FREE resources - all tightrope versions + publications




Drawing on research from criminology, exploitation, substance misuse and mental health studies. The Teen Tightrope is for professionals (and parents) to talk about the teenager's goals, values, strengths, triggers and safety.

What's included?

An evidence based toolkit to understand adolescent risk (offending, substance misuse, mental health) and what supports resilience. 

Covering the 9 areas of the tightrope:

  • Central values

  • What might falling off look like

  • Future goals

  • Protective foundations

  • Muddy Path

  • Balancing Strengths

  • Pressures making steps higher

  • Safety Net

  • Steps Down

Who is it for?

Practitioners who work with adolescents

  • youth justice

  • social care 

  • mental health

  • substance misuse

  • youth service

What else?

Workers must have the skills and experience to manage the sensitive nature of the conversations that can unfold and are responsible for how the tightrope is utilised in practice.

Reviews - from practitioners who used the tightrope with young people in London:

“I got more in that tightrope in one session than I’d done in 10 weeks working with the young person”

~ Wandsworth Locality Youth Work Manager (working with CSE and gangs)

“[Young people] have been able to identify intentions and motivations which they hadn’t previously.”

~ Practitioner in Lambeth Youth Offending Service

“[Young people] can see what’s going wrong and the patterns…They can identify better choices…It’s visual and they get it.”

~ Feedback from young people and workers in Wandsworth

“What a can of worms (information) in 10 years I have not managed to gain so much info in one session using such an effective assessment tool. Wow…..”

~ Bail and Remand Officer in Hammersmith and Fulham

Watch videos for more information


Professional Tightrope

Designed for health and social care practitioners (and applicable to any professional). An evidence-based tool to reflect on organisational and personal pressures impacting on your ability to balance in your role.

What's included?

An evidence based toolkit to understand what creates imbalance and stability for a practitioner in health or social care services. 

Covering the 9 areas of the tightrope:

  • Goals for the future

  • Values and motives that support practice

  • The warning signs of burnout 

  • Past positive experiences 

  • Worrying past experiences 

  • Practioner’s strengths

  • Compounding concerns and mounting pressures 

  • Who is the safety net

  • Identifying steps to move towards the goals

Who is it for?

Managers in health and social care services who want to support practitioners with their personal development and resilience. 

What else?

A sensitive coaching approach is the best for exploring a worker's resilience. The workbook can be used by managers and professionals to support a reflective process.


Personal Tightrope

An introduction workbook to the Tightrope Framework, supporting you through one goal and identifying the past positive and negative experiences that impact change, what current pressures or beliefs trigger 'falling off' and to help you identify your strengths and values to take action

What's included?

An introduction to the Tightrope Framework as a personal wellbeing tool. 

Using a simple template you will be supported to identify one personal goal and consider what might be pulling you away or pushing you toward this goal. By clicking the link you will be taken to a sign-in form and then emailed the workbook and a brief training video.

Who is it for?

Anyone interested in understanding more about the tightrope framework from a personal perspective and not yet ready to go deeper with the course or coaching programs.

What else?

If you use this tool on a regular basis, along with the tapping demonstration provided in the training video, you can make progress towards your goals!


Parenting Orders: The Parents Attend Yet the Kids Still Offend

Youth Justice 2012 12: 118, August 2012

This article draws from a wider thesis completed at Bedfordshire University (Vlugter, 2009 ‘Too Little, Too Late: Parenting Orders as a form of crime prevention’). It presents results from an empirical case study that involved 148 cases and examines the circumstances of parents attending programmes, their attendance and the young people’s recorded offending before and after the intervention, considering the type of intervention and number of sessions attended.

This blog also drew on some of the wider thesis (Vlugter, 2009) and provides data that indicates that a large majority of parents of ‘high end’ offenders had called for help before their child’s first recorded offence. The help was often sought from statutory services but with negative results. This paper considers how professionals can support families earlier and more effectively

This conference paper presents a tool that encourages the engagement of the young person in the analysis of their risks, strengths and needs and in the planning of actions based on a balanced and transparent holistic assessment. It will introduce the analogy of the Tightrope, outline how it fits with current assessment frameworks to support an integrated approach and considers the role of the practitioner to apply a person-centred, strength-based approach with the tool. This paper will outline why an integrated and interactive holistic tool for volatile youth would be of benefit to both young people and professionals from various disciplines and concludes with an invitation to experienced practitioners to trial the tool in wider practice.

This post was in response to a colleague’s question asking how these popular frameworks and discourse might work together. The analogy of the Tightrope can apply to both. While this blog doesn’t mention the toolkit, the cards within the toolkit do include “factors” that range from the individual to the family, peer group, school, community and political contexts.