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Interventions and prevention strategies for counseling adolescents. (Introduction To Special Issue: Counseling Adolescents).

Intervention and prevention strategies for counseling children and adolescents is one of the most promising areas of mental health counseling one can envision. Although certainly not comprehensive, this special edition provides a contextual overview of at least six key areas of youth's lives: (a) preventing adolescent stress, (b) treating child and adolescent ADHD, (c) reducing adolescent depression, (d) responding to adolescents' troubled behaviors, (e) writing therapeutic letters to adolescent clients, and (f) using cultural sensitivity in counseling children. This special edition takes an in-depth look at both intervention and prevention counseling. Intervention strategies can reduce pain and conflict in adolescents at the time of crisis by using evidence-based therapies, utilizing theory-driven techniques, and designing developmentally appropriate counseling methodologies. Prevention strategies can reduce the need for intensive counseling interventions altogether when mental health counselors team with other professionals to work with the youth populations at risk, when we adopt a proactive stance to treating children and adolescents, and when we look for the relative contributions of environmental, organic, medical, and psychopathological etiologies to problem behavior (Albee & Gullotta, 1997; Bloom, 1996).

Strategies for counseling children and adolescents are vitally important to mental health counselors because children and adolescents often experience or engage in behaviors or environments that place them at risk. Although only a few areas could be covered in this special edition, at least ten urgent concerns touch the lives of children and adolescents today: depression and suicide; sexual and physical abuse; drug and substance abuse; violence and juvenile delinquency; teen pregnancies; HIV and STDs; dropout, school failure, and underachievement; at-risk profiles (including poverty, diversity, gender, and sexual orientation); eating disorders; Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); and loss and trauma including divorce, death, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), immigrant families, and homelessness. We hope to make the point in this special edition that to adequately address these areas of concern in youngsters' lives, we must move from the delivery of individual and intervention counseling to the delivery of group or population and prevention counseling. To assist youngsters in their concerns, we must approach their problem behaviors not only from developmental and environmental perspectives, but also from organic, medical, and mental health perspectives. Finally, to create changes in behavior and promote wellness in the lives of youth, we must understand stress as an integral component of children and adolescents' concerns.

This issue of the Journal of Mental Health Counseling is exciting and useful not only because the topic is timely and of urgent import, but also because the contributing authors are competent clinicians as well as informed scholars in their area of expertise. Consistent with the mission of the Journal of Mental Health Counseling, authors' contributions touch on all aspects of practice, theory, research, and professionalism related to work with youth. So, we trust that you not only will enjoy these articles but also they will bolster your desire to intervene and prevent troubled behavior so that youngsters can live more rewarding lives and can embrace their futures with hope.


Albee, G. W., & Gullotta, T. P. (1997). Primary prevention works. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Bloom, M. (1996). Primary prevention practices. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
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Article Details
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Author:Hall, Alex S.
Publication:Journal of Mental Health Counseling
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2002
Previous Article:Suggestions for improving the delivery of therapeutic staff support in the public schools. (Professional Exchange).
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