At the Positive Thinking Clinic I endeavour to give teenagers and young adults an opportunity for a voice.

I use selected topics for one : one, or small group experiences.

A common complaint is that adults do not listen to young persons.  And by this, I don’t mean passive hearing, but active listening.  The same holds for understanding too.

We need to listen to our youths respectfully as they are the experts in their own lives.  

In addition, youths overlook and ignore their successes.  We need to make a difference and notice their successes.  We need to listen to the language they use, and the values underlying the statements they use.  Doing this allows for an opportunity of reflection.

By being curious we can encourage conversations with young people that allow them to reflect and articulate.  These conversations assist young persons to build their life story, connect with significant people in their lives, and notice feelings and emotions that come with it.

Interactions that young people have, may have a life-long impact on their experiences and development, as they progress through to adulthood.  Adults who connect with young persons have a wonderful opportunity to influence that young persons life.  We indeed have a role in enabling young people to experience success.

In my interactions with individual clients or groups, or in workshops, I like to use conversations that revolve around:


E.g. What would you like to do more of?


E.g. What do you think is the best thing about being your gender?


E.g. Do you prefer to have lots of friends, or a few close friends?


E.g. Which do you prefer? Blending in, or standing out?


E.g. How do you cope with things that fall apart?


E.g. Do you or your family have special celebrations or traditions?

The purpose of such “deep speaking” is to encourage open and honest sharing.  

Respectful listening, a respect for confidentiality, and other agreed rules are also important to establish from the start.

Sometimes we realise that more than simply speaking, we can write creatively and thus “journal”.

Journaling is a powerful and reflective tool for recording thoughts and feelings.

It can also be used to form the basis of a short story.  A story can be converted to a drama, tragedy or romance.  The young person can also be instructed to pick a question and write the answer they think they might give many years from now.  Or, the young person may even answer a question by turning it into a poem.

You know….Questions can change peoples lives.

Transformational power may exist in the right question given at the right time.