Peterson, Jean Sunde 1941-

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PETERSON, Jean Sunde 1941-

PERSONAL: Born January 3, 1941, in Estherville, IA; daughter of Elvin (a farmer) and Sylvia (a homemaker) Sunde; married Reuben Peterson (a university professor), June 3, 1963; children: Sonia, Nathan. Ethnicity: "Caucasian, Norwegian heritage." Education: Augustana College, B.A., 1962, M.A.T., 1982; University of Iowa, M.A., 1991, Ph.D., 1995. Religion: Lutheran. Hobbies and other interests: Writing, music, gardening.

ADDRESSES: Home—4412 North Shining Armor Lane, West Lafayette, IN 47906. Office—Department of Educational Studies, BRNG, Purdue University, 100 North University St., West Lafayette, IN 47907; fax: 765-496-1228. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: Educator and guidance counselor. High school English teacher, 1962-66, 1975-85; teacher and counselor in gifted education, 1985-90; instructor in teaching methods, 1972-88; counselor-educator, 1995—; licensed professional counselor, 1996—; Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, associate professor of educational studies.

MEMBER: National Association for Gifted Children, American Counseling Association, American School Counseling Association, Association for Counselor Education and Supervision.

AWARDS, HONORS: South Dakota Teacher of the Year Award; Award for Excellence in Research, American MENSA Education & Research Foundation; Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award, Augustana College; Spirit of Excellence Award, International Black Hills Seminars; Best Book for the Teen Age citation, New York Public Library, and Midwest Independent Publishers Association Award, both for Talk with Teens about Self and Stress: Fifty Guided Discussions for School and Other Groups.

WRITINGS:

Talk with Teens about Self and Stress: Fifty Guided Discussions for School and Other Groups, Free Spirit (Minneapolis, MN), 1993.

Talk with Teens about Feelings, Family, Relationships, and the Future: Fifty Guided Discussions for School and Other Groups, Free Spirit (Minneapolis, MN), 1995.

Contributor to books, including Counseling the Gifted and Talented, edited by L. Silverman, Love (Denver, CO), 1992; Preparing Counselors and Therapists: Creating Constructivist and Developmental Programs, edited by G. McAuliffe, C. Lovell, and K. Eriksen, Donning Publishers, 2000; Underserved Gifted Populations, Hampton Press (Cresskill, NJ), 2002; Counseling Children and Adolescents, 3rd edition, edited by A. Vernon, Love (Denver, CO), 2003; and Mentoring for Talent Development, edited by K. McClusky and A. M. Mays, Reclaiming Youth International (Lennox, SD), in press. Contributor to journals and magazines, including Journal for Specialists in Group Work, Journal for the Education of the Gifted, Research Briefs, Death Studies, Journal of Counseling and Development, Journal of Adolescent Research, Gifted Child Quarterly, Roeper Review, Gifted Child Today, and Gifted.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Research on topics related to counselor education, including bullying among gifted children, why non-mainstream children aren't selected, and the social and emotional concerns of gifted youth.

SIDELIGHTS: With many years of teaching and counseling experience behind her, Jean Sunde Peterson has determined that one of the best methods for helping students to steer through the difficult and often confusing teenage years is to get them to talk. Often, though, parents and educators have trouble getting children to open up. Realizing this, Peterson wrote two books that function as guide manuals to help adults create environments in which children feel comfortable enough to discuss their concerns, as well as their thoughts on life in general.

Peterson's two books are the culmination of her years of conducting discussion groups with students. Talk with Teens about Self and Stress: Fifty Guided Discussions for School and Other Groups provides a blueprint for adults who would like to lead discussion sessions with teenagers. Peterson targets teachers, counselors, parents, and youth leaders who want to have a better understanding of adolescents and help them through developmental transitions. "Through the groups, students gain self-awareness, and that in turn helps them to make better decisions, solve problems, and deal more effectively with their various environments," Peterson writes in the book, describing the goal of the sessions. In the introductory chapter, she gives a basic description of what the sessions are, how to form groups, how to attract "difficult" and reluctant children, guidelines for individuals who want to lead groups, and a special note for parents. The book is organized into three sections: the self, the self and others, and stress. Peterson includes sample sessions dealing with each of these subjects. She also gives an array of topics for focused discussion, such as "Personal Strengths and Limitations," "Perfectionism," "When We Need Courage," "How Others See Us," "Tolerance and Compassion," "Substance Abuse," and "Responding to Authority." Each of the session topics includes a list of objectives and suggestions, as well as activity sheets, background information, and ideas for concluding the session.

Talk with Teens about Self and Stress struck a chord with some critics who appreciated it for its altruistic value. Reviewing the book for Voice of Youth Advocates, Evie Wilson-Lingbloom called it an "outstanding guidebook" for adults grappling with creating supportive relationships with teens, as well as a "welcome resource." Likewise, Bruce A. Maloof in Science Books & Films admired the project's objective. However, Maloof felt that the book's message may not reach its intended audience; it is too advanced for inexperienced group leaders and does not provide much new material for experienced counselors.

Peterson's second book, Talk with Teens about Feelings, Family, Relationships, and the Future: Fifty Guided Discussions for School and Other Groups, expands the scope of the first book. The guidelines presented could be used in community settings, in treatment centers, or in a classroom setting, particularly in a health, home economics, social science, or language arts class. In a thorough introduction, Peterson describes the intent of the guided sessions, how to organize them, how to adjust sessions for various types of children, and how to recruit children. She also explains how the reader can perform a self-assessment to determine his or her capability to lead sessions. Guidelines and tips for leaders on how to behave ethically and how to begin and end sessions are included. In her review of Talk with Teens about Feelings, Family, Relationships, and the Future for Voice of Youth Advocates, Susan Rosenzweig noted that it is "rare" that a guidebook "is as strong on process as it is on content." "This is an excellent, highly recommended resource," Rosenzweig wrote.

Peterson once told CA: "Almost all my research and writing has been practitioner-oriented, and my teaching and clinical work continue to provide many avenues to explore. Each successive part of my varied career evolved rather seamlessly from what came previously. My writing interests have matched my career development, with attention to English-teaching methodology first, then to the affective concerns of special school populations, then to sociological and anthropological perspectives on teacher-student interaction, and finally to issues in counselor education. I hope to continue to write well into retirement."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Children's Bookwatch, March, 1994, p. 8; October, 1995, p. 1.

Kliatt, March, 1996, p. 30.

Science Books & Films, April, 1994, Bruce A. Maloof, review of Talk with Teens about Self and Stress: Fifty Guided Discussions for School and Other Groups, p. 70.

Voice of Youth Advocates, April, 1994, Evie Wilson-Lingbloom, review of Talk with Teens about Self and Stress, p. 58; April, 1996, Susan Rosenzweig, review of Talk with Teens about Feelings, Family, Relationships, and the Future: Fifty Guided Discussions for School and Other Groups, pp. 65-66.

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