VIDEO: Finding the Hero in Troubled Youth

Ken Hardy on Trauma Treatment that Taps into the Hero that Resides in All Youth

In the black-and-white popular view of trauma, people who have gone through life-threatening or injurious experiences either grow up to be innocent victims or damaged villains, with little room for the shades of gray therapists frequently encounter in their work. Therapists know that people who survive trauma are varied, flawed, strong, and most of all, human. That’s why in choosing material for our virtual conference, we made sure to include sessions on trauma that focus on building resilience and resources, even among clients who are triggering, difficult, or perpetrators themselves.

Ken Hardy, director of the Eikenberg Institute for Relationships, recognizes not only the humanity of difficult youth, but also the heroism that allows them to survive in the midst of overwhelming chaos. Working with young people who regularly inhabit the roles of both victim and perpetrator, Ken makes sure to build the foundation of his therapy on clients’ redeeming qualities. In this clip, he gives an example of finding the hero in a client with a family history of incarceration.





Rich Simon

Richard Simon, PhD, founded Psychotherapy Networker and served as the editor for more than 40 years. He received every major magazine industry honor, including the National Magazine Award. Rich passed away November 2020, and we honor his memory and contributions to the field every day. 

Kenneth V. Hardy

Kenneth V. Hardy, PhD, is director of the Eikenberg Institute for Relationships and professor of marriage and family therapy at Drexel University.