Module 5: young people, society and AOD: learner's workbook

5.2 Applying a youth-related systems approach to young people

Page last updated: 2004

Approaching young people from a systemic model requires treating each young person as an individual. The aim of the worker is to remain curious about that young person and to find out as much as possible about their background, influences, values, attitudes, passions, interests, goals and abilities.

A systems approach assists workers to be non-judgemental in their approach, seeing each young person as unique rather than part of a group of people with a label while at the same time understanding the influences in that young person's life.

This approach encourages workers to ask open questions and explore all the facets of the young person's life. It helps them develop an understanding and respect for each individual young person's experiences.

Using a systemic approach means engaging with young people in a positive and respectful way being aware of power issues within the helping relationship.

Case study - Sam

A young man (Sam) attends your centre. He has dreadlocks, make-up and feral attire. He looks like he has been using a substance.

Question - What are your assumptions about Sam?

Question - What would you like to find out about Sam?

Question - What are some ways that you think you may engage with this young man?