2024 Conference Keynote Speaker Information


Larry Brendtro, PhD, LP 


Speaker Information: 

Larry K. Brendtro, PhD, LP, Professor Emeritus at Augustana University, is currently director of Reclaiming Youth at Risk which provides research, publications, and training in strength-based approaches to youth, families, and communities. (www.reclaimingyouth.org). He has wide experience as a youth worker, teacher, principal, psychologist, and author of 18 books and 200 articles. For fourteen years he was president of Starr Commonwealth serving troubled youth in Michigan and Ohio. He has taught at the University of Illinois, The Ohio State University, and at Augustana University, which hosts the annual Reclaiming Youth Seminars.. Dr. Brendtro trains professionals world-wide and is currently consulting with the Office of Refugee Resettlement on applying the Circle of Courage with unaccompanied children and youth from Latin America. He is an adoptive member of the Rosebud Lakota tribe. Larry and his late wife Janna have three adult children and seven grandchildren. Larry is now remarried to special educator Elaine Roberts, former President of the South Dakota Education Association.


Thursday Keynote Presentaiton...

Kids Who Outwit Adults

Our most difficult youth are given labels like oppositional, defiant, and similar deficit-based descriptors. But resilience researcher John Seita, reflecting on his own childhood experience sabotaging 15 court ordered placements, prefers to call these young people “adult-wary.”  Bearing the scars of relational trauma, they protect themselves by holding counselors and other aspiring helpers at bay. This presentation offers strategies to connect with these challenging children and teens, drawing from Kids Who Outwit Adults, co-authored by Dr. John Seita and John’s boyhood counselor, Dr. Larry Brendtro.

Learning objectives of Kids Who Outwit Adults:

  1. Understand the relationship-based process of turning trauma into resilience.
  2. Explore how the brain reads cues to identify friend or foe, leading to trust or distrust.
  3. Reframe oppositional behavior as protective reactions of coping with threat.
  4. Identify key strategies to connect with relationship-wary youth.

Friday Keynote Presentation... 

Raising Courageous Kids

Throughout millennia of human history, most children grew up in what anthropologist Inge Bolin calls cultures of respect. Lakota psychologist Martin Brokenleg uses the term Circle of Courage to describe how Indigenous peoples built resilience by focusing on meeting four core needs: Belonging, Mastery, Independence, and Generosity. Now, a wealth of evidence from neuroscience and positive psychology validates this traditional wisdom. When these developmental needs are met, children thrive.  When neglected, children show a host of problems. And as Abraham Maslow observed, effective treatment focuses on meeting developmental needs. This keynote draws from the book Reclaiming Youth at Risk: Futures of Promise, now in its third edition, co-authored by Larry Brendtro, with Augustana colleagues Martin Brokenleg and Steve Van Bockern.

Learning objectives of Raising Courageous Kids:

  1. Define evidence-based principles as a consilience of knowledge from Values, Science, and Experience.
  2. Integrate knowledge on rearing respectful children from Indigenous cultural wisdom and modern research.
  3. Identify how the new science of epigenetics informs our understanding of resilience.
  4. Explore the four universal developmental needs of the Circle of Courage.




   The South Dakota Counseling Association has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 2042. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. The South Dakota Counseling Association is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs. 

This organization, South Dakota Counseling Association approval ID 1058, is approved as a provider for continuing education by the: South Dakota Board of Social Work Examiners.

Sadie Hanson-ACEP Administrator
Po Box 38
Platte SD 57369
[email protected]