Counseling Troubled Teens and Their Families: A Handbook for Pastors and Youthworkers


Teenagers and their families live in a society with epidemic levels of social problems that put adolescents at risk for emotional problems. Teens have special mental and emotional issues that need to be addressed by pastors and their colleagues in ministry. For this reason, clergy and caregivers need to know about the most common mental disorders that occur in adolescents, including how to assess and diagnose the disorders, what types of treatment can be initiated in the faith community, when referral is ...

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Teenagers and their families live in a society with epidemic levels of social problems that put adolescents at risk for emotional problems. Teens have special mental and emotional issues that need to be addressed by pastors and their colleagues in ministry. For this reason, clergy and caregivers need to know about the most common mental disorders that occur in adolescents, including how to assess and diagnose the disorders, what types of treatment can be initiated in the faith community, when referral is required, and to whom to make a referral.

This book identifies twenty-two of the most common mental health conditions that occur among adolescents, provides illustrative cases, lists national resources available to help, and suggests when and from whom to seek additional professional help. There is an emphasis on self-help resources available on the Internet, a major source of information for teens. The conditions addressed include: various types of addiction and abuse; family crises such as pregnancy, runaways, divorce, depression, and bereavement; and other disorders such as eating disorders, ADA, schizophrenia, and learning disabilities.

"Weaver and his colleagues have produced another winner for clergy: a casebook that covers most of the difficult situations in which pastors are called upon to be a first, and, sometimes primary, support and helper. Each case presentation is followed by critical issues to be aware of, relevant information, including community and national resources. Most pastors will be grateful for this book a number of times each year. Sections in the first chapter on the child's personality development and on effective parenting will be appreciated by most parents." --David K. Switzer, Emeritus Professor of Pastoral Care, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780687082360
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1999
  • Pages: 252
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Rev. Dr. Andrew Weaver is an ordained UM minister with 22 years' experience in ministry and a Clinical Psychologist. He is the associate publisher for Zion's Herald, a an independent religious journal of opinion, news, and reflection published by the Boston Wesleyan Association.

He has co-written or edited more than seven books published by Abingdon Press, including Reflections on Marriage and Spiritual Growth, Reflections on Forgiveness and Spiritual Growth, Reflections on Aging and Spiritual Growth, Counseling Troubled Older Adults, Counseling Troubled Teens and Their Families, and Counseling Families Across the Lifespan. Has worked extensively with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) survivors, a diagnosis that underlies this new book.

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Table of Contents

Preface 11
How to Use This Book 13
Pt. I Introduction
Religion, Clergy, and the Mental Health Care of Adolescents 17
Adolescent Development 27
Pt. II Case Studies
Case 1 Alcohol and Drugs 47
Case 2 Tobacco 59
Case 3 Gambling 67
Case 4 Abuse 73
Case 5 Incest 81
Case 6 Date Rape 89
Case 7 Violence and Post-Traumatic Stress 97
Family Crises
Case 8 Divorce 105
Case 9 Stepparenting 115
Case 10 Pregnancy 121
Case 11 Runaways 131
Case 12 AIDS/Sexually Transmitted Diseases 137
Case 13 Chronic Medical Problems 147
Grief and Depression
Case 14 Bereavement 155
Case 15 Depression 163
Case 16 Suicide 171
Other Disorders and Problems Facing Teens
Case 17 Eating Disorders 177
Case 18 Attention Deficit Disorder 185
Case 19 Conduct Disorder/Delinquency 193
Case 20 Anxiety Disorders 201
Case 21 Learning Disabilities 209
Case 22 Schizophrenia 217
Pt. III Collaboration with Mental Health Specialists: You Are Not Alone
Collaboration with Mental Health Specialists 227
Glossary of Terms 233
Summary and Conclusions 239
Index 241
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Interviews & Essays

From a Co-Author.
A practical casebook for those working with teens, Counseling Troubled Teens and Their Families is designed to be a text for those in training for pastoral ministry and youth work, as well as a practical resource casebook for women and men involved in ministry with teens and their families.The book addresses mental health issues commonly found among young people. Part 1 offers information about the important role clergy serve in the mental health care of families with teens. This section spells out the need for special expertise for pastors and youth workers to recognize and address many of the problems teenagers and their families face. We also summarize the scientific evidence that non-punitive, nurturing religious beliefs and practices serve both preventive and healing functions for teens and their families. Lastly, the section reviews some of the normal developmental issues teens and their families can expect to encounter as well as barriers to normal emotional development.

Part 2 is the heart of the book and is presented in a case study format using real life situations while highlighting practical implications for pastoral care. They reflect the current research on issues relevant to teens and their families. The case studies are multidisciplinary in approach, integrating clinical knowledge in pastoral care, psychology, medicine, psychiatry, family therapy, nursing, and social work along with current scientific findings on the role of religion in mental health care.The book recognizes that the difficulties that troubled teens and their families face do not stand in isolation from one another but are interrelated. For example, the case studyon alcohol and drugs will also refer you to those on depression, suicide risk, violence and delinquency. The book is designed so the reader can quickly and easily locate information about mental health issues for which young people and their families seek counsel. It is a practical, easy-to-use guide on how to assess problems and what to do about them.The table of contents provides the subject matter of 22 cases that exemplify common mental health issue experienced by teens and their families. Each case provides an example of a teenager with a specific problem who is in need of help.

Included in each chapter is the information about how a pastor or youth worker would assess the problem, what aspects of the case are most important, how to identify the major issues, specific directions about what the pastor and congregation can do, when to refer for professional assistance, and specific information about local and national resources that can provide help. National self-help organizations (often with toll-free numbers and internet addresses) that provide information and support for teens and their families facing mental and emotional problems are identified for each issue addressed. Cross-cultural issues are identified and discussed as well. If there are words or terms that are unfamiliar to the reader, technical terms are defined in the glossary.The text is written for people of all faiths, with an appreciation for the richness of multicultural diversity in religious community. The authors are people of faith with specialties in mental health. Dr. Weaver is a clinical psychologist, licensed marriage and family therapist, and ordained United Methodist minister who has served rural and urban parishes. Dr. Preston is a professor in clinical psychology and layman in the United Methodist Church. Dr. Jerome is a clinical psychologist, specializing in working with teenage girls and their families, who is interested in the intersection of religion and mental health.
— Andrew Weaver, Ph.D. (, a Co-Author

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2001

    A must for those with troubled teens

    Whether you're a clergy person or a family that has a troubled teen, you'll want to buy and carefully study this book. Anyone with teenagers will quickly relate to the cases provided in this book. This book is brilliantly written to provide both information and inspiration for families who are wanting to prepare for the upcoming teen years or who already have teenagers whom they want to ensure stay on the right path. I recommend this book without reservation -- you will too.

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