Experiencing Change: Practical Strategies for Working with Stuck Teens



Presented and developed by David Flack, MA, LMHC, CDP


Many teens in treatment seem stuck in endless cycles of maladaptive behaviors, experiencing multiple treatment failures and frustrating even the most dedicated professional helpers. These teens often present as apathetic, ambivalent, or completely resistant. The truth, however, is much less pessimistic. They’re stuck. Our task is to help them get unstuck. In this workshop, we’ll explore strategies for doing just that.

 First, we’ll deepen our understanding of the change process by examining core ideas from motivational interviewing and the stages-of-change model—including stage specific interventions, strategies for integrating change-talk into sessions and group settings, and ideas for encouraging participants to risk change. Then, we’ll examine the concept of stuckness—including sources of stuckness, ways stuckness exacerbates other problems, and strategies for helping teens get unstuck.

 Along the way, we’ll explore the uses of experiential learning in substance abuse counseling, mental health services, and other behavioral health contexts. We’ll participate in a dozen clinically appropriate experiential activities that foster group cohesion, explore change, illustrate important treatment concepts, and provide opportunities to practice new skills. In addition, we’ll look at ways to use framing, metaphors, and debriefing to help assure transfer of learning.

 Workshop attendees can expect to:

  • Develop an in-depth working knowledge of the stages-of-change model. 
  • Explore practical approaches for using core concepts from motivational interviewing
  • Examine the role of therapeutic alliance and group process when working with reluctant teens.
  • Participate in a dozen clinically appropriate experiential activities. 
  • Develop practical skills for framing and debriefing experiential activities.



Continuing Education (CE) Information


6 CEs


David Flack, MA, LMHC, CDP


David Flack is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and Chemical Dependency Professional (CDP), with additional credentials as a Child Mental Health Specialist and Sexual Minority Mental Health Specialist. He is certified by the American Counseling Association to provide trainings related to the organization’s current Code of Ethics.

 For twenty years, David has worked with individuals and families impacted by substance use, trauma, and mental health challenges – as a therapist, drug/alcohol counselor, and case manager. Currently in private practice, David works with teens and young adults addressing issues related to complex trauma and co-occurring disorders. Prior to entering private practice, he spent 15 years in community mental health agencies, primarily as an adolescent co-occurring disorders therapist.

In addition to his clinical work, David is an experienced trainer and workshop facilitator. He has regularly provided professional development and continuing education programs both regionally and nationally. He has also presented for non-profit agencies, county sponsored events, and over 100 times at international, national, and regional conferences -- including the American Counseling Association and Association of Experiential Education.




Upcoming Dates and Registration


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