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New Book by Tony White

The Teenage Mind: New ideas

This book is in essence a collection of my notes from thirty years of running workshops, lectures and seminars on the topic of adolescence and teenagers, covering such things as their parents, families, peers, sex, love & relationships and counselling the teenager. It is what I have found is wanted by people who have to live and work with them. From their questions and areas of interest the seven chapters in this book cover what many seek to know about teenagers.

This is primarily an information book. It is not a “How to do therapy with the teenager book”. Of course its content will be relevant to the counsellor but it is more just providing information about the adolescent. Much of the content of this book you will not find in the literature about teenagers. It contains many new ideas and ways of understanding the teenager that I have not seen in the literature before, hence the subtitle of the book.

For example I discuss the secret life of the teenager. Those who live or work with teenagers are often distracted onto the problems the teenager can present and forget about the rest of their psychological world. This book has a chapter devoted to precisely that. Other than teenage anger and angst this book looks at their psychology not related to that. How to address this and get into that part of the teenage mind.

Also presented is how the teenager separates his or her identity from the parents. This has been discussed many times before in the literature but presented here is a new way of looking at it called the Triphasic separation theory. This results in the Adolescent Separation Individuation Scale where one can score self an others as to how successful they have been in their separation. Many adults and parents who complete this scale for themselves can be a bit surprised!

There is another section called teenagers and sex. Usually books on this topic will talk about the genitals, contraception, sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. This book covers none of that but looks at the psychology behind the sex. I have not seen this done before in the way it is done here. Certainly with teenagers this is rarely covered and is of such importance. How love, sex and relationships combine and how to manage them the best one can.


Chapter 1. Adolescence as a stage of development The history of adolescence

Male and female skill development in adolescence

Male and female differences

Chapter 2. Tasks teenagers must master

The eight tasks

Adolescent Separation Individuation Scale

Chapter 3. Developing one’s own identity  

Attachment diagram

Process of attachment and detachment

Mother and the young child

Triphasic separation individuation theory of child development

Chapter 4. The role of family in adolescence    

The dysfunctional dyad and triad

Emeshed and distancing families

Chapter 5. Adolescence and authority problems    

Authority problem

Conformity as an authority problem

Chapter 6. Teenagers and sex

The psychology of sex

Men, women and attraction

What constitutes normal sexual desire

Communication about sex

Sex and relationships




Relationship dynamics and pornography

Chapter 7. Secret world of the teenager

The secret world

The romantic world of the teenager

Teenager conformity

Working with drug and alcohol users

New book..

Topics covered

Chapter 1 - Drugs in society and addiction

Historical and contemporary views of addiction. Drugs are a political issue and how this negatively impacts on drug counselling.

Chapter 2 - Fundamental components of drug counseling

Facts about the three groups of drugs. Peak age of use and other drug features. Gateway drugs. Drug of choice. Polydrug use. The need to be truthful about drug effects and dangers with clients. Urine testing. Paruresis. Drug induced psychosis.

Chapter 3 - Transactional Analysis and the theory of addiction

Theory of personality. Ego states and the newborn child. The functional ego states. Transactions. Transactional analysis theory of dependence and addiction. Addiction and attachment.

Chapter 4 - Why people use drugs and their treatment

The effects of alcohol on personality. Reasons for using drugs. Experimental drug use and counselling. Rebellious drug use and counselling. Recreational drug use and counselling. Situational drug use and counselling. Symptomatic drug use and counselling. Dependent drug use and counselling.

Chapter 5 - The harm reduction contract and harm reduction counseling

The moral issue in harm minimization. The difficulty of using harm minimization information. Ego states and negotiating safety. Therapeutic relationship and negotiating safety. The harm reduction contracting process. Harm reduction counselling. Suicide and drug use. Harm reduction counselling and defence mechanisms. Harm minimization and youth.

Chapter 6 - Assessment of the drug and alcohol user

Presenting issues. Taking a client history. Drug use history. Drug use timeline. Assessing drug users who have been in prison. How do they get their drugs? Relationships with peers and partner. Stages of change.

Chapter 7 - Drug use ambivalence

The drug use ambivalence therapeutic technique.

Chapter 8 - Relapse process work

Diagnosing the type of drug use. The relapse process. The dependent drug using career. Problems with the stages of change model. Geographically relocating as a therapeutic strategy. Relapse prevention counselling. Drug/drink refusal skills. Assessing the level of deprivation in relapse prevention. The parts party technique in relapse prevention. Drug use ambivalence and relapse work.

Chapter 9 - Motivational interviewing

Two types of motivational interviewing. Cognitive (Adult ego state) motivational interviewing. Experiential (Child ego state) motivational interviewing. Motivational interviewing and the impasse.

Chapter 10 - The teenage drug user

Changes in the adolescent stage of development in the last 50 years. Why teenagers use drugs. Peers and drug use. Working with the teenage client. How the counsellor relates to the teenage drug user. Teenage drug use and family structure. The hot potatoe and the teenager. Parents and the teenager. Scare tactics with the teenager. Dealing with a disclosure by the teenager. Urine testing teenagers.

Description of book

This book is designed for counsellors and those who come into contact with drug and alcohol users as part of their work or in someway in their life. It provides a somewhat new look at this complex area by using a Transactional Analysis approach. This has been done before but rarely to the extent that one finds in this book. This provides a comprehensive statement about drug and alcohol use using the theory of Transactional Analysis as the underlying approach. Other approaches are also discussed, including the Gestalt approach and cognitive behavioral therapy as these also contribute significantly when working with substance users.

All the customary areas are covered including a theory of addiction, the assessment of the drug user and different motivations as to why people use drugs. This different approach allows for the development of new and innovative approaches to well known counselling problem areas. These are included in the book and have not been seen before in the literature.

Harm minimization is covered in detail. Central to the transactional analysis approach is the idea of therapeutic contracts. From this is described a technique called the harm reduction contract. This describes how the client and counsellor work together to develop a contract for the implementation of harm reduction strategies. It describes a four step process by which the drug user can make a harm reduction contact with the help of the counsellor. Also covered in the area of harm reduction is self harm and drug use, suicide and drug use, dealing with defense mechanisms in harm reduction counselling and so forth.

Another very common area in drug counselling is motivational interviewing. This is extensively covered in this book. By using Transactional Analysis one can develop two different types of motivational interviewing. The usual techniques involving the behavior approach are covered and this could be seen as the Adult ego state approach to this area. In addition to this, the Child ego state can be used as an avenue of motivational interviewing. This book describes a variety of Child ego state approaches. It opens up a whole new approach to motivational interviewing that has rarely been discussed before.

The most problematic type of drug user is the dependent drug user who is usually seen as the drug addict type of person. Considerable time in the book is spent looking at how this person functions and what counselling approaches may be successful with them. The approach in this book emphasizes the relationship between the drug and the drug user again using the Transactional Analysis principles of symbiosis and dependency. The drug dependent user develops a symbiotic relationship with the drug in the same way a person can develop a dependent relationship with a partner. Indeed this person will have a pattern of relationships in their life that tend to be dependent in nature such that the relationship they have to the drug is the same in nature. The approach described here looks at how one can end the dependent relationship with the drug and a variety of strategies are described.

YouTube video about book can be seen here:

This book is now stocked in 398 universities, colleges and training institutions around the world. See the list here:

Order form below

This book has also been translated into Serbian


Previous book published 2011.

Working with Suicidal Individuals - A Guide to Providing Understanding, Assessment and Support. 2011. Jessica Kingsley Publishers: London

Book cover

Working with Suicidal Individuals provides a comprehensive guide to understanding suicide, the assessment of risk, and the treatment and management of suicidal individuals.
It begins by covering the theory behind suicidal behaviour, using Transactional Analysis to explore the personality types of suicidal individuals and to understand their motivations. Factors that contribute to an individual becoming suicidal, such as mental illness, are also explored. A comprehensive system for the assessment of suicide risk is provided, including both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Finally, the author discusses different ways suicidal and pseudo-suicidal individuals can be managed and treated, including the 'no suicide contract' and redecision therapy. Case studies are included throughout to demonstrate the theory and practice. This book will be essential reading for all those working with a suicidal or at-risk individual including practitioners in health, social work, psychiatry, psychotherapy, psychology and counselling.

Contents - Chapters
Part 1. Understanding Suicide. 1. Introduction. 2. What is Suicide? 3. Transactional Analysis. 4. The Suicide Decision. 5. Modeling Suicidal Behavior. 6. Reactions to High Stress. 7. Suicide and Self-Harm.
Part 2. Assessing Suicide Risk. 8. Quantitative Measures of Assessing Suicide Risk. 9. Qualitative Measures of Assessing Suicide Risk.
Part 3. Supporting the Suicidal Individual. 10. The Suicide Secret and the Deliberate Suicide Risk. 11. Pseudo-Suicide, Suicide and Teenage Suicide. 12. Suicidal Ambivalence. 13. Suicidal Timelines. 14. The No-Suicide Contract. 15. Redecision Therapy. Epilogue. Appendix A: Stopper Analysis. References. Further Reading. Index.

This book won the award of High Commendation in the category of psychiatry at the 2011 British Medical Association book awards, Read about this at:

This book is now in over 615 libraries of universities, colleges and training institutions around the world. See the list here:

Background of the book can be found at:

and a video at

'The experience and competence of Tony White counselling suicidal clients is evident. He inspires confidence in others finding themselves working with such clients by his thorough analysis of suicide decisions, how to assess risk via a range of quantitative and qualitative tools, and how to contract effectively to support the client to live differently. Contemporary research into suicide is combined with the classical and redecision traditions of transactional analysis theories to provide an underpinning map to orient professional thinking and actions. Additionally he shares his expertise in working with high risk groups of prisoners and adolescents, and also describes working with those who self-harm, to create a useful and necessary guide.'
- Rosemary Napper, Teaching and Supervising Transactional Analyst (Counselling), British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy Accredited and President of the International Transactional Analysis Association 2009-2010

This book has also been translated into Korean

Other books by Tony White
Staying Alive book cover

Staying Alive: A handbook of the no suicide contract

This book addresses the important subject of suicide. Why do people come to take their own life, what are the signs which show up in a suicidal person, teenage suicide, anger and depression are just some of the areas covered. The idea that suicidal people make a decision early in life to harm them selves is presented along with case examples. The no suicide contract and no suicide cards are explained in detail as a means of assisting a person to stay alive when they are feeling self destructive. Also included is working with the terminally ill and using suicide threats as manipulation and power plays.  70 pages.

Adolesence Jpeg cover

Adolescence, Anger, and What to Do: A happy teenager is not a healthy teenager

This book looks at adolescence, anger and emotions in general. Tony presents his new ideas on these very topical subjects. Most people believe a healthy teenager is a happy teenager. This is not so. The normal teenager is often angry, rebellious, confused and can be quite insecure. To not feel these things is to miss a whole stage of development which is most unhealthy. Anger is a common problem emotion for humans. Tony shows how to understand it, and deal with it so one can access the positives that anger can provide. The curative powers of anger are described.  50 pages.

Create feeling cover Jpeg

Creative Feeling: How to understand and deal with your child’s feelings

This book was originally written to show parents how to deal with their children’s feelings. It is also however for adults who want to understand what feelings are and how to manage them in a simple and easy to understand way. This includes analyzing what feelings you allow or prohibit from yourself, as well as analyzing how you express the various feelings. Topics covered are: temporary and character feelings, teaching feelings, problems with feelings.  53 pages

How kids grow up picture

How Kids Grow Up and Leave Home: Two years old, four years old and adolescence.

This book looks at the bonding and separation humans go through in their lives. In particular it examines how children separate from parents and how parents separate from children. Written in a simple and easy to understand style it begins by describing how people become bonded or attached in relationships. Exercises are provided for self examination in this way. A new addition to TA theory is also given with the script imago, which provides a new way for relationship analysis. Other topics covered include: the separation cycle, how people show they have separation problems, ritualized separation. 78 pages.

Qty Total cost

___ The Teenage Mind:  New Ideas $20.00 _____

___ Working with suicidal individuals $30.00 _____

___ Working with drug and alcohol users $30.00 _____

Other books by Tony White
___ Staying alive $20.00 _____

___ Adolescence, anger & what to do $16.00 _____

___ How kids grow up & leave home $16.00 _____

___ Creative feeling $16.00 _____

___ Introduction to Transactional Analysis $16.00 _____

Subtotal _____
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Australia add $3.00
Asia/pacific add $10.00
Europe/USA add $13.00

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Send to:
Tony White, 136 Loftus Street, North Perth, 6006.
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Ph: [08] 9328 8993

Working with suicidal individuals - background to book

Background to writing of the book - Question and answers

Tony White

2011. Working with Suicidal Individuals - A Guide to Providing Understanding, Assessment and Support. Jessica Kingsley Publishers: London

Question: What are your ideas about the suicide bomber?

Answer: This book seeks to define suicide by asking if the suicide bomber is actually suicidal. A suicidal act is one where the primary intention of the behaviour is to kill self. If the suicide bomber’s main intention of exploding the bomb is to kill others and not self then one could argue that it is not a suicidal act. Furthermore it is said that once the suicide bomber has completed his task he achieves martyrdom. If the main intent of the suicide bomber is to achieve some status after death - martyrdom - then in the technical sense the act is not a suicidal one as the main intention was not to end his life.

Thus it seems feasible to conclude that some, if not most suicide bombers are not suicidal as their primary intention is not to end their own life. Instead they have some other motive for their actions and thus in the psychological sense of the word their behaviour is not suicidal.

Question: How did you come to work with suicidal individuals?

Answer: My counselling and therapy background is unusual in that both my parents were trainers and psychologists. I began my university and therapy training early and began running my first therapy groups with a cotherapist at age 22. I am now 53. It was a private practice setting and people kept coming so I kept running therapy groups even at that quite young age.

In private practice one takes who ever walks in through the consulting room door. Often you have no idea of what the problem is until the person sits down and starts talking. People presenting with suicidal thoughts and urges was not uncommon and this was my first introduction to the area of the suicidal individual. In this way over the years I have worked with a lot of depressed and many quite suicidal individuals.

However, I also had a personal interest in the area and began to specialise with the suicidal individual which culminated in 1991 when I wrote a book about the no suicide contract. At the personal level when I was about 17 and 18 years of age I made two suicide attempts. As an adult I have never made a suicide attempt and I am not a suicidal person. It is simply not an option for me. In my adult years there have been some very low times with the loss of loved ones and so forth. At these times I have never even thought of suicide let alone planned anything.

How could I make two attempts as a teenager and yet not be a suicidal person in my adult years? This is why the book includes a discussion of teenage suicide. The usual reason given for teenage suicide is that it is a time of extra stress, where these young people are not adults nor children, their bodies are changing and so forth. Whilst I agree with this explanation it is simplistic and certainly an incomplete explanation of why adolescence is a high risk stage for suicide. Through my own experience and study of teenagers I suggest that there is a more comprehensive explanation in that teenagers comprehend and understand suicide differently than the mature adult. They think differently about suicide.

Finally in the more recent years I worked in the prison system. My role was to co-ordinate the At Risk Management System. This was the organisational process set up to manage and identify suicidal and self harming inmates. How I came to do this was sort of by accident. A friend of mine worked in a prison and they needed some one for the co-ordinators job. He asked me if I wanted to do it, feeling like a needed a new project I said yes and they gave me the job. This meant I was working with suicidal and self harming men each and every day. My knowledge of the psyche of the suicidal person from age 18 to 70 increased at an exponential rate as a result of this. And that is how I ended up working with suicidal individuals.

Question: Why did you decide to write the book?

Answer: Over the years I had accumulated extensive knowledge of the area. I had written many articles for journals and magazines, had presented at many workshops and conferences on the area. In essence the book was already written before I took on the project and it was merely a matter of cut and paste the book together rather than writing it from the beginning.

Also, over the years I had developed some new ideas and methods of understanding and working with the suicidal. The literature on the suicide to my mind has been quite stagnant for some time. There are few new, innovative ideas stated and most of it tends to be picture straightening. I decided to produce the book so as to include some of these new ideas which I have never seen in the literature before.

Question: Who is the book for?

Answer: It is written in a user friendly style with theory that is readily understandable. It certainly is for anyone who works with or has to deal with suicidal people in the course of their work or day to day activities.

As it is easily understandable by the layman it would also give family and loved ones of a suicidal person a framework by which to understand what is going on with their distressed friend or relative. At least half of the book would provide this with the other half being about the treatment of and therapeutic management of the suicidal individual.

Question: Is it possible to ‘cure’ someone who is suicidal or what are the goals of treatment?

Answer: People display suicidal behaviour and make suicidal statements for a variety of reasons. There is a group of people who have made what is known as the suicide decision in childhood. From a psychological point of view this person could be considered the ‘truly’ suicidal person. Their psychological make up is structured such that suicide is a viable option for them to solve difficult problems at some point in their life. These people can be treated such that they can make a change to that early suicide decision and thus the likelihood of suicide being used as a problem solving technique in the future is greatly reduced.

As mentioned before the suicidal teenager has a different comprehension of what suicide is compared to the mature adult. Teenagers in this way are more managed through their difficult adolescence rather than cured of their suicidality. Others may suicide because of command hallucinations. That is the person is engaging in suicidal behaviour because they are experiencing hallucinations that command them to. In such instances if one ‘cures’ the psychotic hallucinations then the threat of suicide greatly reduces which is usually done with some regime of medication. There are other motives which can lead to suicidal actions and these are dealt with in a variety of ways.

Question: What is the most accurate way to assess suicide risk?

Answer: This book covers two different approaches to assessing suicide risk, the quantitative and qualitative approaches. In the literature one often sees the quantitative approach used which usually includes a list of features found in high risk groups. The unmarried, prisoners, mentally ill, the depressed, substances users and so forth. These are covered in depth in this book with a lot of new information added that I have accumulated over the last 20 years of working with the suicidal.

In the literature one rarely, if ever sees the qualitative approach discussed, especially outside the transactional analysis literature. This approach identifies the definitive aspect of the suicidal individual, that of the ‘suicide decision’. If one can make such a determination then a significant step in assessing the suicide risk of the individual has been achieved. One knows that the individual has suicide in their mind as a viable means to solve a problem at some time in their life.

This adds an extra dimension to suicide risk assessment. The vast majority of suicide risk assessments look only for those people who are at imminent risk of a suicide attempt. Whilst this is obviously very important the qualitative approach to suicide risk assessment allows one to ascertain the persons longer term suicide risk. If the suicide decision is identified then that person is a higher longer term suicide risk. Once diagnosed then monitoring the person is possible such that the suicidal crisis can be avoided earlier, rather than waiting for the imminent suicide risk to arrive. Or treatment can be applied so as to reduce the power of the suicide decision in the personality of the individual thus reducing the longer term suicide risk level.

Question: Tell us about the ‘no-suicide contract’ discussed in the book?

Answer: The literature has an enormous amount written about this topic and it is indeed a very divisive one. There has been much heated debate about the usefulness, or lack of usefulness, with the no-suicide contract. This book provides an explanation of why there has been such debate. The main reason is because many writers on the topic do not understand the theory underlying the no-sucide contract. The no-sucide contract originated within the Transactional analysis literature. Those who are not well informed about Transactional Analysis theory do not understand what the term no-sucide contract actually means.

This book explains the theory behind the no-sucide contract so that much of the heated debate can be avoided. For instance a no-suicide contract is no different from any other behavioural contract used in counselling. Any treatment contract is useful in certain circumstances and not in others with the no-suicide contract being the same. Those circumstances when the no-sucide contract is useful are articulated in this book. Then one is provided with a procedure to follow when the no-suicide contract is indicated and a procedure to follow when the no-sucide contract is contraindicated.

Book cover