Larry Brendtro

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Larry K. Brendtro, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist, author and advocate for children and youth at risk.


Larry K. Brendtro was born on July 26, 1940 in South Dakota. He married Janna (Agena) in 1973 and they have three grown children. The couple resides in the Black Hills of South Dakota.[1]


Brendtro obtained his B.A. from Augustana College (South Dakota), a master’s degree from South Dakota State University, and a doctorate from the University of Michigan from the Combined Program in Education and Psychology with additional studies in Social Work.[2]

Professional History[edit]

Brendtro has served as a professor of Special Education in behavioral disorders at Augustana College and has taught at the University of Michigan, University of Illinois, and Ohio State University.[3] Brendtro is the past president of Starr Commonwealth in Michigan and Ohio.[4] Brendtro, along with Dr. Martin Brokenleg, created the Circle of Courage model which is based on the universal principle that to be emotionally healthy all youth need a sense of belonging, mastery, independence and generosity. This idea sparked the Reclaiming Youth movement and is the basis for numerous books and publications. He is a licensed psychologist and has authored over two hundred publications including twelve books.[5]

Brendtro founded the Circle of Courage® Institute which creates training materials and other resources for those who work with troubled youth. In 1992, Brendtro and Nicholas J. Long founded the quarterly journal Reclaiming Children and Youth in order to advance research and practice related to the Circle of Courage®.[6] In 1997 he founded Reclaiming Youth International, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to the development and dissemination of proactive policy, training, research, programs and strategies to better serve children and youth who are in conflict.[7] Reclaiming Youth International merged with Circle of Courage Institute in 2012 and became a member of the Starr Global Learning Network.[8]

In 2005, Brendtro and Lesley du Toit developed Response Ability Pathways (RAP) Training to educate youth workers on how to respond to the needs of troubled youth rather than react to their problem behavior.[9] Thousands of people worldwide have taken RAP.[10]
Brendtro is a former member of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, which is chaired by the US Attorney General.[11]


Currently, Brendtro is the Dean of the Starr Commonwealth Global Learning Network and senior editor of Reclaiming Children and Youth.[12] Brendtro continues to write and develop books and programs based on the Circle of Courage model and trains professionals worldwide.[13]

Books Authored[edit]

The Developmental Audit: Strength Based Assessments with Kids in Conflict, by Larry Brendtro and Janna Brendtro, 2010 Circle of Courage Institute at Starr Commonwealth

Deep Brain Learning: Pathways to Potential with Challenging Youth by Larry K. Brendtro, PhD, Martin L. Mitchell, EdD, and Herman J. McCall EdD, 2009 Circle of Courage Institute and Starr Commonwealth

The Resilience Revolution: Discovering Strengths in Challenging Kids by Larry K. Brendtro and Scott J. Larson, 2006 Solution Tree

RAP: Response Ability Pathways: Restoring Bonds of Respect by Larry Brendtro and Lesley du Toit, 2005 Circle of Courage

Reclaiming our Prodigal Sons and Daughters: A Practical Approach for Connecting with Youth in Conflict by Scott Larson and Larry Brendtro, 2003 Solution Tree

Troubled Children and Youth: Turning Problems into Opportunities by Larry Brendtro and Mary Shahbazian, 2003 Research Press (IL)

Kids Who Outwit Adults, John R Seita, EdD, Larry Brendtro, PhD, 2002 Sopris West

No Disposable Kids by Larry Brendtro, Arlin E. Ness, Martin Mitchell and Starr Commonwealth, 2001 Sopris West

Reclaiming Youth at Risk: Our Hope for the Future by Larry K. Brendtro, Martin Brokenleg, Steve Van Bockern, National Education Service 1992

Re-educating Troubled Youth: Environments for Teaching and Treatment by Larry K. Brendtro and Arlin E. Ness, 1983 Aldine Transaction

Positive Peer Culture by Harry H. Vorath and Larry K. Brendtro, 1974 Aldine Transaction

The Other 23 Hours: Child-Care Work with Emotionally Disturbed Children in a Therapeutic Milieu by Albert Trieschman, James Whittaker, and Larry Brendtro, 1969 Aldine Transaction

External links[edit]

Circle of Courage Institute
Reclaiming Children and Youth Journal
Reclaiming Youth International
Starr Commonwealth


  1. ^
  2. ^ Brendtro, L., Brendtro, J. (2010) The Developmental Audit. Albion, MI: Starr Commonwealth. pg ii
  3. ^ Brendtro, L. Brokenleg, M., Van Bockern, S. (1990) Reclaiming Youth at Risk: Our Hope for the Future. Bloomington, IN: National Education Service. pg v
  4. ^ Brendtro, L., Mitchell, M., McCall, H., (2009) Deep Brain Learning: Pathways to Potential with Challenging Youth. Albion, MI: Starr Commonwealth
  5. ^ Vita of Larry Brendtro. July 2010
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  7. ^
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  9. ^ Brendtro, L., du Toit, L., (2005) Response Ability Pathways: Restoring Bonds of Respect. Claremont, South Africa: Pretext Publishers.
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  11. ^ Brendtro, L., Mitchell, M., McCall, H., (2009) Deep Brain Learning: Pathways to Potential with Challenging Youth. Albion, MI: Starr Commonwealth
  12. ^ Reclaiming Children and Youth, Volume 19, Issue 1, Spring 2010. pg 2.
  13. ^