Conversations that Matter: Talking with children and teenagers in ways that help  
Conversations that Matter: Talking with children and teenagers in ways that help

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by Margot Sunderland, 2015

So many children and young people in our society are hurting. Research indicates that more children are depressed, anxious or locked in anger than ever before, with all the problems that creates at home, school and in society at large when emotional pain gets expressed through behaviour or physical symptoms. Many well-intentioned adults really want to help when children suffer because of parental conflict, divorce, family financial worries, loss and bereavement, trauma, bullying, isolation, general growing up issues, and worse. But we often lack the confidence and key skills to know how to help in ways that will genuinely support the child or teenager to properly process what is troubling them, and so reach a more positive place of genuine hope and optimism.

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Conversations that Matter, the latest book by Margot Sunderland, offers a wealth of tools and techniques to empower parents and practitioners to connect to children and young people through conversation, in life changing ways. Dr Sunderland is widely acknowledged as one of the UK’s leading experts in child counselling and therapy, as well as being a best-selling author of books for parents and professionals and co-founder of both the Institute of Arts in Therapy and Education and The Centre for Child Mental Health, London. Her life’s work has been to find the most effective ways of helping children and young people in distress, underpinning her practice with cutting-edge findings from the fields of affective neuroscience, developmental psychology and the study of trauma. She is also a passionate advocate for the healing power of the creative arts as a means to reach troubled children, when words are not enough.

This long-awaited book will give readers a thorough, evidence-based and inspiring grounding in every aspect of talking with children who are hurting, from how to build a trusting relationship with the child, how to deepen the dialogue between you and make it meaningful, when to work directly or indirectly, how to handle the various inevitable challenges that will arise when talking to children about the difficult stuff, and more.

Packed with creative possibilities, and illustrated with numerous ‘conversations’, this book can be returned to again and again whilst helping children and young people work through any life issue, past or present. The book also contains photocopiable worksheets, and introduces a completely new therapeutic story specifically written to help children who are struggling with trauma and shock. Dr Sunderland’s book will be of benefit to professionals as well as parents, carers and other adults who want the conversations they have with children and teenagers to genuinely help, and to matter.


The Author

Dr Margot Sunderland is co-founder of and Director of Education and Training at The Centre for Child Mental Health London, and a Child Psychotherapist with over thirty years’ experience of working with children and families. Margot has two Doctorates, one in Psychotherapy by Public Works (Thesis: The Art and Science of the Psychological Treatment of Children). She has written over twenty books in the field of child mental health, and is the founder of the “Helping Where it Hurts’ programme which has offered free arts therapy to troubled children in Islington Primary schools for over ten years. She directed the Gulbenkian funded research study which, in liaison with University of Cambridge, measured outcomes for this intervention. Margot makes TV and radio appearances as a child and parenting expert. She is concerned to ensure that parents, teachers and mental health professionals alike are offered the most up to date neuroscientific and psychological research on how children and teenagers can be enabled to thrive, & is passionate about social change for a kinder, warmer world.

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