Talking One-to-One with Teens about Contraceptive and Safer Sex Decisions
The Positive Encounters Guidebook is a desk reference designed for educators, counselors, nurses, and other professionals who provide sexuality education to young people in one-to-one settings. The Positive Encounters model helps professionals support a young person in making healthy decisions about contraception and safer sex, and other decisions related to sexuality.
Positive Encounters is our response to a need for resources and training for professionals who provide sexuality education to young people in one-to-one settings. It is the third part of Planned Parenthood of Greater Northern New Jersey’s National Initiative for Contraceptive Education. This initiative seeks to promote a positive and interactive approach to contraception and sexuality education. During nation-wide professional development trainings on how to implement this approach into the classroom setting, numerous professionals expressed a desire for advice on how to integrate the approach into their one-to-one interactions with teens. Many found themselves addressing theses issues with teens every day, yet few had adequate preparation or feedback on how to do so effectively.
The Positive Encounters model utilizes some tried and true theories and strategies for communicating with young people. I have incorporated some of the classic ideas that have proven useful in my own work with teens. They have been adapted in places so that they specifically address the issue of contraceptive and safer sex education, and have been arranged together in a new and user-friendly model. This model is not intended to be the definitive ‘how-to’ guide on talking to teens about sex, but it does fill a gap that has existed in the training of man professionals. The Training Workshop was field-tested in over 20 locations across the United States with diverse populations of professionals including educators, health-care providers, counselors, social workers and more. Their feedback and suggestions have shaped the final product significantly.
Ideally, the POSITIVE ENCOUNTERS: The Guidebook for Professionals will be used in conjunction with the POSITIVE ENCOUNTERS: The Training Workshop for Professionals. Each however will stand alone. The Training Workshop provides a day-long professional development workshop with step-by-step instructions, handouts, and overheads. The Guidebook complements what is learned in the workshop, and is a desk reference for professionals who do this work on a regular basis with teens. New staff will find it to be a useful introductions and orientations to the work they will do with teens. Veteran advocates will appreciate it as a refresher and source of rejuvenation, as well as a resource for handling new or difficult situations.
Young people need Positive Encounters with adult advocates in order to make healthy decisions about contraception and safer sex. In turn, advocates need support and preparation to fulfill their responsibility to teens. I hope that the Positive Encounters resources will enable more adults to support more teens in honest and respectful ways. When it comes to helping teens be sexually healthy, w can’t afford to have encounters that are anything but positive.
“Positive Encounters is THE BEST resource for professionals working one-on-one with teens around issues related to sexuality. I use it regularly and always find it helpful in my work with teens. I think every school counselor, social worker, nurse and case manager should have a copy in their office!”
Nora Gelperin, M.S.Ed.
Director of Training, Answer