Having Domains Conversations with Young People

Having Domains Conversations with Young People

HeadStart Kent: Guidance on having Domains Conversations Daniel and Wassell (2002)

Having Domains Conversations with Young People

There are six areas in our lives where we can promote resilience. We call these domains. Resilience is the ability to cope and bounce back when things go wrong. On the following page you’ll find a summary of each of the resilience domains and examples of statements a young person may say in order to RAG (red, amber, and green) rate each domain. These statements have been written by Kent’s young people and are used in the HeadStart Young People’s Passport.

Here are some tips on getting started when having a Domains Conversation with a young person:

  • The Domains Conversation is a toolto help you have confident and strength focussed conversations with young people. If you have the option of choosing when to have a conversation with a young person, think of who is best to have this conversation and think of your environment – use a table, for example, and think of your body language to create a calm atmosphere.
  • Ask the young person to read the consent box at the bottom of the page and to sign/date it if they are happy for their information to be shared.
  • Explain each domain (using the guidance on the next page, if appropriate) and the four categories on the mapping tool (Self, family, significant others, wider community).
  • Explain to the young person that the domains can link with one another, for example, a strong friendship domain could be used for a friend from school who may help a young person improve their talents and interests by getting them to go along to a school club.Here the young person will be using a strong (green) domain to boost a weaker (red or amber) domain.
  • If needed, model one of the domains yourself as an example. The young person may be confused at first but don’t panic!
  • Give the young person 3-4 minutes to RAG rate their domains using three coloured pens. This must be their own views and not others.If you don’t have red, amber and green pens the young person could write the letters on instead, e.g. R, A and G.

What next?

  • They now have an accessible, visual representation of their lives through the domains.
  • Focus on the greens first. Ask them what is going well in their lives? Ask them why they put green for there, etc.?
  • Allow the conversation to flow. The young person should lead the conversation but you may need to prompt with further questions. (See page three of this Guidance Document). Don’t overthink the conversation – you are likely to be having these sorts of conversations on a regular basis but maybe not covering all of the domains and in this detail.
  • Gradually move on to amber and reds – ask the young person why they chose that colour. This may happen organically or you may need to ask further questions.
  • Ask what would make a ‘red’ better? – This will become an action to be written in the table on the domains sheet. There may be just one action for one domain or the young person may want more actions to be written down, this is personal to them. It is not necessary to have an action for each domain.
  • If appropriate, you may suggest the young person visits the school or community safe space/s,see a peer mentor, try online counselling, or access one of the other HeadStart services, e.g. online counselling, volunteer mentor, intensive mentor, talents and interests grant, family group transition work. (HeadStart services available in Swale and Gravesham until July 2019 and in Ashford, Canterbury and Shepway from January 2018 until December 2019) Please indicate in the table on the domains sheet if you offer any of these options to the young person and if they take them up.
  • Go back to a green to finish on a positive. Basic details of the conversation should then be inputted on the spreadsheet sent to the HeadStart lead, to be returned to Sarah Collins by the 25th of the following month. You may choose for all workers to pass on their domains records to one member of staff who inputs all the information.
  • You or a colleague will then meet again with this young person after an agreedtime to review their actions (see reverse of sheet) and RAG rate their domains again, if still appropriate.You should then input the necessary information on the spreadsheet sent to the HeadStart lead, to be returned to Sarah Collins by the 25th of the following month.

If you are unsure of the sorts of questions you could ask a young person to enable them to RAG rate their domains, the following examples may be helpful in having a Domains Conversation.

Secure base

  • Do you have someone important in your life at the moment?
  • What’s your relationship like with your parent/s or carer/s?
  • Is there anywhere you feel safe in your community?


  • Are there any subjects you enjoy?
  • What would you like most to achieve this term?
  • Is there anyone outside of school who supports you with school work?


  • Who are your friends? Do you have a best friend?
  • Are there any opportunities outside of school for you to make new friends?
  • What characteristics do you think are important to make and keep friends?

Talents and interests

  • What hobbies, activities and other things are you interested in?
  • Are there any activities you do or places you go together with your family?
  • Is there a family friend or significant person at school who could help you to take up a new interest?

Positive values

  • Do you ever find it difficult to let others know how you are feeling?
  • Are you good at sticking to rules and boundaries?
  • Do you ever help other people?

Social competencies

  • Can you usually get through a day without being told off?
  • Which characteristics do you have which mean you get on with others?
  • Is there someone at home or at school who makes you follow rules?