In 2008 I completed a workshop run by Peter Slattery and I found that his ideas on approaching youths, and talking to them about their problems really hit home to me as an ideal approach in counselling youth, it allows them to be themselves and to be at ease with the person they are talking with.
Peter Slattery has worked with young people, with their families and with communities for over 25 years now. And this is what he still does. These days he works freelance and gets to do things across Australia and various other parts of the world. His aim is to keep on trying to find creative ways of helping people look at what concerns them in their lives, their dreams and their fears.
If we are working with young people who, for whatever reasons, have been through systems like school, or health or welfare, and have not flourished or have not found a place or warmth; then we need to do something which is not evocative of those systems, something which does not evoke the same unhelpful or destructive responses. And yet it remains true that… working with young people means catching their attention, firing their imaginations; doing something so they will connect with what is happening and may just want to continue, to listen, to become involved.
This has to happen so that anything can follow. Lots of things are important but important doesn’t equal interesting. Young people must feel that the topic or issue AND how it is being dealt with is of interest to them and personal meaning for them.
And some young people are not great at talking and some will be imperfect at reading and writing, so we also need to do things which do not rely only on these skills. Some young people may be (or seem to be), apathetic, sad, uncertain, angry or the ever attractive defiant and/or rude. And lots of young people tend to be pretty active too…so with all this in mind, these notes will take a wee look at what might be useful in connecting, and continuing to connect with a young people. That is, engagement, finding ways of catching a person’s attention and firing their imaginations so together we can explore their lives, what matters to them, what scares or excites them, and hopefully how they can stay safe, be happy and healthy.
Peter’s Web Site: www.peterslattery.com