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Stuff that Sucks

‘Stuff that Sucks’

Here at Youthline we are aware being a teenager is a minefield of emotions – not all of them great. In fact, sometimes it can, frankly, just suck.

Hence the recent publication of ‘Stuff that Sucks’ which examines the thoughts and feelings teenagers often have, and suggests ways in which they can accept their emotions, rather than struggling against them.

Written by Clinical Psychologist Ben Sedley, ‘Stuff that Sucks,’ was a result of working with many adolescents and their families over the years.

“Young people often struggle with their emotions and do not want to be told that ‘everyone feels like that’ or that ‘you will grow out of it’. Instead, in many cases, it’s more useful to validate their emotions and offer a truthful understanding of the pain that they are feeling
. . . It also shows how to reconnect with what is really important, giving teens the tools to help clarify their personal values and take steps towards living a life where those values can guide them in their day-to-day behaviour.”

Sedley is a great believer in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, which teaches psychological skills to deal with painful thoughts and feelings effectively so that they have much less impact and influence over the subject. This helps the person to clarify what is important and meaningful to them and to use that knowledge to guide, inspire and motivate them to change their life for the better. Sedley has incorporated these techniques into the book.

“I have been using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for years, so it seems to make sense to many of the young people I work with. I decided to share some of my ways of explaining these ideas in a way that allows readers to feel validated and respected.”

Sedley intends ‘Stuff that Sucks’ for a varied audience. He hopes teenagers who read it will realize that “There is nothing wrong with them for feeling like this, but on the contrary, these thoughts and feelings are an important part of the human experience – emotions mean we care!”

He is also hoping that adults who interact with teenagers - parents, teachers, counselors – will also read the book. “Hopefully they will get more of an understanding of how hard it is to be a teenager these days, and why telling them to think positively or cheer up doesn’t help them.”

Ultimately, though, he believes one important message of the book is acceptance that life just sometimes sucks.

“Life is hard enough without feeling that you’re wrong for finding it hard.”

Meet Ben Sedley at the Wellington launch of ‘Stuff that Sucks’ on 28 October. See attached flyer for details.


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