POWER AND COMPASSION Working with Difficult Adolescents and Abused Parents

Jerome A. Price, M.A.

Guilford Publications

Hardcover, ©1996
ISBN 1-57230-141-4
List Price: $30.00

Paperback, © July1999
ISBN 1-57230-470-7
List Price: $18.00

Order from the Publisher by searching for "Power and Compassion"


When teenagers get out of control, understanding and negotiation often only make things worse. In this solid, no-nonsense guide to working with difficult adolescents and their families, Jerome A. Price makes a passionate case for rescuing parents from invalidation by a society that often views parents as the main cause of their children's problems. He shows how demoralized parents can be undermined by well-meaning professionals and other adults anxious to appear understanding, whose alliances with out-of-control adolescents create an invidious triangle. Recognizing that sometimes parents are victims, not victimizers, the author provides effective strategies to help families break free of self-defeating cycles of control and rebellion.

The book delineates the levels and types of abusive behavior in adolescents, and outlines how parents can regain control by learning to be both more understanding and more decisive. Jerome A. Price lays the groundwork for this approach by demonstrating the need for both kindness and authority when working with youthful aggression.

The book discusses the causes of parent abuse and describes identifiable patterns in the interactions of family members when parents are victimized or dominated by their children. Each chapter demonstrates how to work effectively with tough cases in family therapy. Throughout, Power and Compassion offers specific guidelines and techniques for assessment and intervention, which are clearly illustrated with a wealth of case material. Among the many topics covered are severe problems associated with aggression arising from postdivorce problems and adolescent drug and alcohol abuse.

A pragmatic treatment guide, this work will be invaluable to family therapists and other mental health professionals working with aggressive teenagers and their parents, including psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, nurses, and counselors. It also serves as a useful supplementary text for advanced undergraduate and graduate-level courses in family therapy and the therapy of children and adolescents.


Foreword, Cloe Madanes
1. Parent Abuse
2. Directive versus Nondirective Approaches: How to Maintain the Status Quo without Really Trying
3. Early Warning Signs of Aggression: Overreacting to Aggression in Preteenage Children
4. When Divorce Conflict Causes Adolescent Aggression: Guilt, Loneliness, and Parents at War
5. Getting Abused Parents to Take Action
6. How to Break the Cycle of Intimidation
7. The Tao of Family Therapy: A Strategy for Treating Adolescents with Psychiatric Symptoms
8. The Secret Weapon Strategy: Conspiracy and
9. He Must Be on Drugs
10. The Clown: The Therapy of a 13-Year-Old Boy Threatening Murder

About the Author

Jerome A. Price, M.A., is the director and founder of the Michigan Family Institute. A Regional Faculty Member of the Family Therapy Institute of Washington, D.C., he is a well-known supervisor and strategic therapist consulting for mental health centers, hospital medical and psychiatric staffs, schools, and outpatient programs. His articles on many aspects of family treatment have been published in the Journal of Systemic Therapies, the Utne Reader, and the Family Therapy Networker, and he is a contributing author to the books, Alternative Services in Community Mental Health, The Evolving Therapist, and the upcoming casebook, Beyond the One-Way Mirror. Price is an Approved Supervisor for the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

Critical Acclaim for Power and Compassion

"This is a lively book which offers winning strategies for parents with difficult and violent adolescents. The examples are more than familiar to therapists who are offered whise guidance on how to guide parents in difficulty." -- Jay Haley

"Power and Compassion presents techniques and theory that allow family therapists to be both understanding and determined in their work with aggressive teenagers. Power and Compassion demonstrates Mr. Price's ability to assess and treat these extremely difficult situations from a strategic humanist stance. It is refreshing to read a book that deals so openly and directly with issues of power. Family therapists need guts, skill, hope and great faith in people to confront the emotional and physical abuse of parents by acting-out children and teenagers. Mr. Price clearly has these qualities." -- Donald Efron, Coeditor, Journal of Systemic Therapies

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