Video

Ken Hardy on Getting Through to Inner City Youth [3 min - Psychotherapy Networker]

Hardy, the director of the Eikenberg Institute for Relationships and professor of family therapy at Drexel University, explains what it takes to connect with misunderstood inner city youth of color.

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At risk children used to scare me, I was so afraid to say something wrong and miss them up. Finally, after I made some mistakes I learned that being authentic was the key. I told one client that I work with girls a lot more than boys so thus was a new experienve for me too. As far as trust when I am introducing myself that they know themselves better than anyone. Since we are in the beginning stages I let them know that like any relationship trust takes time. I am willing to take that time and earn it. Anything I say is to be helpful but I make mistakes too so don't be shy and let me know what direction or what you are willing to share with me. If I step on ties, let me know because that's his I get to learn too.  This and other things I say allow them to understand that I am not there to be another adult and tell them what to do but be there to talk with when they are ready. If they're not ready I use that as an opportunity too. It is a great way to reinforce that they are in control and what my role in their day is. Its also a way to help them like you said rewrite their narrative, see first hand that some adults respect going adults and can learn from them too. I find that overtime, it is much more empowering for them to see examples consistently and soon after they start opening up. I allow them the space they need and hold that space or silence.  

I have seen incredible strides and it is such a beautiful process and honor to bear witness and to have an adolescent share personal things with me and feel comfortable.

 

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