Adolescent Girls in Crisis

Martha B. Straus
Some try to disappear through starvation; others carve indecipherable symbols or other marks onto their arms and bodies; some run away from home; and still others bully and get bullied, hide weeping in their rooms, or attempt suicide. Programs, experts, and interventions abound, but therapists and caregivers alike struggle to effectively help this challenging population. For every success in turning a troubled girl around, there seem to be new, even sadder cases to take its place. The list of reasons, as Straus explains, are complicated and varied everything from weak, fragmented interventions and overwhelmed institutions with inadequate resources to a growing gap between the rich and poor, ignorant parents, overcrowded schools, and a more violence-saturated society than ever before. Using a developmental-relational model of intervention, Straus explores the ways in which clinicians and caregivers can successfully reach out to the children behind these often frightening behaviors, and how to help them cope. A highly practical resource, Adolescent Girls in Crisis explores concrete strategies and methods for helping girls in crisis by focusing on identification, diagnosis, and treatment of many of the troubled and troubling behaviors—including oppositional defiant disorder, trauma, eating disorders, and attachment problems, among others—what to look for before there's a crisis (and in one), what to worry about, and, most of all, what to do.

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