…Engaging angry children and young people

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					                                                                                        Diana Boswell with
     …Engaging angry children and young people                                             Howard Bath

                                                    WHAT IS LSCI?
Diana Boswell, PhD is Senior Associate
with the Thomas Wright Institute in            A therapeutic verbal stratergy for turning crisis situations
Canberra. After undergraduate studies at       into opportunities for helping young people learn alternatives
the Australian National University, she
earned her master’s and doctoral degrees       to patterns of aggressive, disrespectful or self-demeaning
in School Psychology from the University       behavior. LSCI blends psycho-dynamic, cognitive,
of Toronto, Canada. Since then she has
worked as a practitioner and program
                                               behavioral and pro-social methods to develop powerful
developer with children and young people       teaching and treatment interventions for our most
with challenging behaviors in the
education, special education, disability
                                               challenging young people.
mental health and welfare sectors. Before
her present role in consulting and training,
she was director of a multi-program child      WHAT IS THE LSCI PROGRAM?
and family welfare agency. Diana has           • A 5 day intensive course
presented at numerous workshops
addressing family, child and adolescent        • Designed to help those who work with young people in
issues and is co-author of a 3-day intensive     conflict in school, care settings, and the community.
program for crisis management in
disability services. She has been on the       • Teaches skills for helping young people to master their
ACT Minister for Education’s Advisory            emotions while building self esteem and strengthening
board and is an accredited senior trainer in
Life Space Crisis Intervention having            relationships
completed her certificate at the LSCI          • Was developed by Dr Nicholas Long, the author of the
institute in the USA with Dr Nicholas
                                                  classic special education text: Conflict in the
Howard Bath PhD As an agency director,         • Training has been conducted across North America
program manager and youth worker,
Howard has been involved for over 25             and internationally in schools, juvenile justice
years in the provision of services for           facilities and adolescent treatment programs.
children and young people. He is co-
author of a crisis management program for
direct care practitioners, has published
many papers on out-of-home care and the
                                               WHO SHOULD ATTEND?
management of challenging behaviors, and       • Residential professionals
has presented at numerous workshops and        • Mental Health and Juvenile Justice Staff
conferences across Australia and the USA.
As a registered psychologist Howard            • Senior Youth Workers
established ACT STOP (Specialised              • Psychologists, Social Workers, Counselors
Treatment Options Program), an                 • Coordinators and Managers
assessment and treatment program for
young people with problems in the              • Teachers and Special Educators
areas of sexuality and aggression
                                      A SHORT HISTORY OF LSCI
After a very successful debut in      In its genesis, this therapeutic strategy was called "life space interview"
Sydney in 2000, the highly            by Fritz Redl and David Wineman, co-authors of The Aggressive Child.
acclaimed Life Space Crisis           Their model was refined at the University of Michigan and the National
Intervention program has been         Institute of Mental Health in the USA by William Morse and Nicholas
offered to senior staff working in    Long, co-authors of Conflict in the Classroom. In 1992, Nicholas Long
juvenile justice and social welfare   wrote Life Space Crisis Intervention: Talking to Children in Crisis with
programs in NSW and Victoria.         Mary Wood.
Over the past three years, the         Currently LSCI research and training for certification is conducted by
program has been offered to senior    the Life Space Crisis Intervention Institute of Hagerstown, Maryland.
teachers and counselors in primary    The program has been enthusiastically received by practitioners across
and secondary schools across the      the USA and internationally
ACT. Designed for practitioners
working with challenging young        CRISIS AS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR LEARNING
people and refined from many          Students in crisis - whether angry, manipulative, anxious, fearful or
years of experience in practice       depressed need skilled and caring adults who can help them disengage
settings, the LSCI course covers      from conflict cycles and conduct problems. Managed ineptly, a crisis
proven and practical techniques       leads to devastating cycles of disruptive behavior, hostility violence and
that are urgently needed in the       alienation. Handled well, a crisis provides a window of opportunity to
field.                                learn new ways of thinking, feeling and behaving. The young person
                                      learns to disengage from self-defeating patterns and to develop
                                      responsible, pro-social values and behavior.
Sample Evaluation comments
from participants
                                      THE NEED FOR POSITIVE BEHAVIORAL
"This training is fantastic. I wish   INTERVENTIONS
I'd had it years ago. I feel I am     Traditional crisis Intervention relies on de-escalation, exclusion, zero
leaving the course with new           tolerance, and sometimes restraint, to manage volatile behavior. Such
insight and skill"                    methods may establish order, but these interventions alone do not help
                                      youth correct their chronic patterns of self-defeating behavior. The
"Definitely recommend! It is          serious problems caused by ongoing crisis in families and communities
extremely useful in our setting"      no longer respond to a curriculum of control. Educators and other youth
                                      professionals are now being challenged to develop positive behavioral
"LSCI should be a prerequisite for    interventions. LSCI provides the next generation of advanced
working with young people"            reclaiming skills that enable professionals to move beyond a narrow
                                      dependence on containment, coercion and exclusion.
"Very good. Looks not just at de-
escalation but addresses              FIELD VALIDATION
influencing factors and catalysts".   The LSCI techniques are widely used across the USA, NZ and Europe,
                                      in schools, mental health treatment centers, juvenile justice facilities and
"I would definitely recommend         social welfare agencies where staff are confronted with angry young
this training as its content was      people. LSCI techniques have been validated by a number of research
extremely valuable and always         studies of behavior management strategies for workers with emotionally
enlightening"                         disturbed and behaviorally disturbed young people. The LSCI has been
                                      recognized as an effective intervention by many tertiary education
“The best course I have ever          facilities preparing workers for the field, and is cited in most textbooks.
attended; all our staff should        This treatment model has been validated by the National Institute of
attend”                               Education Joint Dissemination Review Panel.
                                      In the ACT, research conducted by the Education Department has found
                                      that LSCI has been effective in reducing school suspensions and
                                      increasing teacher confidence and efficacy in managing very distruptive
                                      behaviour patterns shown by a small group of students at very high risk
                                      for exclusion from school.
Problem solving strategies target these patterns of self-defeating behavior
• Imported Problems (Red Flag). Stress in a young person's life space is carried to another setting where it
   sparks conflict. The goal of the intervention is to learn new ways of managing thoughts which arouse intense
• Errors in Perception (Reality Rub). Distorted perceptions and thinking errors lead to chronic emotional and
  behavioral problems. The goal of the intervention is to reality test when a young person doesn't see an event as
  others do.
• Limited Social Skills (New Tools). Problems are caused by inadequacy in social skills and self-management
  competencies. The goal is to teach new social skills
• Vulnerability to Peer Influence (Body Boundaries). Young people entangled in destructive peer relationships
  are vulnerable to manipulation. The goal is to expose exploitation of young people who are abused, isolated or
  exploited by others.
• Impulsivity and Guilt (Massaging Numb Values). Young people who act impulsively and are then
  overwhelmed by guilt, often acting to get others to punish them. The goal is not to increase guilt, but to
  increase the young person’s belief that they want to do what is right and can learn to control themselves.
  • Delinquent Pride (Synotim Estrangement) Young people may be comfortable with bullying or
  delinquent behavior and show little conscience. The goal is to benignly confront unacceptable behavior when a
  young person doesn't want to change
• Double Struggle. Adults can inadvertently fuel conflict. The goal is to benignly confront the adult to help them
  gain insight into their role in the incident

LSCI training is grounded in specific competencies for resolving crisis and reducing disruptive behavior.
Participants will develop knowledge about and intervention skills in:
• The psychological differences between the adult's world and the students' world during conflict
• The development of irrational beliefs and the self fulfilling prophecy of the self concept
• Developmental, psychological, reality and physical stress
• Defence mechanisms and cognitive traps
• The "dynamics" of the crisis cycle
• Communication at times of crisis
• De-escalation
• Establishing an accurate "Time line"
• Surface Management - behavior management
• The seven ‘reclaiming’ interviews

                                         For further details, please contact

                                         Thomas Wright Institute
                                         PO Box 4260
                                         ACT 2604
                                         Phone: (02) 62956255
                                         Fax: (02) 62956499

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