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Helping At-Risk Students: Second Edition: A Group Counseling Approach for Grades 6-9

by 

The program helps youth build skills for school success and social-emotional growth while exploring such crucial topics as personal goals, ethnic identity and prejudice, peer pressure, violence prevention, and family relationships.

Full Description:   

Engaging, activity based, and effective, this widely used group counseling curriculum (the SPARK program) is designed for flexible implementation in school or clinical settings. The program helps youth build skills for school success and social-emotional growth while exploring such crucial topics as personal goals, ethnic identity and prejudice, peer pressure, violence prevention, and family relationships. Featured are 36 reproducible handouts and forms-plus Spanish-language versions of the 32 handouts-in a large-size format with lay-flat binding for ease of use.

New to This Edition

  • Revised and expanded to incorporate new findings and field-tested strategies.
  • New module on male-female relationships.
  • New sessions on emotion regulation, communication, and relational aggression.
  • Strategies for whole-class implementation have been added.
  • Nearly half of the 68 reproducibles are new or revised.
"This creative, activity-based psychoeducational curriculum addresses diverse needs of the most vulnerable sixth- to ninth-grade students. The second edition adds an excellent section on male-female relationships, as well as cutting-edge material on emotion regulation, anger management, gossip and bullying, and effective communication. The manual and reproducibles are remarkably user-friendly for participants and facilitators alike. Adolescents will be immediately engaged by the relevant, realistic examples."
-Louise Silvern, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Colorado at Boulder
"Providing powerful tools for helping at-risk youth, this innovative approach can be utilized in a range of educational and mental health settings. The program includes pragmatic, skill-based interventions that address the feelings and stressors that many at-risk youth experience in their daily lives. It can be used in its entirety or individual modules can be implemented flexibly to address specific issues. The second edition enhances the effectiveness of some of the original modules and adds important new content areas related to interpersonal and intrapersonal development."
-Jeffrey Jacobs, PhD, Director of Psychological Services, University Elementary School, University of California, Los Angeles

Jill Waterman, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, and Elizabeth Walker, PhD, private practice, Denver, Colorado

274 Pages, Size: 8" x 10 1/2", December 2008

1. Guidelines for Setting Up and Leading Groups

Goals of the SPARK Program

Getting Started

Selecting Group Members

Structure of the Groups

Group Leaders

Presenting the Groups to Prospective Members

Pregroup Individual Interviews and/or

Questionnnaires

Group Counseling Techniques

Developing Trust and Understanding Confidentiality

Building Group Cohesion

Group Process

Developmental Considerations

Maintaining Order and Leader Sanity

Uses and Parameters of Check-In and Check-Out

Issues in Ending the Groups

Dilemmas for Group Leaders

Handling Issues of Child Abuse and Suicidality

Suicidality

Balancing the Needs of Individual Group Members

with the Requirements of the Psychoeducational

Curriculum

Dealing with Members Who Do Not Participate

Dealing with Chronically Disruptive Members

Parameters of the Group Leader Role

Adapting the Curriculum for Full Classroom Use

2. The SPARK Curriculum

Overview of Module Content

Recruitment Criteria

Module One: Trust-Building and Communication Skills

Module Two: Anger Management and Emotion Regulation Skills

Module Three: Ethnic Identity and Anti-Prejudice

Module Four: Educational Aspirations

Module Five: Peer Pressure, Bullying, and Gangs

Module Six: Male-Female Relationships

Module Seven: Exposure to Violence and Posttraumatic Stress Reactions

Module Eight: Family Relationships

Termination Session: The Party

3. Effectiveness of SPARK Groups

Characteristics of Participating Group Members

Family Structure and Distress

Outcome of the SPARK Groups

Time 1 and Time 2 Differences for Those in the

Treatment Group

Time 1 and Time 2 Differences for Those in the

Control Group

Comparisons between the Treatment and Control

Groups

Pilot Evaluations of New and Revised Modules in This Edition

Summary and Conclusions

Information Regarding Data Analyses

Appendix A. Sample Materials for Beginning SPARK Groups

Appendix B. Curriculum Materials and Handouts

Appendix C. Sample Materials in Spanish for Beginning SPARK Groups

Appendix D. Curriculum Materials and Handouts in Spanish

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