People In My Life

 

Background
Many of the young people you work with will experience considerable difficulties in understanding, forming and sustaining relationships. This may be because of experiences during their childhoods when they were unable to form secure attachments to their main care givers. They may have experienced parental relationships that have been of a poor or abusive quality.

The purpose of these sessions is to enable the young person to value the positive relationships they have and to ensure that they look after them. It also enables young people to develop the skills and confidence to develop new relationships.

Its objective is to ensure that young people have access to continuous, positive relationships particularly with adults.

Specific outputs should include:

Young people will be aware of their current network of relationships.

They will have assessed the value of these relationships.

They will have a plan to sustain and improve these relationships.

They will have identified gaps in their network of relationships and have a plan to fill this gap.

Note:

This programme addresses all the relationships, positive and negative, that the young person may have. Include in your discussions:

Close family or carers;

Extended family;

Close friends;

Not so close friends;

Neighbours;

Youth workers, sports coaches etc.

Teachers, social workers, police officers etc.

Be especially sensitive to those young people who are separated from their parents or have suffered bereavements. When working on this module you should also be mindful that young people may have been hurt by family members and they may also have hurt others close to them by their behaviours. Remember that sometimes young people will have to face their shame in order to move on. Your job is to enable them to do this without further shaming them.

Protective Factors

Each of these modules is integrated by a common theoretical and practice model. The aim is to enable young people to become more resourceful.

These modules are designed to enable young people to develop factors in their lives which both protect them from the risk factors associated with their behaviour and address criminogenic needs which are preventing them from having a safe and happy life.

The Protective Factor model

Relationships which support a pro-social lifestyle.

Expectations by significant adults of the young person’s positive future potential.

Skills to develop relationships, meet expectations and take advantage of opportunities.

Opportunities to meet individual needs and to make a contribution to community life.

Understanding of oneself, one’s behaviour and one’s environment.

Responsibility for choices, action and consequences.

Commitments which enable the young person to live consistently to values and rules.

Evaluation of action and its results so that the young person is continuously learning.

Success in achieving goals creating self confidence and self worth.

Relationships

This module is based upon the assumption that the young person’s relationships are their most important resource to their future well being and their ability to stay out of trouble. This module encourages young people to value relationships particularly with adults.

Expectations

Positive relationships with adults tend to engender high expectations of the young person’s behaviour and future.

Skills

The module assumes that in part the young person’s difficulties originate in not having the opportunity to develop inter-personal skills.

Opportunities

Relationships open up opportunities and provide support to young people to take opportunities.

Understanding

The module develops self awareness and understanding of positive relationships.

Responsibility

Sustaining relationships requires a sense of responsibility to others’ interests and needs.

Commitment

This module enables the young person to develop empathy for others before they act.

Evaluation

Young people’s self-centredness often prevents them from evaluating the effect of their behaviour on others and learning from their mistakes.

Success

This module offers the young person the opportunity to experience successful learning and behaviour change. The worker should be aware that for many young people success is measured in small steps and not in giant leaps. The style of delivery should be positive, appreciative of the young person’s difficulties and reinforcing of progress.

The length of time devoted to each session will vary from individual to individual. However, they should be approached as substantial sessions which might take at least an hour. They should not be rushed as it is important to gauge the individual’s pace as you develop the relationship.

Materials:

Flipchart and markers

Pens and paper

Videos of soaps etc that illustrate positive and negative aspects of relationships.

Session 1

Exercise 1 – Who is important to you?

You want the young person to talk about the important relationships in his or her life in a safe and open way. Listen and probe rather than judge or condemn.

Process:

Ask the young person what they understand by the word – relationship.

(For the purposes of this exercise – relationships are the way you get on with the people in your life.)

Check out – what types of relationships there are e.g.:

Friends

Girl friends/ boy friends

Sexual

Parents

Siblings

Carers

Relatives

Neighbours

Teachers

Counsellors

Which people does the young person have relationships with? List as many as possible:

Family, boy/girlfriends, neighbours, friends, teachers, youth workers, social workers, police, shop-keepers, football team and coach?

In a series of concentric position place those most important to the young person in the centre and towards the outside as they decrease in importance (see below)

Examples

 

Invite the young person to talk about each of them. What are they like? How does he or she get on with them? What does s/he like/dislike about them? What do they do together? How often do they see each other?

Output:

The young person will be aware of his or her network of relationships.

Session 2

What makes a good relationship?

Purpose:

To enable the young person to evaluate their network of relationships.

Process:

Looking at the circles exercise completed in the last session, ask the young person – what is your best relationship? What makes it good?

Then generalise – what makes a good relationship generally? What makes a poor relationship?

Encourage as many qualities as possible.

Good

Suggestions (only use as prompts if the young person is struggling)

– good fun, sense of humour, honest, generous, caring, supportive, trustworthy, lends you money, loyal, you can talk easily with, backs you up, respect, brings out the best in you etc.

Ask which qualities s/he would say are the most important?

Poor

Suggestions (only use as prompts if the young person is struggling)

– if it is one sided, if you don’t see the person as often as you’d like to, dishonesty, over critical, bullying

Check out – Do you have different relationships for different purposes?

e.g. Friends for having fun

Mum for looking after you

A youth worker you can talk to

Can you match a relationship to the qualities you think are most important?

Check out – Who do you talk to or go to for help when you have a problem or are worried about something?

Ask – Are there any qualities that are necessary for all these important relationships?

You are looking for the qualities of trust and reciprocity (give and take, backing you up, looking after you).

 

If this does not come up, open a discussion about trust.

‘What sort of relationship with someone would it be if you did not trust him or her?’

‘Has any one ever let you down? Done something they should not have done or not done something you were relying on them to do?’

Develop the theme that every relationship needs trust – what about at home? With friends? Boy/girlfriend? Social worker? Me? Why is it so important? Can a relationship survive distrust?

Now talk about the mutual obligations you have in relationships. If your friend asks you do a favour, you are happy to do it as you assume s/he would do it for you. It’s like credit in the bank; you can draw on it when you need it. Being good to people is an investment, though you probably do not do it at the time with a view to being paid back. Ask for examples in the young person’s important relationships.

What would you do if you were in a relationship where you were giving all the time and getting nothing in return?

Now assess each of the important relationships on the basis of trust and give and take. Once that is done what does the young person need to do to make them better or to value them?

Recap and homework:

Ask the young person to summarise what they have learnt in this session. If they have forgotten significant parts, remind them.

The homework is to think about how they would like to improve three relationships. They could be a member of their family, a friend and a professional who could support them e.g. a teacher.

See form below.

Improving Your Relationships form
Session 3

The Importance of Being Trustworthy

Purpose:

To demonstrate the importance of being trustworthy.

Process:

Review the homework. Discuss what the young person needs to do rather than what others need to do first. Connect this as much as possible to the valuing of participating in this module.

Now approach the value of trust and trustworthiness.

Your happiness and well-being depend to a large extent on how many people you can trust and can trust you. At home, with friends, at school, in the community, in a job, in a close romantic relationship you need to trust and be trusted. The more important a relationship is i.e. the more you need and expect from a relationship, the more you need to trust and the harder it is to do it because so much can go wrong.

What sort of things weaken trust?

What sort of things have people done to you that have affected your trust in them? What have been the consequences to you?

Some young people may find this very hard. You may want to prepare prompt cards beforehand inviting them to choose some things that have happened to them. You can introduce the cards saying something like “these are the kinds of things that have happened to a lot of young people I’ve worked with. Some may have happened to you”

Reassure them that they do not have to discuss any of the cards further if they don’t want to.

Examples of cards:

Promised me something, then let me down

Said they would be there and they weren’t

Hurt me physically

Hurt me sexually

Hurt me emotionally

Let me down

Embarrassed me

Made me jealous

What have you done to destroy trust? Any examples with parents, friends, school, work, neighbours, police?

Again have cards handy if they are struggling with this. The cards could say:

Stolen

Lied

Taken drugs

Hurt someone sexually

Didn’t do what I promised I would do

What were the consequences of this?

Develop a discussion around what impact your behaviour or offending has had on relationships of trust.

Ask – How do you be trustworthy?

It is all about being a person of your word. If you say you will do something – a favour, keep to an agreement or rule – you should do it.

What opportunities in your life at present do you have to show people important to you that you are a person who can give and keep your word?

Now review the young person’s relationships:

Which of these relationships depend upon people trusting you?

What do you need to do to ensure that these relationships work for you?

Do you have goals in which you need the support of a relationship and you don’t have it?

What do you need to do?

Output:

The young person understands the value of being trustworthy in improving relationships.

Recap and homework:

Ask the young person to summarise what they have learnt in this session. If they have forgotten significant parts, remind them.

The homework is to do one thing to demonstrate trustworthiness to someone important.

Session 4

The Importance of Give and Take

Purpose:

To demonstrate the importance of give and take

Process:

Review the young person’s of most important relationships.

Explain the idea of emotional credit.

Ask: do you know how a bank works? Explain – people need somewhere safe to keep their money. So they deposit it in a bank. When they need it they take it out. Sometimes they need more money than they have in the bank to buy something big like a house or car. They ask the bank for a loan. If they have a good credit history i.e. they regularly deposit cash, they will get a loan. If they have regularly spent more than they put in they will be refused. Relationships work in a similar way.

Has anyone taken advantage of your good nature? What happened? What did you do? Have you ever taken advantage of someone? What happened and what did they do?

Now consider each relationship in terms of whether they are in credit or not. See form below.

Ask how he or she feels about this. What do you need to do about it?

Output:

The young person will take action to balance their relationships.

Recap and homework:

Ask the young person to summarise what they have learnt in this session. If they have forgotten significant parts, remind them.

The homework is to do one thing to create more emotional credit to someone important.

Session 5

Communicating with Others

Being good at communicating is strongly associated with achievement, positive social behaviour and physical and mental well being. The ability to communicate effectively can really help to boost a young person’s confidence. It is a skill we learn from infancy up, with the learning starting at home by our parents.

Many of our young people have grown up in chaotic and /or abusive families where they were not taught how to communicate effectively. Because communication is a critical part of being a son, daughter, friend, partner, father, mother, student, worker, citizen it is essential that we focus on helping the young people who need it, to communicate better.

This session aims to:

To explore different types of communication people use;

To identify things that may be more difficult for you to communicate;

To explore how good communication can help you manage your risk of further sexual behaviours;

To think about what things are helpful and unhelpful in communicating with others;

To identify improvements that you can make in your communication with others;

To practice communicating effectively with others.

Exercise 1

Purpose:

To understand why I need to communicate with others

Materials: Flip chart and pens

Process:

1. Ask the young person what he or she understands by the word communication. Try to get responses that are consistent with the general idea that communication is simply the act of passing on information and that information can mean different things including: facts; thoughts; ideas; feelings etc

Encourage the young person to think of as many ideas as possible about why we communicate with other people. Examples to try to draw out include:

  • To make friends
  • To solve problems
  • To pass time
  • To co-operate
  • To help others
  • To get what you want and need
  • To tell other people what you’re thinking/ feeling/ doing
  • To give or get advice
  • To give or seek news
  • To have fun or a laugh with others

2. Encourage the young person to think about the different ways people communicate with each other. Ensure that you cover all the potential forms of verbal/ written communication such as;

  • Talking face to face
  • Phone
  • Texts
  • E-mails
  • Social networking sites
  • Instant messaging
  • Cards/ letters

3. Draw a line showing a continuum

EASY                                  A BIT HARD                                VERY HARD

In thinking about the different types of communication ask the young person to consider what they find easy/ a bit hard and very hard. Place each accordingly on the continuum. Explore and discuss their reasons for this.

Explore with them the potential benefits and downsides of each of the above. Ask if there are potential risks involved in any of the above and be prepared to discuss this. Be aware if the young person has any offences involving the internet.

4. Discuss the importance of non verbal forms of communication such as:

  • Hand gestures
  • Touch
  • Eye contact
  • Body posture
  • Physical closeness (personal space)
  • Tone/ volume of voice

Next ask the young person to go through the list and give examples of both positive and negative forms of communication for each one. Encourage the young person to think of their own experiences and how it made them feel. For example, a young person may recently have been stared at on a bus or recently felt threatened by someone in the street. A handshake by someone in authority may have made them feel respected.

Encourage them to think about their own non verbal communication and ask them to give you some examples of when they have consciously done any of the above and to what affect.

5. Ask the young person to consider how someone might communicate to another that:

  • They really like them
  • They really don’t like them
  • They are angry
  • They are sad
  • They are upset
  • They are worried

Try to encourage them to explore the differences between communicating the above in a respectful way and in a way that doesn’t respect the other person.

6. Finally using some ideas already generated ask the young person to think about the following:

  • How do you make friends
  • How do you show someone you are listening to them
  • How do you stay connected to the people who are important to you

Output:

The young person understands why communication is important. They understand the different ways of communicating and are developing insight into their strengths and difficulties.

Recap and homework:

Summarise with the young person what you have talked about in this session and ask them what they have learned. If they have forgotten, help them with this.

For their homework ask them to look at how they and others communicate and bring back both positive and negative examples that they have observed and used themselves. The adults around them should know about this homework and be able to help them.

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Exercise 2

Purpose:

For young person to complete the Self Assessment Worksheet

First recap from last session and discuss homework.

Materials: Worksheet and pen

Process:

Ask the young person to really think about themselves and how they communicate and to score themselves on the worksheet. You may need to go through this with them to make sure they understand. Encourage them to be as honest as possible.

This can be a useful tool in raising the young person’s awareness of why communication is an important topic for him or her to explore and can highlight areas that they may need to / want to work on.

Output:

Completed self assessment form and a young person more aware of and committed to work on their difficulties

Recap and homework:

Summarise with the young person what you have talked about in this session and ask them what they have learned. If they have forgotten, help them with this.

For their homework ask them to choose one of the things they have highlighted that they struggle with. They have to put themselves in a similar situation and try to act differently to get a positive outcome. They should do this with support from an appropriate adult so remember to talk to the adults around them.

Communication: Self Assessment Worksheet

Communication- Self Assessment Worksheet
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Exercise 3

Purpose:

To concentrate more on things that are more difficult to communicate

First recap from last session and discuss homework.

Materials: Flip chart and pens

Process:

Ask the young person to think about different type of communication, such as a simple request for information, through to asking for emotional support. Consider general examples e.g. giving directions, asking for help, telling someone you feel sad,

Then think of examples that are relevant for the young person own life, for example: talking to your parents about sex, telling someone you fancy them, telling your worker that you need help because you are in a risky situation. Use the self assessment worksheet to help the young person do this task highlighting areas that might be a strength for them or areas they may need more help in.

Draw the continuum line again on flip chart paper and ask the young person to identify on the continuum where each example of communication would be located for him or her.

Example:

EASY                                       A BIT HARD                                  VERY HARD

Remember that communicating with others might be very hard for the young person so every effort should be made to make them feel safe and supported doing this exercise. Make sure you are praising them for getting this far and that you are reinforcing the positives about good communication. Make helpful statements such as

“You are working really hard just now and we are doing this together which means we are probably on the same wave length just now. This means we are communicating well with each other and it feels good. Is it okay for you?”

Output:

The young person has more self awareness about communication and is thinking about goals.

Recap:

Summarise with the young person what you have talked about in this session and ask them what they have learned. If they have forgotten, help them with this.

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Exercise 4

Purpose:

To plan how I can improve my communication skills

First recap from last session

Materials: Skills planner worksheet and pen

Process:

The planning worksheet below provides a framework for identifying types of communication skills that the young person may need to practice. Together with them break down the areas identified into discrete tasks and think about how these may be undertaken, who will support the young person in the tasks and how you will evaluate performance in them. Remember the young person will learn skills in communication in their every day situations even more so than in your structured sessions so it is important that all of the adults around them know what to look for and can coach / teach them and give them feedback in an ongoing way.

Output:

A young person who is more aware and practiced in communication

A team around them that is observant, offering coaching and feedback and opportunities for practice and improvement

Recap and homework:

Summarise with the young person what you have talked about in this session and ask them what they have learned. If they have forgotten, help them with this. Their homework is to use their communications planner and bring back positive results.

Communication Skills Planner

Communication Skills Planner
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Exercise 5

Purpose:

To consider how the people I know communicate

First recap from last session and go over homework

 

Materials: flip chart and pens

Process:

Ask the young person to make a list of the significant people around them such as family, carers, friends, support systems. Then consider how these people communicate with the young person and with others. Some useful questions:

What forms of verbal and non verbal communication does he or she use?

What is good about the way he/ she communicates?

What is not so good about it?

Can you think of a situation where communication has gone really well?

Can you think of a situation where it has gone really badly?

On flip chart paper mark half GOOD and the other BAD and write the points in from above. The good side are behaviours to be practiced and the bad side to be avoided.

Output:

The importance of good communication skills is being reinforced and the young person is becoming more observant and insightful

Recap:

Summarise with the young person what you have talked about in this session and ask them what they have learned. If they have forgotten, help them with this. Their homework is to observe others and bring back examples of communicating that they want to be able to do.

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Exercise 6

For young people with sexually harmful behaviours

Purpose:

To show how good communication with others can help me with my problem sexual behaviours

First recap from last session and go over homework

Process:

Help the young person to identify ways in which better communication can help him or her stay safe. E.g.

  • Asking for help when I am confused
  • Letting people know I am feeling risky
  • Letting people know what I am thinking and feeling

It might be helpful to write out a script with the young person, using the type of words that they would be comfortable using to ask for help. Remember some young people will have safety plans and they may have been learning codes to ask for help. You will need to check this out before practising with the young person. For example, a young person attending the Halt Project may use the FIRE DRILL as a risk management metaphor so they may need to practice how to say they need help with the FIRE if they are feeling risky. The CLIFF EDGE may be another way for them to ask for help if they are feeing risky.

Output:

The young person is learning that being able to communicate well will help them to manage their risk. They will take this learning into the risk management part of their programme

Recap:

Summarise with the young person what you have talked about in this session and ask them what they have learned.

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Session 6

Review and Goal Setting

Purpose:

To review learning and plan action in the future.

Process:

1. Review the young person’s list of relationships.

Ask: what have you learnt through this module. If necessary prompt by reminding him/ her about what you have covered session by session.

Now ask what the young person is committed to doing to improve their relationships. Include one parent or carer, one friend and one professional supporter using the form below.


Materials:
card/ paper paints, pens

2. Make “My Code of Honour”

The young person designs an emblem or shield.

In it they write/paint words to describe the kind of person they want to be.

To encourage them to think about this ask them about:

  • What kind of boyfriend/ girlfriend do you want to be
  • What kind of Dad/Mum
  • What kind of friend
  • what kind of brother/ sister

It is important that this Code of Honour is shared with the wider team of adults around the young person so that they can help the young person be the person they want to be.

3. Complete module evaluation.

People in my life Evaluation
Structured Coaching Conversation

Structured coaching conversations are designed:

  • To reinforce the commitments the young person has made;
  • To enable the young person to develop self respect;
  • To enable the young person to learn from experience;
  • To support the young person to achieve goals.

When the young person keeps commitments:

Use questions

  • What happened?
  • What result did you get?
  • How did it feel?
  • What did it take for you to get that result?
  • How do you feel about yourself now?
  • Give feedback as specific as possible relating to the commitments the young person has made to change attitudes and behaviours. Express your respect.

Ask what the young person has learnt from the experience.

Ask the young person in what other situations he/she could use this attitude or behaviour.

Encourage the young person to use the attitude or behaviour again soon. Try to identify a specific situation which is likely to happen or can be planned in the near future.

When commitments are not kept:

Use questions

  • What happened?
  • What result did you get?
  • How did you feel?
  • What caused the result?
  • How do you feel now?

If the young person reverts to attitudes and behaviours they committed to change, gently point this out. Connect these to the result.

Explore how this may be an example of what is going wrong in his/her life. Identify other situations where this attitude or behaviour has not worked.

Imagine how the situation would have turned out if he/she had employed the attitude or behaviours to which he or she had committed.

Ask what the young person has learnt from the experience.

Encourage the young person to use the positive attitude or behaviour again soon. Try to identify a specific situation which is likely to happen or can be planned in the near future.

Record with the young person what he or she ‘got’ from the experience in the appropriate ‘Doing it’ form.

this_is_my_life - doing_it

Guide the young person in filling in the ‘Success!’ form.

global-success_form
Resources

 

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