Our core project Chance 2 Change is an exciting and brave new concept that brings about change in sectors that currently struggle for positive outcomes and are a considerable drain on already overstretched resources. Chance 2 Change offers a real alternative to existing failing provisions and the benefits are clear to see.
Beyond Youth delivers on cost, expertise, ambition, demonstrable outcomes and potential savings. Chance 2 Change is a highly adaptable, innovative programme that breaks down the current boundaries and provides an opportunity to create significant, long term change.
WHY ARE WE UNIQUE?
Beyond Youth is different from other organisations working to bring about change by delivering social impact.
Whilst many interventions tackle and challenge the behaviour few can or do deal with the emotional causes of marginalisation and negativity. If our behaviour is learnt from our environment then by creating a new environment or template we can unlearn it and discover new, positive ways of coping and responding to life's hurdles. Few programmes established for these client groups are truly led by the client or place so much emphasis on the vital element of creating solid boundaries, and respectful relationships nor do they provide participants with a conscience behind the behaviour that allows them to extend care from themselves to others. In short, other programmes achieve short term surface success and can claim such but do not achieve significant long term change from within.
We aim to make other interventions more effective and responsive by creating a solid foundation of emotional strength upon which other services can be used to build a complete and robust package of support. Without tackling the underlying causes of why marginalisation exits in the first place it is very difficult to bring about lasting change and therefore it is necessary to alter the thinking patterns of participants before addressing the practical issues otherwise their underlying emotions will always cause conflict both in themselves and others. We believe and have demonstrated that change must start from within and we are best placed to deliver this.
THE CHANCE 2 CHANGE PROGRAMME
Chance 2 Change is an 8 session group based programme, using the cognitive behavioural therapy to reduce negativity and marginalisation in our communities. Each group works intensively with up to 10 clients and seeks to nurture good where otherwise negative behaviour can become prevalent.
The project is a culmination of Emma Morris's extensive experience and training in both the criminal justice system and with therapeutic interventions.
The Chance 2 Change program has been created with the support and guidance of Dr Neil Brener consultant psychiatrist, The Priory Group. Dr Brener is considered a lead in addictions treatment therapy.
The rationale to Chance 2 Change follows a three practice approach which is :
2. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
3. The Addiction Treatment Programme
In creating this programme, evidence and experience has been drawn upon from all three approaches and applied to the client group which demonstrates an inability to understand or regulate their own behaviour. In applying this approach, Chance 2 Change is able to create a safe environment that challenges clients to identify and acknowledge the root cause of their behaviour.
Historically the term 'addiction' was only used for chemical addictions - substance such as alcohol, tobacco, heroin and other drugs that cross the blood-brain barrier and alter the brain chemistry. More recently psychological dependence has become recognised as a significant contributory factor to addiction (Miller 2005). Furthermore it is now known that activities as well as substance directly affect our brain chemistry.
By incorporating the essential elements of these approaches we are able to offer an effective and intelligent intervention that allows Chance 2 Change to deliver the aims, objectives and outcomes that are essential to bring about a reduction in negative behaviour. These are the why behind the what.
Participants can often struggle to make sense of life events and can lack the emotional intelligence and self-awareness to understand either themselves or their behaviour patterns. For this purpose the elements outlined above have been incorporated within this group based programme because:
- Evidence shows that structured group work with peers is an effective way for this client group to unlock, challenge and understand their experiences.
- It allows participants to relate and discuss with others in a similar situation with shared characteristics
- It provides an opportunity, often for the first time, for participants to be honest about life events
- It allows participants to test and work within boundaries and limits that are set at the very beginning of the group
- It encourages participants to identify and share the hurdles to their rehabilitation and to motivate them to consider options post treatment.
- It encourages participants to work together to achieve common goals that are conducive to a learning environment.
- It encourages identification and challenging of negative beliefs and underlying motives and needs (such as fear of being consumed by the group, fear of rejection, unwillingness to trust, need to remain separate) based upon their previous experience of both peer groups and family which are often responsible for disruptive and destructive behaviours.
The central premise of the rationale behind Chance 2 Change is that behaviours are learnt and they are learnt from the environment we are brought up in, for example, if we learn that we are not cared for by those responsible for nurturing, it is impossible to know how to care for ourselves or others therefore there is no ability to perceive others perspective. Further, traumatic childhood issues can create co-dependence and the primary feature of co-dependency is abandonment of self, which means adapting ourselves to fit in with others. Chance 2 Change encourages participants to firstly identify, secondly acknowledge, thirdly understand, fourthly respect and finally bring about steps to change.
The combination of CBT and group based practice allows participants to release the carried feelings that don't belong to them, e.g. shame, anger , guilt, pain and enables them then to re-parent themselves so that they are not always searching outside of themselves, this is particularly poignant when considering a client group of care leavers. In turn once participants have learnt to identify and address family and origin issues which have formed over many years the individual is more able to function with themselves and others and know how to identify negative reactions in everyday life and manage them.
Addiction is defined as the compulsive use of a substance despite the negative or even the dangerous effects it may have. For the purpose of Chance 2 Change the term addiction is not used to minimise responsibility for behaviour or remove accountability for it but to provide an understanding of behaviours manifest and result in damaging behaviours. Upon seeking support for classic addiction the client must accept that their life has become unmanageable, for example it can therefore be said that for an offender to end up in custody, their life has become unmanageable. Just as addiction is more likely in those who:
- Have low self esteem
- Suffer from depression
- Are not residing with biological care givers
- Experience high levels of stress at home
- Have an anxiety disorder
- live in an environment where drug use is easily accessible and socially acceptable
Classic addiction treatment programmes focus on addressing the underlying emotional causes to the addiction, and does not focus on the substance or behaviour of choice.