Yesterday we did a training for fifteen people from the Andrus Center in Yonkers, New York (http://www.andruschildren.org/). It was great to meet this group of intelligent, receptive people. Included in the training on the Restorative Approach was a presentation by our adolescent Boys' Unit, a meeting with school staff, and a discussion of the DBT adolescent Girls' Unit- and lunch, of course! There were so many questions and so much discussion it was hard to keep the day moving along.
As I do these trainings, it becomes clearer that we are suggesting a new way of looking at the kids and their symptoms- not just a new method of behavioral control. People often start out wanting to simply substitute restorative consequences for restrictive consequences. But the difference in approach became clear in a couple of examples. In the school, a teacher spoke of a boy who refused to go into his classroom. She tried to figure out how she could help him- what was wrong? What was bothering him? and arranged for him to spend the day in another class, with a plan to work towards returning to his own. It wasn't about compliance- you must get into your classroom because that is where you are supposed to be. It was about understanding- how can we help you? The Boys' Unit staff demonstrated a similar approach to a child who was escalating around refusing to take a shower. Their reactions were completely informed by an understanding of the relationship of trauma, low self esteem, and hygiene problems.
Every time we do a training I come to understand the Restorative Approach more deeply.
©2006 The Restorative Approach is a servicemark of the Klingberg Family Centers, Inc.
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