Training Description & Topics


Social isolation, loneliness, and difficulty fitting into social settings and networks are everyday experiences in the lives of adolescents. Many adolescents have given up hope of having truly fulfilling sexual relationships when they are adults. 

This training offers professionals who work with adolescents ways to talk with them about sex and sexuality and help them develop and practice the skills necessary for developing into sexually healthy adults. It addresses topics rarely discussed in programs for adolescents: the boundaries of flirting on- and off-line; what informed consent for sex is and how it works; relevant knowledge of how the body works; appropriate language for communicating about sex. Adolescents’ understanding of what is and isn’t acceptable and legal is vitally important for their future success in sexual relationships. 

Participants will receive ideas, gain skills, and learn techniques based on Dialectical Behavior Therapy combined with multi-sensory approaches taken from recreational therapy that they will be able to incorporate immediately into their own practice. The training discusses how these skills can be used in both in- and outpatient treatment settings and how the skills can be useful to both therapists and paraprofessional staff members who help to provide treatment.

The presenters believe treatment needs to be practical and fun so that clients will retain the skills they learned after they have completed treatment. Therefore, the presenters teach participants what they have termed “wizard skills” to help them make their treatment interventions fun and useful.

Putting these pieces together, this training offers a strengths-based approach that directly targets the major areas of concern that adolescents in treatment can display—deficits in relationship and emotional regulation skills. Although the training will be lecture-based, it will also include opportunities for group discussion and reflection.

Topics to be discussed:
1) Sexuality’s place in child and adolescent development
2) Teaching and practicing appropriate sexual language 
3) Teaching and practicing boundaries
4) Talking about sex: pitfalls and best practices
5) Normalizing sex and sexuality instead of oversexualizing and pathologizing 
6) Relationship skills and building healthy relationships
7) How to put the material covered into practice