Essential Proteen

Essential Proteen
A Life Skills Program for Helping Teens Succeed
Facilitator's Manual
High School
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Essential Proteen: A Life Skills Program for Helping Teens Succeed


For grades 9-12, the Essential Proteen program:

  • Teaches the importance of understanding and applying the concepts of Goals, Motivation, Opportunity & Decision-Making, Knowing Yourself, and Managing & Facilitating Change.
  • Develops the skills of students who are already self-aware and motivated, and for increasing knowledge and skills in students who are challenged in these areas.
  • Provides students with fundamental tools to navigate and plan for their personal, academic and professional lives.
  • Teaches students to learn to become better decision-makers, have ownership of their choices, and eventually feel confident and secure as they mature into adulthood.

The Facilitator's Manual provides step-by-step guidelines for leading a group, teaching the skills, and creating a supportive environment. Appendices contain program feedback surveys, peer mentoring guidelines, pre- and posttests, and information for parents.

Together, the Facilitator's Manual and the Student Journal (described below) provide a well-designed and easy-to-use life skills program that can be used with large or small groups in schools and other settings. This program has been accepted by the American School Counseling Association as a professional resource.

Book Reviews

"The Essential ProTeen is a user-friendly curriculum that can be utilized in collaboration with content teachers such as English, Health and Physical Education, or in a group context . . . . It is a great resource for school counselors."

—Deborah Hardy, New York School Counselor's Association Newsletter

"The material was very helpful in stimulating discussion. My students didn't want the course to end."

—Tim Rinehart, EP Facilitator, Lakewood High School, Ohio

Comments from Students

"Learning about the extrinsic and intrinsic motivators helped me a lot. I learned how to motivate myself better and also how others motivate me."

—Brad, 15, Freshman, Glenbrook North High School

"I think learning about motivation will make me a more hard working individual. I especially liked being able to interview my mom and learn about her goals and decision-making skills."

—Michael, 15, Sophomore, Grayslake Community High School

"The section on goals was really helpful to me. I never knew the difference between short and long-term goals. Learning about this showed me how to set goals and how to make it more manageable toreach those goals."

—Rendell, 15, Freshman, Glenbrook North High School

"The program was really helpful and allowed me to share how I felt about these subjects."

—Madeline, 16, Junior, Deerfield High School

"Overall it was a really great program because these topics never entered my mind before. Now I can see how I can do something about my future and my life. I realize now that I am not the only one who wants to think about these things in order to make better choices."

—Stephanie, 17, Junior, Glenbrook North High School

"It was an experience that helped me realize my true potential and value in my life."

—Dan, 17, Senior, New Trier High School

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • About the Program
  • Suggestions for Implementation
  • Creating a Supportive Environment
  • Guidelines for Leading a Group
  • Lesson Plans
    • Unit 1: Goals - Students learn how to write and set both short and long-term goals. They learn how to determine if a goal is realistic, and how to write a goal that is measurable in order to track progress. Finally, students grow to understand how setting appropriate goals can help them to clarify exactly what it is they would like to accomplish.
    • Unit 2: Motivation - Students actively explore what motivates them to accomplish tasks, and why motivation is so important in achieving goals. They discuss when they are easily motivated, and in what situations they find it difficult to become motivated. Finally, they examine how to become motivated in those difficult situations.
    • Unit 3: Opportunity & Decision-Making - Students learn how to recognize opportunity based upon their motivators and goals, and how to seek counsel from family, friends, and professionals when making important decisions.
    • Unit 4: Know Yourself - Knowing one's self involves making life choices based upon what one values and holds as personal truth. Students explore their likes and dislikes, recognize what their strengths and weaknesses are, and identify what characteristics they see as making up their true personality. Once this is done, students are helped to make connections to the previous units by investigating how important it may be to base motivations, goals, and decisions in their true selves.
    • Unit 5: Change - This unit demonstrates to students that they can manage and facilitate change based on their values and goals. This final unit taps into each student's ability to be responsible for their own path in life, and to recognize the potential impact that they can have on their own lives and in the lives of others.


  • A: Program Feedback Surveys
  • B: Peer Mentoring
  • C: Pretest/Posttest
  • D: Parent Connections
  • E: Everyday Lessons-Enhancing the Learning Environment
  • Resources
Author Interview

Mia Adler Ozair (formerly Mia Sharon Adler) provides insightful and practical information about her easy-to-use life skills program for teens in this recent interview for Research Press. Essential Proteen: A Life Skills Program for Helping Teens Succeed has been accepted by the American School Counseling Association (ASCA) as a professional resource.

What do you believe are the major issues and challenges teens face today?

Some of the issues that teens face today are age-old and ever-lasting. For example, deciding on whom to associate with, how to navigate relationships with parents, family, and friends, and decisions surrounding peer pressure on matters of sex, drugs, and general behavior are all still prevalent. Today, however, teens face a remarkable new set of challenges relating to internet exposure and social media interaction. Things like easy access to adult information, pornography, and cyber-bullying are very real and can play a damaging role in the lives of teens. The role of the Essential Proteen program is to build up a teen’s sense of self-understanding so that he or she will feel strong enough to make thoughtful and responsible decisions when facing any of the above mentioned challenges.

What are some ways that teachers and parents can better support teens?

Communication is key. Most teens, if they know they will be met with an open heart and a non-judgmental ear, will reach out for help to teachers, counselors, and/or parents. Our job to support teens is to, at the most basic level; let them know we are there for them unconditionally and that whatever situation is presenting itself will be dealt with fairly and with care.

In what ways can a school, program, or community center implement the Essential Proteen program?

The beauty of this program is that it is highly flexible and can be woven in to almost any environment. Although the units are inter-related, they are not dependent upon each other and therefore can be presented as an entire course or based upon one specific unit. I’ve seen the program offered independently through counseling centers in schools or community programs, as well as integrated into a health or other academic course. The program is also excellent in small group format or as a tool for one-on-one coaching with a teen to help structure the work together.

What was your motivation for creating the Essential Proteen program?

I love teens and the period of adolescent development. So much is taking place in the lives of teens that will mold them as they enter adulthood. My goal with the program is to teach essential life skills that can help create strong, responsible individuals. Many of the mistakes that teens make are simply because they didn’t know better or have a tool box with great tools and skills to choose from. This course changes all of that. This course empowers teens to make educated decisions that will support them as they mature in life.

What would you say is the most profound feedback you have heard about the Essential Proteen program?

There are many testimonials on the Research Press website that I love reviewing. When I have a student come to me or write to me telling me that this program will enable them to work towards their dreams and goals, and that the skills they have learned through this program had a life-changing impact, to me that is what it is all about. To see those light-bulb moments while teaching the course, to have teachers share with me the insights their students reveal through the journal—it can’t get any better than that!


In-service training or consultation can be provided for schools, facilities, or organizations nationwide. For more information and available dates, please contact:

Mia Adler Ozair, MA, LPCC, NCC
Beverly Hills Professional Clinical Counseling, Inc.
6399 Wilshire Blvd #1021
Los Angeles CA 90048

Office: 310.464.5226

Component/Ancillary Items: 

Essential Proteen

A Life Skills Program for Helping Teens Succeed
Student Journal
Essential Proteen: A Life Skills Program for Helping Teens Succeed
High School
Item Number: