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Developing a Sense of Self
A Workbook of Tenets & Tactics for Adolescent Girls
Dorothy A. Kelly
ISBN: 978-0-87101-366-8. 2006. Item #3665. 146 pages.

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A unique and useful guide for adolescent girls to learn about self and how to make a positive difference in today’s society. Developing a Sense of Self focuses on communication, doing what’s right, and finding your center. It also encourages girls to learn about inspiration, strength, and courage to dream and to live a productive life. This book is designed to generate thought and self-discovery. The process of critical thinking can facilitate insight, direction, and perspective. Overall, Developing a Sense of Self emphasizes the whole being of a person—mind, body, heart and spirit.


PART I. Beginnings

Chapter 1. What Is a Sense of Self?

Chapter 2. 55 Tenets for Growth

PART II. Practical Tactics

Chapter 3. About You as a Person

Chapter 4. About Priorities and Values

Chapter 5. About Relationships

Chapter 6. About Plans for Your Future and Practical Skills

PART III. Endings

Chapter 7. Your Own Wisdom

Chapter 8. What Have You Learned?

PART IV. Guidance for Instructors

Chapter 9. Introduction

Chapter 10. Rationale

Chapter 11. Using a Multifacted Approach

Appendix. Additional Resources

About the Author
It is healthy to discover yourself in positive ways, without competition – except maybe with yourself. You can feel powerful and productive because of who you are as a human being. When you feel whole in this way, you can survive just about anything in life. Your identity and security cannot be threatened by events or other people. You learn what is enough, what is too much, and what is good enough.

Shared wisdom can be enlightening and satisfying. This workbook is about communication, doing what’s right, and finding your center. It’s about community, self-discovery, balance, perspective, and character. It’s about recognizing and developing your strengths and then relying on them. Most of all, it’s about finding self-definition so that you can be who you are supposed to be and live the life you are supposed to live.

Once found and nurtured, such strengths can keep you centered, focused, peaceful, confident, and resourceful. The benefits to you and others can be tremendous.

This book is not therapy and is not intended to replace therapy in any way. It does touch on some issues that are best served in professional settings, and readers should seek appropriate help as needed. Clinicians, however, may find some of the materials helpful as a complement to their programs. Teachers can incorporate some of the recommendations into their curricula.

For adolescent girls – Readers in this book – you are approaching adulthood. This is a time of changes, hormones, expectations, responsibilities, options, relationships, and growth. You’ll discover who you are and where you want to go in life. This book does not offer answers so much as guidelines and is an attempt to raise concerns, point out pitfalls, and draw out the best from you. It’s about finding what’s already there and using it in positive ways. It’s about the art of self-knowledge, self-acceptance, balance, and perspective.

Consider each Tenet, or common-sense recommendation, carefully. Perhaps modify a few for your needs. You may even pass on a few others to friends. You will think, evaluate, and become more conscious of who you are and the choices you make. You may become more in control of your life.
Perhaps you've heard many of the Tenets in this book before – often in the form of advice, perhaps from your mother, a teacher, or a friend. You even may have said a few yourself while talking with a friend or younger sibling.

People tend to get wiser as we get older. We begin to collect wisdom for our own purposes as well as for others. It's part of a process in which knowledge, particularly tailored for the feminine spirit, is passed on to others.

Much of this wisdom is common sense – life lessons that are already there, deep inside you. Sometimes it's a matter of listening to that little voice or asking yourself hard questions. The problem with these life lessons is that they often become apparent only after a crisis or hardship. They often come to us in painful ways.

Some of us repeat scenes in life in which the opportunity to learn is there, but we somehow miss it. For others, the lessons are never learned. In all cases, however, it takes effort and courage to learn and apply the lessons to your life. You have to be willing to see, learn, and grow. You must realize that life is a long, learning experience, filled with potholes and forks in the road that everyone travels. The challenge is how you react to the potholes – how you develop as a person.

Think of the 55 Tenets in this book as a way to smooth out a few of the bumps that lie in the road ahead of you. You may find that some of the Tenets do not apply to you or that you have already learned them. Still, it may be wise to reconsider them, as they may provide additional perspectives. Other Tenets may apply to you with some modifications.

Read each Tenet with your Instructor (and group). Think about what each means in general and how it may or may not apply to you. Below each Tenet you'll find blank lines. There, paraphrase each in a way that makes sense to you – a way of individualizing your thoughts. Discuss your insights with your Instructor (and group).

When you complete the 55 Tenets, read the practical Tactics. Here you will find exercises to put the notions of the Tenets into action. Your Instructor will guide you through the activities, which may change how you look at yourself and view the world.

The book also includes additional Tenets, to be written by you. Space is provided to describe other life lessons you have discovered – ones that you may pass on to others. Again, the insights are already there – it's just a matter of listening to that little voice. You have far more wisdom than you know.

At the end, you will reflect on all that you've learned. You will write your thoughts and discuss them with others. At this point, Reader, you will have grown much and have taken the first healthy steps toward adulthood.
Dorothy A. Kelly, DA, is professor in the Department of Speech at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue, New York. A speech-language pathologist-teacher of the hearing impaired (certification term), she has more than 30 years of clinical and education experience with children, adolescents, and adults. In addition, she is editorial consultant to Advance for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists. She maintains a small private practice for assessment of central auditory processing disorder.

Dr. Kelly has published several books and publications, including Central Auditory Processing Disorder: Strategies for Use With Children and Adolescents (1995); A Winner’s Workbook: Reproducible Activities for Children with Attention Deficit Disorder (1998); TheraGuide: Understanding Central Auditory Processing Disorder (1998); The Art of Following Directions (1999); and Screening for Central Auditory Processing Difficulties (2001). In addition, she has published numerous articles and online courses and has lectured extensively on central auditory processing disorder.

Dr. Kelly holds permanent New York State certification as teacher of the speech and hearing handicapped, elementary/nursery education, and classes for the deaf. She is licensed in New York State as a speech-language pathologist and holds the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s Certificate of Clinical Competence. She received a doctor of arts in communicative disorders from Adelphi University, a master of arts in speech-language pathology and audiology from Hofstra University, and a bachelor of science in deaf education/elementary/nursery education from the State University of New York, College at Buffalo.
The book Developing a Sense of Self: A Workbook of Tenets and Tactics for Adolescent Girls is an excellent tool for practitioners that are attempting to engage adolescent girls. The book examines a range of general relevant issues, such as the health of adolescent girls, self-esteem building, planning for the future, negotiating peer pressure, and identifying the difference between a healthy and non-healthy relationship. Each area allows for further exploration through exercises, areas for self-reflection and journaling, and additional questions that can be asked to further explore the adolescent’s perspective and thinking. Towards the end of the book, girl’s have an opportunity to reflect on what they have learned, offer their own ideas of what is needed to strengthen their sense of self, and examine the next steps they can take on their journey. Practitioners will find the questions and issues posed in the book helpful with bringing up sensitive issues and having a place to obtain additional information for the helping process. In addition, guidance is provided to practitioners at the end of the book to offer ways of using the book and further identifying the needs of the girls. The book appears to be primarily geared towards older adolescent girls and should be used with a practitioner as opposed to a girl using the book alone.

Tricia Bent-Goodley, Ph.D., MSW