Working with Adolescents: A Guide for Practitioners

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A State-of-the-art Practitioner Resource and Course Text, this Book Provides a comprehensive view of adolescent development and spells out effective ways to help teens who are having difficulties. The authors illuminate protective and risk factors in the many contexts of adolescents' lives, from individual attributes to family, school, neighborhood, and media influences. An ecological perspective is applied to understanding and addressing specific adolescent challenges, including substance abuse, sexual identity issues, mental health problems, risky sexual behavior, and delinquency. Throughout the text, clear-cut assessment and intervention strategies are illustrated with rich case examples.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This fine book uses a sophisticated systems framework to weave the many issues associated with working with adolescents into an intricate tapestry. It has special features that set it above the rest: it examines theorists and strands of development; integrates gender, cultural, and peer influences; considers both protective and risk factors; and places suggestions about practice in an ecological context. Realistic cases provide effective illustrations. The book is well written and makes effective use of summaries and tables. It concludes with an inspiring section devoted to the true joys of working with adolescents. Highly recommended!"--Steven R. Rose, PhD, College of Health & Human Services, George Mason University 

"Laser and Nicotera's ecological perspective goes above and beyond the risk and protective factors that are typically discussed in books on working with teenagers. In great detail, they provide an approach that addresses family relationships, neighborhood influences, mental health issues, and school crises. Designed for the practitioner, the book provides the tools necessary to be successful in helping struggling adolescents. Case studies and reflection questions allow readers to gain an understanding of effective practice and to consider how to apply these strategies in their own work. This text would work well in our graduate-level course on clinical and diagnostic skills."--Kelly McGraw, PhD, School Psychology Program, Chicago School of Professional Psychology

"Clinical models for working with children and adolescents seldom pay enough attention to research on normative development, which can help clinicians understand what to expect and what to aim for. Laser and Nicotera have bridged this gap by thoroughly examining adolescent development and its implications for clinical practice. This is an exceptional text for seasoned providers looking for fresh knowledge and new ideas, as well as clinicians-in-training."--Guy S. Diamond, PhD, Director, Center for Family Intervention Science, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
"This comprehensive text discusses adolescent development through a multisystemic, ecological perspective that addresses the many contexts in which adolescents live. It contains thought-provoking discussions of risk and protective factors, with attention to diversity issues throughout. Solutions to complex problems are illustrated in numerous case examples. This is an excellent text for master’s-level courses, including human behavior, practice classes focused on families or adolescents, school social work, and field practica. Questions for self-reflective practice make this book a great resource for beginning practitioners."--Linda Openshaw, DSW, LCSW, Director, Master of Social Work Program, Texas A&M University-Commerce

School Social Work Journal

"Does a wonderful job of providing overviews of its chapters, case examples, and reflective questions for practitioners to answer at the end of each chapter. It is relevant to those who are working as clinicians in private practice, school social workers, and those working with adolescents in general....This book is an important addition to the library of all social workers who work with adolescents. It takes a refreshing look at these youths at multisystem levels. Social workers can use this book as a reference, as a guide to providing clinical assessments as well as family and individual therapy when working in the school setting. The book does an excellent job in offering opportunities for practitioners to expand their clinical skills and to learn up-to-date approaches that address current issues that adolescents are facing."--School Social Work Journal
Clinical Social Work Journal

One of its strengths is its ecological approach to working with adolescents and its consideration of the wide array of forces at play in an adolescent's life including issues of diversity and gender. It provides current research and theory on adolescent development that can guide both assessment and interventions with youth and their families….It is a terrific introductory textbook which would be a good addition to any student's library….This book can serve as an effective reference book, providing a strong ecological overview of important issues of clinical work with adolescents and offering sources from which to gain more information. The book is a solid starting point from which a beginning practitioner can seek out more depth for their work with adolescent clients and their families.”--Clinical Social Work Journal
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Julie Anne Laser, PhD, MSW, LCSW, is Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver, where she coordinates the high-risk youth track of the MSW curriculum as well as teaches in the clinical and research series. Dr. Laser’s research focus is on adolescent resiliency, particularly the relevance of specific ecological and internal protective and risk factors by culture and gender. She recently completed large studies of resilience in Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Senegalese youth and homeless teens in the United States. Projects are under way to evaluate resilience in Latin American youth. Dr. Laser has more than 20 years of clinical social work experience and has worked in Mexico, Switzerland, Japan, and China, as well as a variety of urban and rural settings in the United States. She is particularly interested in school social work.
Nicole Nicotera, PhD, MSW, LICSW, is Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver, where she teaches clinical practice theories and skills and a doctoral research course in qualitative analysis. Dr. Nicotera’s research and scholarship focus on measuring civic development in children, interventions to enhance civic leadership and positive youth development, the influences of neighborhood collective socialization and social cohesion on young people, and issues of unearned privilege and oppression in social work practice, education, and research. Her recent research with young people in public housing neighborhoods examines civic engagement and the capacity of youth to act as agents of neighborhood change. As a clinical social worker, Dr. Nicotera worked with children, youth, and families in a community mental health center, where she used art, play, and sand-tray therapies, as well as other intervention modalities. She also has extensive school social work experience with seriously emotionally and behaviorally challenged children.

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Table of Contents

Part I Theoretical Framework

Chapter 1 Challenges in Clinical Work with Adolescents: An Overview 3

Chapter 2 The Push-Pull of Adolescent Development 14

Chapter 3 Resilience in Adolescence 36

Part II The Adolescent in Context

Chapter 4 Internal Assets and Individual Attributes Associated with Healthy Adolescent Outcomes Tom Luster 51

Chapter 5 The Family Environment Douglas Davies 71

Chapter 6 The School Environment 94

Chapter 7 The Neighborhood Environment 113

Chapter 8 Media Influences 128

Chapter 9 Assessment and Intervention at Each Ecological Level: A Case Illustration Julie Anne Laser Nicole Nicotera Tom Luster Douglas Davies 146

Part III Clinical Interventions for Problematic Adolescent Behavior

Chapter 10 Substance Abuse Julie Anne Laser George Stuart Leibowitz Nicole Nicotera 163

Chapter 11 Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Development 180

Chapter 12 Mental Health Issues: Depressive Symptoms, Personality Disorders, Suicidal Behavior, and Self-Injurious Behavior 200

Chapter 13 Sexual Behaviors, Sexually Transmitted Diseases Including HIV/AIDS, and Pregnancy Julie Anne Laser Shannon Sainer Nicole Nicotera 219

Chapter 14 Delinquency Julie Anne Laser George Stuart Leibowitz Nicole Nicotera 236

Chapter 15 The Joys of Working with Adolescents 250

References 263

Index 297

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