, many programs use emotional regulation as the intervention model to achieve the goals of EE, that is, a model that aims to bring emotions to a particular state, promoting some and reducing others. This approach is based on an understanding of emotions as causes, i.e., emotions cause ease or discomfort. But is this regulatory model right for adolescent development? Is it appropriate to characterize emotions as causes?
At the UpToYou program, we have thought about it and we believe that the best context for understanding EE is found in personal development, which leads us to an alternative position than the one elaborated above.
We should not forget that adolescents’ EE has historically arisen from the discovery of the consequences of its absence, especially in conjunction with problems such as alcoholism, drug addiction, premature sex, impulsive disorders, school failure, social conflict, etc. The urgency of this kind of situation initially led EE practitioners to emphasize emotional regulation. Subsequently, they have added new objectives, such as wellbeing and awakening positive feelings. However, UpToYou rethinks this paradigm since an educational intervention should not focus on resolving immediate problems, but rather should aim at personal development.
We clearly believe that our approach is both effective and, ultimately, resolves undesirable situations.
All this leads us to reformulate our understanding of integration. At UpToYou, integration is not a state to be achieved, but rather a way to grow. There is nothing beyond the relationship between people, the world, and within each person. Integration is therefore the improvement of relationships, which leads to greater identification between the parts.