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Strengths-Based Counseling With At-Risk Youth

Strengths-Based Counseling With At-Risk Youth

April 2006 | 144 pages | Corwin
`An eye-opening and heart-opening book.'

-Bonnie Benard, Senior Program Associate, WestEd

Identify and promote overlooked strengths to cultivate resilience.

Now more than ever, counselors, teachers, community youth workers, and parents are striving to prevent individual and school-wide tragedy before it happens. Critical to the success of their efforts is a deep respect for the adolescent experience. In this book, author and social worker Michael Ungar takes a fresh, hopeful approach to challenging youth by looking beyond the surface of "bad" behaviors to understand them as ways of coping with life's adversities.

Strengths-Based Counseling With At-Risk Youth provides the tools both to understand and access strengths buried beneath problem behaviors. It offers specific, effective strategies in working with adolescents to construct positive identities and realistic action plans. Features include

Six strategies for youth engagement, covering common problem behaviors such as drug use, violence, delinquency, and promiscuity

An entire chapter on bullying

An abundance of real-life examples and counseling narratives

A Resilient Youth Strengths Inventory to assess resilience and identify areas that need strengthening

Sincere application of Ungar's compassionate and open-minded strategies is sure to transform the lives of countless adolescents in need, and the institutions that serve them.

About the Author
Chapter 1. Surviving and Thriving
The Many Ways Youth Survive

Three Survival Strategies, Three Identities

Power and Self-Definition

Substitution as Intervention

Narrative Interventions

Powerful Alternatives

Chapter 2. Three Identities: Pandas, Chameleons, and Leopards
The Stuck Panda

The Uncertain Chameleon

The Demanding Leopard

Pegs and Holes

Chapter 3. Six Strategies for Nurturing Resilience
Overview of the Six Strategies

Paths to Resilience: Conventional and Unconventional

Strategy 1: Hear Their Truth

Chapter 4. From Truth to Action: Implementing Strategies Two Through Five
Strategy 2: Help Youth Look Critically at Their Behavior

Strategy 3: Create Opportunities That Fit With What Youth Say They Need

Strategy 4: Speak In Ways Youth Will Hear and Respect

Strategy 5: Find the Difference That Counts the Most

Chapter 5. The Many Expressions of Youth Resilience
Strategy 6: Substitute Rather Than Suppress

Substitutions for Drug Use

Substitutions for Other At-Risk Behaviors

The Many Expressions of Resilience

Chapter 6. A New Way to Look at Bullying
Bullying as Coping: Jake

Bullying and the Three Identities

Providing Opportunities for Adaptation

Substitutions for Bullies

Substitutions for Victims

Chapter 7. Assessing Resilience
The Resilient Youth Strengths Inventory

Evaluating Fairly

Chapter 8. Translating the Results of the Resilient Youth Strengths Inventory
Pandas Shoot

Chameleons Score

Leopards Win

Using Results to Inform Our Efforts

Conclusion: The Need for Change

“Offers concrete examples regarding questioning and building rapport that are very helpful to professionals and parents faced with (re)connecting and helping youth.”

William P. Evans, Professor and State Specialist for Youth Development
Human Development and Family Studies, University of Nevada, Reno

An eye-opening and heart-opening book."

Bonnie Benard, Senior Program Associate
WestEd, Oakland, CA

"A commonsense approach to working with teens. If you are new to the topic of resiliency, this is a good place to start."

PsycCRITIQUES, October 2006
American Psychological Association

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1

For instructors

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