This site is designed for teenagers to use on their own, or in collaboration with an adult. This could be a teacher, learning mentor or educational psychologist. The underlying theory is cognitive behavioural.
The site also aims to help teenagers cope with stressful situations, by moving them from emotional focused coping strategies, to problem solving strategies (ref).
Motivation to change behaviours, and attitudes is central to this process. The site offers choices, rather than opinions, or certainty about what is “right”. This may suggest the site is for older teenagers, aged 15 upwards. However for many younger disaffected teenagers this approach may suit some, though not all of this age group.
The site is not designed for those with significant generalised learning difficulties, but for those with specific learning difficulties, the material may be appropriate.
In circumstances where a professional uses the site with a teenager, the usual practices should be followed. Information may need to be gathered in the initial assessment from educational psychology, school attainment records, attendance rates, and other assessments (such as mental health, social services and paediatric health). Child protection procedures should be followed as well, as well as good practice guidance regarding confidentiality and parental involvement.
The site allows information to be gathered over time, allowing a profile of problems and strengths to be constructed at various time points. This allows progress, (or not) over time to be shown. This self-assessment underpins the cognitive behavioural and coping work that may be suggested. Hopefully the drive for this may come from the teenager who has “taken stock” of their situation. Developing a collaborative approach with the teenager is an essential part of any planned work. The site may be the first step in developing participation and motivation.
The interactive stories may help develop motivation and awareness of how thoughts and feelings can determine the outcome of common situations that teenagers have to frequently deal with. Often teenagers and adults can deal better with problems observed. Many people are good listeners, and good at solving other people’s problems, but struggle with their own problems. They are often in “problem solving mode” when observing other people’s problems (including friends) and in emotion focused mode, when dealing with themselves. Examples of emotion-focused mode are such things as anger outbursts, denial, avoidance, indecisions, emotional reactions and so on. A caveat is that emotion focused coping is not always necessarily “wrong” or maladaptive, it may be very appropriate in some circumstances. For instance normal bereavement, or dealing with success in exams.
The “Retracking” downloads are part of a more comprehensive package. The author is Jenny Bates, an educational psychologist. Schools, and some other services have used the package. It is well liked by teenagers, and professionals working with them. If you wish to buy the full package, the address is at the bottom of the page
The other downloads are drawn from a wide variety of sources, and are essentially cognitive behaviour self-help advice manuals. They have been written by the authors of the site, except where stated otherwise in the manuals.