Adolescents are rarely seen in a positive light and regularly find themselves at the receiving end of the ‘monster’ epithet. But these young people are not soulless savages, they are survivors of adverse childhood experiences; their ‘monstrous’ behaviour is the means by which they manage early terrors and conceal the shamed and hurt aspect of their self. They are children who learned that love only brings pain and intimacy goes hand in hand with abuse. They are emotional orphans who grew up expecting the worst from others, and sadly many of us exceed their expectations. In order for us, as adults, to help them achieve their full potential for growth and happiness, we need to dare to look into the abyss and venture into the lair of this ‘monster’, the inner den of the so-called ‘feral’ youth, befriend his raw energy and find the beauty within the beast.
On this training day David Taransaud will take delegates on an exciting voyage into the uncharted inner landscape of the emotionally wounded teen. He will explore how to connect and communicate with hard to reach adolescents, and how youth culture, particularly the myth of the superhero, can give us an insight into their inner world. But most importantly, he will explore how sometimes our greatest challenges do not hide beneath baseball caps or hooded tops but lurk deep within ourselves, and that the best place to deal with an aggressive teenager is not in the classroom or in the dust of the playground, but in our own mind (Bernstein, 2001). For it is only by reclaiming all that is deep within us, and by extending our compassion to the estranged parts of ourselves that we’ll be able to fully open our hearts to those who have been wounded so deeply and so painfully.
A range of themes will be explored, including:
How pop culture can help us access, navigate and negotiate the complex inner world of challenging adolescents
How to understand and work with non-verbal communication
Strategies to bypass the protective walls young people have built around their shame and hurt
How to be vulnerable enough to invite a meaningful relationship, and simultaneously, robust enough to withstand attacks and survive intense feelings
An understanding of how our hidden fears, unhealed wounds and unmet needs can negatively impact upon our interventions with young people
How to give a voice to the teenager’s unspoken hurt and help him/her re-author their painful life experiences into a new narrative that is no longer about shame and hurt, but about survival, hope, and triumph
UKCP Reg. Psychotherapeutic Counsellor for adolescents. Has over 15 years experience working with challenging youth in the most deprived boroughs in London. Frequently presents workshops across the UK and abroad on how to connect, empathise and form a genuine working alliance with troubled and troubling young people. Works as a foreign consultant in Karachi, Pakistan. Independently set up an Art Therapy service in north Uganda in an orphanage for former child soldiers and young people affected by conflict and trauma. His travel journal is available on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AmdJNE2XLA
Author of several books on working with traumatised teenagers: You Think I’m Evil: Practical strategies for working with aggressive and rebellious adolescents (2011). I, Monster: Positive ways of working with challenging teens through understanding the adolescent within us (2016). The Rage for Life (2017): A psycho-educational resource for professionals working with young people who have experienced abuse or witnessed domestic violence.
An interview with David Taransaud in The Guardian (October 2016): More information