• Home
  • Games, Manipulations, and Seductions in Counseling the Difficult Adolescent- A Cross-Cultural Theoretical Foundation to Teens and Teen Therapy w/Developmental & Strategic Principles and Approaches

Games, Manipulations, and Seductions in Counseling the Difficult Adolescent- A Cross-Cultural Theoretical Foundation to Teens and Teen Therapy w/Developmental & Strategic Principles and Approaches

  • Saturday, March 16, 2024
  • 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM


Registration is closed

Presented by Ronald Mah, LMFT

Includes 2 CE credits for LMFTs, LPCCs, LEPs and LCSWs.
This event will be online only. A recording will be made available to all registrants for 3 months. For those who can't attend live, CE credit is available by watching the recording and passing a test.

The underlying cross-cultural and development principles of the therapeutic and life games, manipulations, and seductions practiced by adolescents (with themselves, with their peers, and with adults) will be conceptualized leading to practical interventions and interactions. This will allow clinicians to successfully meet the demands of the adolescent inter-relational “game.” Clinicians will be guided in how to validate the existential world of the teen by “playing” the game successfully (gaining respect and credibility versus losing the same), and then promoting therapeutic change leading to behavior, attitude, and value development.

The presenter will discuss cases from pragmatic, therapeutic, and theoretical perspectives from experiences with teens in a variety of clinical, consulting, and personal situations. Cross-cultural and development principles will be presented to help conceptualize the adolescent world and perspectives. This will be followed by presenting the therapeutic and life games, manipulations, and seductions practiced by adolescents (with themselves, with their peers, and with adults) that reflect their world orientation.

Examples of teen attitudes, values, and behaviors as they are manifested in peer, social, academic, and therapeutic interactions and relationships will be presented. Each will then be examined for:

  • The adolescents’ existential foundation (adolescent cultural and developmental origins),
  • The implicit requirements made of the clinician (or parent, teacher, other family member, or peers),
  • The expected stereotypical (and unsuccessful) therapist or parental (or other adult or peer) responses, alternative theoretically and pragmatically sound responses for therapeutic growth.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course participants will be able to:

  1. Identify the four problematic approaches and the one appropriate approach to communicating with teens about alcohol and drug use.
  2. Name the core cultural principles of adolescent functioning.
  3. List the principles of the natural developmental narcissism of adolescence in contrast to adult characterological narcissism.
  4. Identify strategies for adults to shift the power dynamic of teen negativity. 
  5. Name ways adolescent culture and community create a sanctuary for teens. 
  6. Identify key strategies to connect with versus lose credibility with teens.

Educational Goal

Participants will learn how to communicate cultural connection with the developmental needs of teenagers for adult leadership.

About the Presenter

Ronald Mah is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. Experiences include: author of “Difficult Behavior in Early Childhood,” 2006, “The One-Minute Temper Tantrum Solution” 2008, and “Getting Beyond Bullying and Exclusion, PreK-5, Empowering Children in Inclusive Classrooms,” 2009, Corwin Press and twenty e-books on therapy and couple therapy available at www.Smashwords.com; dvds on child development and behavior, community mental health, Severe Emotional Disturbance school programs, vocational and welfare-to-work programs, Head Start, supervising a high school mental health clinic, supervising therapists, private practice psychotherapy. Education experiences: 16 years in ECE, owner childcare center, elementary & secondary teaching credentials, college instructor, and the Board of Directors of the California Kindergarten Association. He is currently on the Board of Directors of the California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists. Co-Director of the MFT Masters Program at the Western Institute for Social Research, Berkeley.

Course Outline


  1. Definition of Culture as conservative, as survival
  2. Teenager- The Developmental Stage of Adolescence
    Lack of Historical models, recent models inadequate.
    Adolescent Egocentrism
    Magical Thinking- Magic vs. Rules vs. Concepts (Developmental Theory) Stage of Natural Narcissism
  3. Why Adolescents Don't (Can't) Invest BASIC TRUST-->


INVESTMENT (Follow through)-----> REWARDS

  • 1.     Foundations to Relationships
  • 2.     Empathize (Receptive Communication):
  • 3.     Invest
  • 4.     Child, Teen, Adult- Coming of Age Rituals & Improvision
  • 5.     Authoritative vs. Authoritarian vs. Permissive Parenting The Principle of Scaffolding

From Regulation to Co-regulation to Self-regulation
Parenting Adolescents as fundamentally different than parenting children.
Theory and Methodology to Adult and Adolescent Interactions
Adult Gifts to Adolescents: Anger!?, Distrust!?, Abandonment!?
Issues, Games, and Seductions


Grossman, Jennifer M.; Lynch, Alicia D.; DeSouza, Lisette M.; Richer, Amanda M. Resources for Teens' Health: Talk with Parents and Extended Family about Sex. Journal of Child & Family Studies. Feb2021, Vol. 30 Issue 2,

Lee, Eunjung; Horvath, Adam Otto. How a Therapist Responds to Cultural Versus Noncultural Dialogue in Cross-Cultural Clinical Practice. Journal of Social Work Practice. Jun2014, Vol. 28 Issue 2, p193-217. 25p.

Sibley, Margaret H.; Rodriguez, Lourdes; Coxe, Stefany; Page, Timothy; Espinal, Kisbel. Parent–Teen Group versus Dyadic Treatment for Adolescent ADHD: What Works for Whom?Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology. Jul-Aug2020, Vol. 49 Issue 4, p476-492. 17p.

Taufique, Shilpa R.; Weller, Rachel E.; Johnson, Brandon; Herring, Jennifer. CARES: an innovative approach to treating adolescents with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. Children's Health Care. Jan-Mar2023, Vol. 52 Issue 1, p23-44. 22p. 1 Diagram, 7 Charts. DOI: 10.1080/02739615.2021.1984241.

This is an advanced level course.

If you miss any of the presentation, you will not be eligible for the CEUs. This course meets the qualifications of 2 continuing education credits for LMFTs, LPCCs, LEPs and/or LCSWs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.
SCV-CAMFT is a CAMFT-approved continuing education provider (CEPA 052466).

The views expressed in presentations made at SCV-CAMFT meetings or events are those of the speaker and not, necessarily, of SCV-CAMFT. Presentations at SCV-CAMFT events do not constitute an endorsement of the vendor or speaker's views, products or services.

Event Policy Information

SCV-CAMFT               P.O. Box 60814, Palo Alto, CA 94306               mail@scv-camft.org             408-721-2010

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software