Working with violent, suicidal and self-destructive adolescents: a collaborative strengths-based family therapy approach

Tuesday – Friday, 24th – 27th March 2020

Matthew Selekman

Working with high-risk adolescents presenting with explosive and violent behaviours, gang involvement, heavy self-injury and substance abuse, chronic eating-distressed behaviours, multiple suicide attempts, severe DSM diagnoses, and with extensive treatment histories, can be a nightmare for even the most seasoned of individual and family therapists. To further complicate matters, their parents may be grappling with their own mental health or substance abuse impairment and/or serious relationship discord or intense post-divorce conflicts. Additionally, there may be concerned resource people from their social networks and involved highly pessimistic and frustrated representatives from larger systems who do not see eye-to-eye regarding problem formulation, the best level of care and treatment modalities to employ, and with treatment expectations and goals.

In this “hands-on” four-day intensive training, participants will learn how to draw from the best elements from family and individual therapy treatment outcome research and clinical evidence-based practice wisdom to collaboratively tailor-fit with adolescents and their families an individualized treatment approach that best meets their unique needs, preferences, expectations, and goals. By doing so, we can co-author with them compelling solution-determined outcome stories.

The four-day intensive training format will combine information-rich didactic information, extensive use of videotape examples of major therapeutic tools and strategies, skill-building exercises, and live family therapy consultations, which will include key resource people from families’ social networks and involved helping professionals from larger systems.


Matthew is in private practice in both Skokie and Lake Forest IL, USA. He is an Approved Supervisor and Clinical Fellow for the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, a licensed clinical social worker, and addictions counselor. He also is the Director of Partners for Collaborative Solutions (, an international family therapy and brief therapy training and consultation practice. Matthew received the Walter S. Rosenberry Award in 2006, 2000, and in 1999 from The Children’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado for having made significant contributions to the fields of psychiatry and the behavioral sciences. He is the author of eight professional practice-oriented books: Working with High-Risk Adolescents: An Individualized Family Therapy Approach, (with Mark Beyebach) Changing Self-Destructive Habits: Pathways to Solutions with Couples and Families, Collaborative Brief Therapy with Children, (with Giorgio Nardone) Gorging, Vomiting, and Self-Injuring: A Brief Therapy Approach, The Adolescent and Young Adult Self-Harming Treatment Manual: A Collaborative Strengths-Based Brief Therapy Approach, Working with Self-Harming Adolescents: A Collaborative Strengths-Based Therapy Approach, Pathways to Change: Brief Therapy with Difficult Adolescents (Second Edition), and (with Thomas Todd) Family Therapy Approaches with Adolescent Substance Abusers. He has presented workshops on his collaborative strengths-based family therapy approach with children, adolescents, and adults extensively throughout the England, United States, Canada, Mexico, South America, Europe, Turkey, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.

Cost: £500

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