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Introduction to Non Violent Resistance a new psychological approach to problem behaviour. Brighthelm Centre, Brighton Wednesday, 11 th February 2009. Dr Peter Jakob, Consultant Clinical Psychologist. Changing our Underlying Beliefs.

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introduction to non violent resistance a new psychological approach to problem behaviour
Introduction to Non Violent Resistancea new psychological approach to problem behaviour

Brighthelm Centre, Brighton

Wednesday, 11th February 2009

Dr Peter Jakob, Consultant Clinical Psychologist

changing our underlying beliefs
Changing our Underlying Beliefs
  • By trying to control, care-givers operate within the same logic of control as the child – control or be controlled. Most violent young people refuse to be controlled. The result is symmetrical escalation.
escalation
Escalation
  • Symmetrical escalation: parent and child each attempt to win the upper hand by countering the move of the other.
  • Complementary escalation: the young person becomes more and more aggressive, while the adult feels increasingly helpless.
  • Violent behaviour in young people is characterised by repetitive cycles of symmetrical escalation and complementary escalation following each other.
why is he so violent
Why is he so violent?

Three necessary, but not sufficient conditions for controlling, aggressive and self-destructive behaviour:

  • Temperament
  • Reduced parental or care-giver presence
  • Having an environment to practice control
de escalation and deferred response
De-escalation and Deferred Response
  • Parents and other care-givers do not aim to change the child during an aggressive incident. All action aims to minimize risk and lower psycho-physiological arousal of adults and child.
  • Deferring the response: instead of re(!)-acting to provocation, care-givers act at a time of their own choosing, and in a way they themselves determine. They aim to raise presence
raising care giver presence
Raising Care-giver Presence

The three cornerstones of Ghandi’s and Martin Luther-Kings campaigns:

  • Disobedience : Parents, carers and teachers break taboos
  • Solidarity: Adults support each other in taking action
  • Nonviolence: Parents raise their presence, do not control

Parents challenge the child’s behaviour by raising presence. Raising presence replaces control of the child with self-control of the parents. This creates a stronger and more positive internal representation of the significant adults in a young person’s life. The young person is more likely to develop self-control.

presence raising methods
Presence-raising Methods
  • Announcement
  • Sit-in
  • Message campaign
  • Tailing

Such actions create a dramatic environment, in which a young person becomes unable to control the adults. While the child acts to regain control, care-givers learn to persevere, without attempting to control the child. These actions are taken with the support of other adults.

support networks
Support Networks
  • Aggressive behaviour creates schisms between parents, among teachers, between parents and teachers, between foster carers and teachers.
  • Young people maximise their power through such schisms.
  • In NVR, alliances are strengthened between significant adults.
  • Networks are developed around parents, carers and teachers to actively support their resistance against controlling behaviour.
supporter roles
Supporter Roles
  • witness
  • protector
  • messenger
  • logistic supporter
  • parent mentor
  • parent-sibling intermediary
  • mediator between parents and aggressive child
unmet needs
Unmet Needs
  • Normal life-cycle stage needs
  • Overcoming the effects of trauma
  • Developing a helpful narrative of family history
  • Secure attachment
  • Emotional containment
  • Inclusion and a sense of belonging
  • Unconditional positive regard, love, care and affection
  • Special needs – developmental, disabilities, anxiety disorders
  • Support in overcoming anxiety arising from controlling behaviour
reconciliation work
Reconciliation Work
  • Gestures of reconciliation are acts of unconditional positive regard. They are made after any presence-raising challenge, regardless of the child’s behaviour.
  • Reconciliation gestures can signal that adults recognize a young person’s unmet need. Devising such gestures focuses them on the child’s needs.
  • Parents can respond to an internalized image of a child in need, instead of an internalized image of a threatening other.
  • Adults return to a caring position vis a vis the child.
  • Improves attachment.
efficacy and effectiveness
Efficacy and Effectiveness
  • Brief intervention: up to 3 months; 1 therapy session & two telephone support contacts/week.
  • Weinblatt & Omer, 2008:
    • No significant difference in outcomes between families with children and families with adolescents
    • No significant difference in drop-out rates for families of children and adolescents – over 90% retention
    • Improvement in
      • Child externalising behaviour (CBCL)
      • parent mental health
      • reduction in parental helplessness
      • improved social support for families.
references
References
  • Jakob, P. (2006a). Bringing non-violent resistance to Britain. Context, 84, pp.36-38.
  • Omer, H. (2001). Helping parents deal with children’s acute disciplinary problems without escalation: The principle of non-violent resistance. Family Process, 40, pp.53-66.
  • Omer, H. (2004). Nonviolent resistance: A new approach to violent and self-destructive children. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Weinblatt, U. & Omer, H. (2008). Non-violent resistance: A treatment for parents of children with acute behaviour problems. Journal of Marriage and Family Therapy, January