“Thinking For A Change” in Reentry Court

March 25th/ Part 4

The information found in the previous article is important and can be read in full through their links. They are well-written descriptions of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. (see also; Cognitive Behavioral Treatment: A Review and Discussion for Corrections Professionals, Harvey Milkman, Kenneth Wanberg, NIC 2007 ). In this short description of one “Thinking for a Change” training (T4C), they provide a backdrop for my reentry court team’s four day  training (taught by Juliana Taymans, one of the co-authors of T4C )

I wasn’t one of the trainees, but audited most of the training for twelve San Francisco case managers held in my courtroom.. I can say that it was well worth the time, effort, and resources involved. My impression was that the trainees thoroughly enjoyed the material and mastering the skills involved, which included problem-solving in their own lives. While the curriculum could not be used for everyone (as it appeared to require some level of introspection and sophistication), it certainly could be effective with a large cohort of parolees.
The lessons were formal (often read verbatim from a training manual), emersing participants in role playing, film  and other engaging techniques. It should be noted that the number of trainers required (initially 2 per group), the number of group participants (10-12), the number of sessions required (20-22), and  the length of sessions (1 hour or more) make delivery of this therapy somewhat problematic. But I found the techniques taught  grow on me (surprisingly finding myself using them in my everyday life). We intend to begin at least three group sessions for parole reentry participants in April. We’ll let you know how it  all works out.
Thinking for a Change (T4C) is an integrated, cognitive behavior change program for offenders that includes cognitive restructuring, social skills development, and development of problem solving skills. NIC makes available the T4C offender program materials plus a curriculum for training program facilitators. NIC also can assist agencies in training staff to facilitate the program ( National Institiute of Corrections on Thinking for a Change)

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