Responding to adolescents
Helping relationship skills for youth workers, mentors and other advisers
By Angela M. Taylor

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How can you provide effective support to young people aged between twelve and nineteen years by initiating, developing - and ending - one-to-one helping relationships with them? Based on knowledge and experience gained from practice and research in the fields of psychology and counselling, this book is for youth workers, mentors, sports coaches, personal advisers, scout or guide leaders, project organisers, social workers, education welfare officers, school personal tutors, youth offending team workers as well as students and other concerned adults.

Of course, no-one can gain the expertise to deal with the whole range of issues and challenges that adolescents face, and some particularly sensitive and entrenched problem areas are described here, where young people should always be referred to qualified professionals for support. But this book shows how you can help many adolescents you meet by:
  • providing the experience of a positive relationship in which they feel respected, can maintain their independence and be encouraged to communicate
  • Being a positive role model, and encouraging feelings of self-worth
  • Demonstrating that however dreadful a problem may appear, you will not be overwhelmed
  • Providing information and making appropriate referrals where necessary
  • Giving support by combining inter-personal skills and basic counselling skills with practical advice.

  • Responding to adolescents focuses on the relationships, issues and problem areas of personal development that are of most concern to adolescents. It provides background information and suggests ways of responding both to crises and to ongoing challenges and difficulties.

    Workers will also find here:
  • full discussion of the safeguards needed for ethical practice, for the protection of both the adolescent and the youth worker
  • summaries of up-to-date research that put problem areas into context
  • ideas for helping you to contain anxiety at the time of crisis
  • alerts to common pitfalls.

    Paperback. 160 pages. 978-1-903855-28-7. Published 2003. £14.95.


    Angela Taylor
    has researched and done work with adolescents from diverse backgrounds over many years, as voluntary youth worker, youth court magistrate, professional psychologist, counsellor and lecturer.


    Relationship Skills

    The value and aims of the helpful relationship
    Responsible working practice: supervision, record-keeping, confidentiality, ethical issues and boundaries
    Inter-personal skills: key qualities, prejudices and communication skills
    Adolescents' Relationships
    Respecting parents
    Changing family relationships: separation, divorce and remarriage
    Cultural identities
    Peer relationships: positive development and negative influences
    Recognising and Responding to Adolescents' Concerns
    Drugs and alcohol: users and abusers
    In trouble: criminal offending
    Sexuality and sexual relationships
    Teenage pregnancy, teenage mothers and teenage fathers
    Overwhelming emotions: stress, depression, suicidal thoughts and eating disorders
    Death, bereavement and other loss
    Leaving home
    Referring and Ending
    Referrals and endings
    A final word


    "Provides practical suggestions for youth workers and other professionals in developing one-to-one helping relationships with young people aged between 12 and 19. It focuses on the relationships, issues and problem areas of personal development and discusses safeguards needed for ethnical practice." Young People Now

    "If you have never worked with adolescents before then this book may well become for you a kind of 'youth work bible'…this book will become a classic introductory text book for mentors and youth workers in training." YoungMinds Magazine

    "Jam-packed with information, theories, insights and possible scenarios and how to deal with them… a useful, practical guide, a book which should be dipped into at regular intervals, and in particular when feeling unsure on how to deal with a certain issue which lay have developed… a detailed account of major issues that may impact upon the lives of adolescents; it offers insights and practical solutions in many areas… Youth workers need to develop their own working practices through experience, training and education. Taylor's book is one tool that many will find useful in that learning process." Youth and Policy.

    "Aimed at a wide range of staff, almost anyone for whom relationship skills are crucial for their work with teenagers. The first section provides guidance on what constitutes responsible working practice, covering confidentiality issues, overcoming prejudices and assumptions, and key interpersonal skills. The second section deals with key issues which impact on adolescents' relationships… The third section focuses on major problem areas… The last section concerns referrals to other professionals, and issues involved in ending a relationship… includes short case studies, illustrative examples, and many checklists… remarkably comprehensive and easy to use." Care & Health.

    "Deserves to be read more widely by those in the outdoor field. In essence Taylor works to demystify our relationships with young people, particularly our counselling and supportive relationships… on reading this book I was constantly taken by examples that I would recognise as behaviour exhibited by my own students and children which had baffled or even infuriated me… Taylor's book also discusses the professional and personal strategies that we all need in our everyday working lives when working in a close environment with young people. Like it or not we all act as role models for young people and on many occasions this spills over into us acting as mentor, counsellor and father/mother figures. It is precisely this complex and difficult relationship that 'Responding to Adolescents' explores, explains and helps with." Horizons.

    "There are good books, there are helpful books, there are great books, then there are books that you would not be without. This publication is the latter - a must for youth workers….it is practical, maintains a good theory base and has succinct helpful case studies and exercises. The book is obviously well researched, up to date and can only improve your practice… It's a reference book, a training guide, a theory book and practice guide, all rolled into one… very well resourced indeed for working one to one with young people." Youthwork.

    "Well laid out with case examples, other useful information sources… easy to read, interesting and informative in style, well referenced with an eye for the detail of interactions that will make it very useful for the appropriate reader… it comprehensively and sensitively covers the relevant areas of work. It emphasises values, responsible practice, beginnings and endings, and the active discouragement of dependency." Rostrum.

    "Calls for a new breed of staff to work with adolescents and criticisms of the green paper, Every Child Matters, for its lack of focus on older children make Taylor's well structured, practical book welcome. The book's knowledge base is psychology and counselling. It does not aim at the clinic or the couch but at staff and mentors who work with young people in cafes and clubs, showing how to arrest problems through early intervention… Case studies give sound advice and readers are guided to sources for further help." Community Care.