1st Edition

Adolescent Configuration Styles, Parenting and Psychotherapy A Relational Perspective

By Bronagh Starrs Copyright 2024
    178 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    178 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Mental health has become the principal concern as adolescents struggle with a host of issues such as anxiety, academic pressures, gender, substances, social media, complicated family compositions and a vulnerable planet. This book provides psychotherapists with a clear theoretical understanding and practical application for navigating the increasingly complex adolescent experience as young people adjust and respond to the present- day world.

    Starrs presents a contemporary understanding of adolescence, identifying three principal character styles and offering experience- near descriptions of the modernday adolescent. The author demonstrates how each configuration style in adolescence elicits a predictable response in parents and examines the challenges and dilemmas facing parents in today’s world, highlighting the patterns and pitfalls which often render parental interventions ineffective. Developmentally attuned parenting strategies are outlined, pertaining to each configuration style. The in depth analysis of adolescent process and parental response has implications for the therapeutic encounter. Intervention focuses both on one- to- one work with the adolescent and parental involvement. The complexity of working with adolescents and parents who demonstrate psychological entrenchment is also outlined.

    This highly readable, original and exceptional contribution is suitable for psychotherapists, allied professionals and parents alike.

    Part 1 - The Adolescent Chapter 1 The Impulsive Adolescent Chapter 2 Entrenched Impulsivity Chapter 3 The Inhibitive Adolescent Chapter 4 The Anxious Lifespace Chapter 5 The Directional Adolescent Part 2 - The Parent Chapter 6 Understanding Parents Chapter 7 Parenting the Impulsive Adolescent Chapter 8 Parenting the Inhibitive Adolescent Chapter 9 Parenting the Directional Adolescent Part 3 - Therapy Chapter 10 Therapy with the Impulsive Adolescent - Working with Parents Chapter 11 Therapy with the Impulsive Adolescent - One-to-one Work Chapter 12 Therapy with the Inhibitive Adolescent - Working with Parents Chapter 13 Therapy with the Inhibitive Adolescent - One-to-one Work Chapter 14 Therapy with the Directional Adolescent



    Bronagh Starrs is creator and programme director of the MSc Adolescent Psychotherapy programme at the Dublin Counselling & Therapy Centre (Dublin) in partnership with University of Northampton. She maintains a private practice in Omagh, Northern Ireland and is the author of Adolescent Psychotherapy: A Radical Relational Approach (2019).

    'Bronagh Starrs integrates psychological theory, developmental neuroscience, deep clinical wisdom and profound empathy into a highly readable guide that belongs in the hands of anyone who cares for teenagers and their parents. This book brings Starrs’ thinking to life through vivid case examples, a clear organisational structure and practical guidance on how to think about teenagers and the challenges they encounter as they move into adulthood. This book is a gift to anyone looking to deepen their understanding of adolescent development and improve their clinical skills with teenagers and their parents.'

    Lisa Damour, PhD, New York Times bestselling author of Untangled, Under Pressure, and The Emotional Lives of Teenagers

    'This book is a fantastic contribution to the field of adolescent psychotherapy. There are few who can match Starrs’ depth of phenomenological attunement and degree of therapeutic sensibility with adolescents. She illustrates a masterful approach to understanding and supporting adolescents, capturing concrete therapeutic moments in vivid detail. Her engaging warmth and extraordinary humanity are evident on every page. Adolescent psychotherapists, irrespective of their approach, will find insights and applications to enrich their practice. A must-read for therapists, parents and anyone involved in the lives of teenagers.'

    Richie Sadlier, bestselling author of Recovering and Let’s Talk

    'This is a wonderful book that delivers a highly informative and useful relational perspective on adolescent configuration styles, parenting and psychotherapy. From beginning to end the book oozes rich and meaningful therapeutic experience and reflection on the challenges and opportunities presented when faced with adolescents who are primarily impulsive, inhibitive or directional in their interactions with the world. Importantly, how these styles develop and manifest is understood in the context of parents’ own configuration styles, with constructive therapeutic solutions to dealing with specific adolescent/parent configurations explained in helpful detail. This is a must-read for anyone engaged in therapeutic work with adolescents, or in any other domain, and for parents, who often feel that they are in the dark when it comes to understanding their child’s behaviour, and often don’t see the role that they can play in how this manifests. This book helpfully shines much-needed light on these processes.'

    Dominic McSherry, PhD, Reader in Psychology, Ulster University and Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Child and Adolescent Trauma

    'At last, we have a book which offers a framework for understanding the chaos of the teenager’s psychological world, demonstrating to adults how to stay in contact with them. It should be read by therapists, parents and adolescents with similar fascination. Starrs’ approach is very organic and human; validating the adolescent’s subjective experience. She presents solutions which unfold naturally, in a flow of relational understanding. Her relational description of three configuration styles offers ground for therapy work. Parents reading this will understand why their good intentions don't bring expected results. Adolescents, themselves, might understand why they end up in negative loops of failure and resignation. Therapists and counsellors will find examples of gentle relational work, focused on emotional attunement as well as simple and straightforward concepts. Connecting feelings and behaviour with neurobiology of the brain, Starrs’ work is directed towards development and growth, not on the pathology of adolescence. A joy to read.'

    Irena Bezić, PhD, Co-founder of Centar IGW Zagreb Gestalt Institute, President of EAP (European Association for Psychotherapy)

    'The title of this book captures the process of becoming and being an adolescent and points to the movement involved – this is not a static stage of development. Bronagh captures the dynamic nature of adolescence with her exploration of adolescent configuration styles and parental responses, moving on to provide examples of therapy with parents and adolescents corresponding to the range of configurations. This is the descriptive part of my review of this insightful book, but there is more, Bronagh writes with great perception and wisdom and offers well-researched material including findings from neuroscience research to deepen the reader’s knowledge. My reading of this book took me on a journey through the adolescent minefield and I was enthralled by the examples – they relate so well to my own experience of young people, as a professional and a parent of four. The way the book is structured, with adolescent and parental configurations, leads well to the final part on therapeutics. This is essential reading for all who work therapeutically with adolescents.'

    Sue Pattison, PhD, Co-Editor, The Sage Handbook of Counselling Children and Young People