Walking A Tightrope: Family Therapy with Adolescents and Their Families

Walking A Tightrope: Family Therapy with Adolescents and Their Families

by Kenneth V. Hardy

Hardy brings family therapy to life with this compelling and instructive case vignette of his work with an African-American family.
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Beyond the Comfort Zone

The anguish and torment in Mrs. Gilyard’s voice over the phone grew more radiant.  Her desperation, anxiety, and fear were gripping.  Though I attempted to offer some comfort —at least as much as was possible during a 30-minute conversation between two strangers—she became increasingly agitated.  As she began to provide more detail about her only child Clyde, a fourteen-year-old son, for whom she was seeking therapy, I could hear her voice cracking with the effort of fighting back tears. 
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Kenneth V. HardyDr. Kenneth V. Hardy is a Professor of Family Therapy at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is also Director of the Eikenberg Institute for Relationships in New York, New York. Prior to joining the faculty at Drexel University, he was a Professor of Family Therapy at Syracuse University where he also held positions as Director of Clinical Training and Research, and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Services. He is the former Director of the Center for Children, Families, and Trauma of the Ackerman Institute in New York City.

Dr. Hardy presents workshops and provides consultations nationally and internationally on issues of diversity, multiculturalism, and cultural competency. He has provided training and consultation to an extensive list of Human Services agencies and School Districts devoted to providing culturally competent services to children and families. Some of his clients have included the Children's Defense Fund, The United States Department of Defense, the Menninger Clinic, the New York State Office of Mental Health, Harlem Hospital, the Washington D.C. Superior Court, Philadelphia Department of Human Services, Allegheny County Department of Human Services, the South Carolina Department of Mental Health, the Westchester County Department of Human Services, and a host of Colleges, Universities, and Post-Secondary Institutions throughout the United States.

Dr. Hardy has published extensively in the area of diversity and has earned considerable public acclaim for the contributions that his numerous publications and videotapes including Psychological Residuals of Slavery and the Experts series which have made great strides toward challenging our society to think critically about issues of diversity and oppression. His recent book, with Tracey A. Laszloffy, is Teens Who Hurt: Clinical Interventions to Break the Cycle of Adolescent Violence. He was co-editor with Monica McGoldrick of Re-Visioning Family Therapy: Race, Culture, and Gender in Clinical Practice (2nd Edition).

In addition to his own writing, he also serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, the Journal of Family Psychotherapy, the Journal of Divorce, the Journal of Couples Therapy, the Psychotherapy Networker, and the Journal of Family Counseling. Dr. Hardy is a frequent contributor to the print media such USA Today, Jet Magazine, and Good Housekeeping, and also has been featured in the electronic media having appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Dateline NBC, PBS, The Discovery Health Channel, and ABC's 20/20.

Books by Hardy

Re-Visioning Family Therapy: Race, Culture, and Gender in Clinical Practice (2nd Edition)

Teens Who Hurt: Clinical Interventions to Break the Cycle of Adolescent Violence


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CE credits: 1.5
Learning objectives:

  • 1. Explain Kenneth Hardy’s approach to family therapy.
  • 2. Describe some of the challenges in engaging a family in family therapy and some ways that Hardy addresses these challenges.
  • 3. Identify ways to educate parents about the benefits of family therapy when they are seeking treatment only for their child.
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