Why Young People Destroy the Very Things They Need Most

When young people spurn our best attempts to love and support them, why do they do this?

All Problems Are Betrayals

For young people, all problems provoke primitive anxieties of betrayal: reminders of an original betrayal they can't consciously remember but can't help feeling strongly about.

Understanding the Impulse to Harm Oneself

"I've been self-harming! I think I might be depressed! I'm having suicidal thoughts!" Sometimes these are simply ways of saying, "I'm not a child any more. Take me seriously!"

A Secret Future For Girls

To what extent do schools present girls with a choice between working and mothering: one seen as laudable, the other as a consolation prize for academic also-rans?

Paragons Of Virtue

Young people are more interested in our failures than in our successes. But do we dare to tell them about all the ways in which we've failed?

What Do You Mean, Self-Esteem?

Like so many well-meaning behavioural interventions, the idea of self-esteem is simplistic. Without a secure sense of self, good experiences are likely to wash over us.

That Sneaky Devil, Projective Identification

In relationships, we need to stop and wonder whether the things we feel belong to us or are unconsciously projected into us by other people.

Wanting To Destroy Everything

Young people's appetite for destruction must be recognised if we are to forgive them.

We're Splitting Up!

If adults can't contain their own tendencies to split, then what hope is there for young people?

Please, Please (Don't) See Me!

We must be seen by other people to know that we exist and are worth something. But what about the young people who can't bear to be seen?

How Can You Bear to Listen?

Sometimes we simply have to bear witness to the effects of other people's cruelty and remember our own capacity to be cruel.

(Not) Bypassing Adolescence

We may have a vested interest in getting teenagers through adolescence as quickly and as painlessly as possible. But often we're only delaying things until later in a person's life

Teachers Hating to Say Goodbye

Living with a perpetual sense of inadequacy, teachers get swallowed up by bitterness and despair unless they find opportunities to acknowledge what teaching actually feels like.

The Worst Word in the World

Looking for someone to blame.... Wanting to take revenge.... A world of anxieties reduced to a single word.

The Paedophile In Everyone

Our sexualities may not be as straightforward as we'd like to believe.

I Am (Sometimes) My Story

We become our autobiographies and sometimes they imprison us with their simplicities

Fathers and Daughters

Growing older, daughters need their fathers differently.

Sons and Mothers

Sons grow up and become men but do their relationships with their mothers really change?

Young, Confident, Bisexual

More and more young people are slowly gaining the confidence to resist being defined as one thing or another. More and more say that they "might be bisexual."

Thank You For Not Sharing

Young people have to learn that there are degrees of privacy, that not sharing is normal.

Why Family Holidays Are So Difficult

At school, young people know who they are and how to be. At home, things aren't so clear. Holidays are horrible transitions.

Delight, Cruelty and Young People

How can anyone delight in young people capable of doing terrible things?

The Sexuality Of Schools

The way a school expresses or represses its collective sexual identity will have an effect on the individuals attending that school.

Am I Mad Or Bad?

There are times when a young person wants to know what a therapist actually thinks. Therapists can't duck the question but how they respond is crucial.

What's The Matter With Anxiety?

Trying to treat the symptoms without understanding the meaning of the anxiety is a waste of time. If the anxiety could speak, what would it be saying?

Learning To Live With Failure

In work with young people, do we fail because we're lazy or complacent? Or because we all have limitations? Can we ever accept and live with those limitations?

Pathologising Adolescence

Young people on the whole are not ill but are beset by developmental transitions and dilemmas. We need to stop pathologising adolescence and build the coping capacities of non-specialists.

Why Boredom Is Essential For Young People

For many young people, "I'm bored!" is a complaint and also a question about uncertainty. What if we joined them in their questioning?

The Value Of Hatred

Unless we can bear young people's hatred and understand it as normal (which means acknowledging our own capacity to hate), the danger is that young people are left feeling that there's something wrong with them, something fundamentally untouchable about them.

I Am (Not) My Body

A baby doesn't think of itself as anything other than a body. That subjective sense of 'me' as distinct from 'my body' comes later, comes gradually, and by the time they're teenagers, young people are still wrestling with the distinction.