Classmate (A.Mor)

Angry Adolescent

In the psychology world being aggressive can be a range of behaviors that can result in both physical and psychological harm to yourself, others, or objects in the environment (D’Acremont & Linden, 2007). The way that you respond to someone who is angry can either make the individual even madder or may be able to calm them down. The video that I decided to watch for this discussion was the Angry Adolescent. In the video instantly the client, Melissa, is showing aggression towards the counselor because she does not want to be there (Laureate Education, 2011).  She states that counseling is dumb, it’s worthless, and that there is nothing that the counselor can do to get her to tell her anything (Laureate Education, 2011). I would like to discuss my reactions to this video and also explain one way to transform a negative reaction into an appropriate therapeutic response.

Initial Reaction

While watching this video, I first thought about what I would do with my son if he were showing aggression as such and what I would do. When I thought about what I do, it made me think about different cultures, and how most cultures have a different way of disciplining their child. I know that in counseling I have to be aware of different cultures when responding to certain behaviors (Sommers-Flanagan & Sommers-Flanagan, 2007). My positive reaction would have been to of course take a deep breath and realize that Melissa is hurt and her anger is really not towards me. So, I would listen and respond with acknowledging her feelings. By acknowledging her feelings, it will make her feel as if she is heard because it seems like she doesn’t feel like it since she has been forced to come to counseling. My negative reaction would have been to respond by telling her that her she is being disrespectful and that coming to counseling would help her. This response is totally ignoring how she feels about counseling and would only make her angrier. She already does not feel that a counselor is for her so I would need to show her instead of just telling her.

Appropriate Therapeutic Response

Since the video is fairly short, it does not give me a real idea of what to diagnose Melissa with. She is explosive with anger so I know that the appropriate response is the opposite of anger. The therapy that I would use is cognitive behavior therapy because it provides professional treatment such as relaxation training, cognitive restructuring, teaching coping skills, behavior rehearsals, and strategies to resist aggressive impulses (Flamez & Sheperis, 2015). A good example of how I would respond is how the counselor did in the video. When Melissa came into the session angry, upset of being there, feeling like this was worthless, and stating that there was nothing the counselor could do to get her to speak to him, the counselor did something that was so amazing. He was able to turn that negative energy around by telling Melissa the positive things that her parents and probation office said about her (Laureate Education, 2011). When she heard this, she was surprised and you can see it actually calmed her down a little bit. She became a little happy by the compliment and the counselor was even able to get her to speak about herself.


Finding and understanding the right approaches to helping your clients is one of the most important parts in counseling (Sommers-Flanagan & Sommers-Flanagan, 2007). Watching this video helps me to really put thought into my own reactions with others and with my child. Depending on our reaction with our client could really help them or tier them away from the growth that we were hoping they would gain. I know that this will be something that I would love to continue to work on because I know that I myself have a quick temper, and this can actually help my situation.


D’Acremont, M., & Linden, M. (2007). Memory for Angry faces, impulsivity, and problematic

behavior in adolescence.

Flamez, B. & Sheperis, C. J. (2015). Diagnosing and treating children and adolescents: A guide

for clinical and school settings. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2011). Child and adolescent counseling [Video file]. Retrieved


Sommers-Flanagan, J., & Sommers-Flanagan, R. (2007). Tough kids, cool counseling: User-

friendly approaches with challenging youth (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.

2. Classmate (K.Rog)

Disruptive Behaviors

Main Discussion Post

Once a child or adolescent admits that their life is not perfect, the counselor can begin developing and establishing goals from a counseling perspective (Sommers-Flanagan & Sommers-Flanagan, 2007). The challenge is getting the child or adolescent to the point where they willingly admit that life is not perfect (Sommers-Flanagan & Sommers-Flanagan, 2007). Most children and adolescents attend counseling with the notion that they have no plans of engaging with the therapist or participating in any way. They are just there to meet obligations that were initiated by parents, school, or even social services. Most clients who experience disruptive behavior will immediately acknowledge that those around them, such as parents, family and school, are the ones with the problems and not them (Sommers-Flanagan & Sommers-Flanagan, 2007).

Selected Disruptive Behavior

The disruptive behavior that I have chosen is the blaming adolescent. Unfortunately I don’t think this behavior is unique to only young clients but older clients as well. When knowledge is paired with experience, adolescents’ risk-perceptions actually become more realistic (Chapin & Coleman, 2017). David not only blamed everyone else but he really felt that he did nothing wrong (Laureate Education, 2011). David was angry for several reasons that included attending therapy, his parents’ response to his behavior, the gym teacher, and even his friend who told on him (Laureate Education, 2011).

Development of Therapeutic Relationship

In order to ethically and professionally work with challenging clients general skill, personal in sight, and a good knowledge base that includes constructive or formulated responses is required (Sommers-Flanagan & Sommers-Flanagan, 2007). Therefore to build a therapeutic alliance with David, I would try to avoid allowing my body language and nonverbal cues to affect what is being said between us. The fact that David chooses to blame everyone but himself for stealing his teacher’s car would probably garner some type of visible reaction towards from me based on what he is saying. This would definitely not help with building the therapeutic alliance. I could see myself possibly grabbing some water to try to maintain positive body language. It is important for counselors to be aware of their emotional buttons and get help and support as needed to ensure they remain effective and ethical (Sommers-Flanagan & Sommers-Flanagan, 2007).

I realize that if David were to see my frustration in my nonverbal cues and my body language that these actions could easily encourage his behavior and he may begin to lash out at me directly. This would add another layer to the challenge of dealing with his anger. Counselors should prepare and plan for aggressive resistance from teenage clients (Sommers-Flanagan & Sommers-Flanagan, 2007). Therefore I cannot wear my heart on my sleeve nor can I pass judgment on his actions or lack thereof. To build the therapeutic alliance I must be able to connect with David based on the information that he does provide just as Dr. Sommers-Flanagan did in the media.

Transform Negative Reaction

The constant reminder for me when working with David would be passing judgment. I know personally what that feels like and would not want to do that to any of my clients regardless of their age. Therefore being able to listen to his narrative and build from what he says and not what I think or even what I may already know from other resources close to him is imperative to keep us on the right track. Instead of relying on what I know to be right as well as how others feel about what he did, I have to stay in the here and now with David to work through where and why he feels the way he does in the moment about what he did. In all honesty, the rest will hopefully come later. Older children have an increased awareness of social relationships and therefore an awareness of the importance of these concepts within a non-judgmental therapeutic relationship, creates the opportunity for feelings and emotions to be shared with unconditional acceptance (Gordon & Russo, 2009).


Some teenagers have a gift for destroying their counselor’s confidence (Sommers-Flanagan & Sommers-Flanagan, 2007). If a counselor is able to somehow overlook the verbal attack that they receive from teenagers, they can gain important diagnostic and clinical information about their pain and defenses (Sommers-Flanagan & Sommers-Flanagan, 2007). Being prepared and knowledgeable of just some of the challenges and obstacles that may happen with children and adolescents, can help to strategically build a healthy therapeutic alliance a little at a time.


Chapin, J., & Coleman, G. (2017). Children and adolescent victim blaming. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 23(4), 438-440. doi:10.1037/pac0000282

Gordon, M., & Russo, K. (2009). Childrens Views Matter Too! A Pilot Project Assessing Childrens and Adolescents’ Experiences of Clinical Psychology Services. Child Care in Practice, 15(1), 39-48. doi:10.1080/13575270802504396

Laureate Education (Producer). (2011). Disruptive behaviors: Part two [Interactive media]. Retrieved from

Sommers-Flanagan, J., & Sommers-Flanagan, R. (2007). Tough kids, cool counseling: User-friendly approaches with challenging youth (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.

3. Classmate (N.Jon)

Counseling with adolescents can present many challenges to a professional counselor. Not only can a teenager be resistant to counseling but they can manifest that resistance in different ways. Being able to quickly identify which form of resistance a client is exhibiting and having the knowledge and tools to be able to overcome that resistance is essential to being able to help the client (Sommers-Flanagan & Sommers-Flanagan, 2007). Looking first at the adolescent client displaying anger I will discuss why I would be most comfortable in counseling her. Then, I will discuss why I would be least comfortable counseling the adolescent who displays a blaming attitude. Next, I will explain one way that my reactions to the clients might positively and negatively influence the therapeutic relationship with each client. Lastly, I will explain one way I would transform a negative reaction in a more appropriate reaction.

The Angry Adolescent

Of the four disruptive behaviors displayed in this week’s resource, the client I would feel most comfortable counseling with is the angry adolescent. Even though the girl is obviously angry, resistant to counseling, and has a low opinion of counseling, she presented defense is not as challenging for me as other behaviors. I personally do not feel threatened or intimidated by a client displaying anger and any anger directed towards me initially, I believe to be displaced. There are many reasons the client could be displaying anger. For instances, she may feel defensive with the thought that I am going to judge her. It may be a learned behavior (Sommers-Flanagan, Sommers- Flanagan, 2007). She may be mad at being forced to do something she does not wish to do. In any case, I believe she clearly needs to be heard and have someone listen and I believe I could provide her that, even in the face of her anger.

The Blaming Adolescent

The adolescent that displayed a blaming/denial attitude would be the most challenging for me to work with, at least initially. Having experience working with people struggling with addiction, the first hurdle I often encountered was the client’s sense of denial to an issue and blame towards others for their current life circumstances. I always found this obstacle particularly difficult to overcome. Working with adults I often used confrontation; however, when working with an adolescent I do not believe that would be as effective or beneficial to do. I’ve always told people, “you can’t help someone who doesn’t want help.” The adolescent child who displays a blaming mindset is challenging to me as I would initially be unsure of how to best reach him.

Positive and Negative Influences

In choosing to work with the angry adolescents I believe my reaction of a calm, quiet demeanor would help offset her angry. Allowing her space and voice to vent without taking what she says about me personally is another step towards building a therapeutic alliance (Sommers-Flanagan, Sommers-Flanagan, 2007). As the client continues to display nonverbal behaviors that are meant to be disrespectful or hurtful (such as eye-rolling, hair flipping, or scoffing) I would first listen empathically and then apply what Sommers-Flanagan and Sommers-Flanagan (2007) describe as interpreting interpersonal relationship patterns. I would ask the client if he felt she was being treated fairly and I would explain to her how her behavior makes me feel. In applying these methods initially, I believe it would have a positive impact on the therapeutic alliance and lay the initial foundational bricks upon which we will build a strong bond. However, one potential negative influence could come from telling her how her behavior affects me. This could cause the client to become shut down, more hostile or aggressive, or switch her into a blaming mode (Sommer-Flanagan, Sommers-Flanagan, 2007).

Transforming Reactions

Following the hypothetical initial session with the angry adolescent, it is possible that my semi-confrontational comment regarding how her nonverbal behavior makes me feel could backfire. Should the client become more aggressive to my response I could respectfully address the client’s behavior again by explaining further how her behavior is affecting me and specifically asking if she has any control over it. According to Sommers-Flanagan, Sommers-Flanagan (2007) the concept of maintaining control and power is important to teenagers, and when faced with an experiment, one might be likely to take up the offer. In doing so, I could take a negative reaction from the client and use it to further serve the therapeutic alliance and build a sense of honesty and trust with the client.


According to Eliana Gil, children display disruptive behaviors as a way of communicating that there is a problem or that they are in need or some sort of assistance of help (Laureate Education, 2011). While there are some behaviors I find more challenging than others, such as a blaming or denial mindset, other behaviors, such as angry or aggressive, are easy for me to interpret and work with. In working with adolescents who display disruptive behaviors it is important to maintain professionalism by not taking anything personally and to be knowledgeable in how to address and work through such behaviors (Sommers-Flanagan, Sommers-Flanagan, 2007).


Laureate Education (Producer). (2011). Child and adolescent counseling [Video file]. Retrieved


Laureate Education (Producer). (2011). Disruptive behaviors: Part two [Interactive media].

Retrieved from

Sommers-Flanagan, J., & Sommers-Flanagan, R. (2007). Tough kids, cool counseling: User-

friendly approaches with challenging youth(2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: American

Counseling Association.

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Required Resources

Please read and view (where applicable) the following Learning Resources before you complete this week’s assignments. This page contains the Learning Resources for this week. Be sure to scroll down the page to see all of the assigned resources for this week. To view this week’s media resources, please use the streaming media player below.

Accessible player  –Downloads– Download Video w/CC Download Audio Download Transcript


· Flamez, B. & Sheperis, C. J. (2015). Diagnosing and treating children and adolescents: A guide for clinical and school settings. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

o Chapter 6 “Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder”

o Chapter 16 “Disruptive, Impulse-Control, and Conduct Disorders”

· Sommers-Flanagan, J., & Sommers-Flanagan, R. (2007). Tough kids, cool counseling: User-friendly approaches with challenging youth(2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.


o Chapter 3, “Resistance Busters: Quick Solutions and Long-Term Strategies”

o Chapter 7, “Ecological Theory and Parent Education Strategies”

· DSM-5 BridgeDocument:Disruptive Behaviors


· Laureate Education (Producer). (2011). Child and adolescent counseling [Video file]. Retrieved from


o “Disruptive Behaviors: A Discussion With John Sommers-Flanagan and Eliana Gil” (approximately 19 minutes)

· Laureate Education (Producer). (2011). Disruptive behaviors: Part one [Interactive media]. Retrieved from


o Disruptive Behaviors: Part One Transcript

· Laureate Education (Producer). (2011). Disruptive behaviors: Part two [Interactive media]. Retrieved from


o Angry Adolescent Transcript

o Withdrawn Child Transcript

o Blaming Adolescent Transcript

o Hyperactive Child Transcript

Optional Resources

· Cochran, J. L., Cochran, N. H, Nordling, W. J., McAdam, A., & Miller, D. T. (2010). Two case studies of child-centered play therapy for children referred with highly disruptive behavior. International Journal of Play Therapy, 19(3), 130–143. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

· Eyberg, S. M., Nelson, M. M., & Boggs, S. R. (2008). Evidence-based psychosocial treatments for children and adolescents with disruptive behavior. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 37(1), 215–237. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

· Powers, C. J.. & Bierman, K. L. (2013). The multifaceted impact of peer relations on aggressive-disruptive behaviour in early elementary school. Developmental Psychology, 49(6), 1174–1186. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

· Pardini, D. A., Frick, P. J., & Moffitt, T. E. (2010). Building an evidence base for DSM-5 conceptualizations of oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder: Introduction to the special section. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 119(4), 683–688. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.