Latest research on causes and treatments of self-harm by adolescents

Self-harming is common amongst young people in OoHC, youth justice and alternative school settings. As noted in my last post, I just love a succinct summary of the evidence of the causes and treatment of mental health issues. Today’s post provides such a summary on the causes and interventions for self-harm. This YouTube video, called Self Injury Knowledge and Skills…

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Can Mentilisation Based Therapy skills assist OoHC & YJ Practitioners create more therapeutic relationships with clients?

Day  2: International Child Trauma Conference 2018 Yesterday I attended Peter Fongy’s masterclass on Mentalisation Based Therapy (MBT) Who is Peter Fonagy?   Peter is a psychologist with special interests in the neurobiology of attachment, working with violent young men and people with personality disorders. He has authored over 300 peer reviewed articles. You can read a short version of…

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Why do good staff become punitive so quickly?

  Practitioners will recognise the situation whereby they recruit someone who, during their interview, presents as a compassionate and caring individual, only to be caught off guard when the same person suddenly starts advocating harsher and harsher punishment for YP. This study This Israeli study explores how beliefs and attitudes of staff who work with the vulnerable predict the use…

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Does verbal aggression by clients predict increased use of restraint/seclusion by staff?

Verbal aggression by clients to staff in residential care, YJ and alternative schools is a continuing problem for Practitioners. This study looks at the specific impact of verbal aggression on mental health nurses. It investigates the following hypothesis:     Why are nursing staff studies relevant to OoHC/YJ/alternative schools? In general, the quality of research in the mental health sector…

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Resilience Part II: How practitioners can improve resilience of young people in OoHC/YJ

This week’s blog continues the focus on influential child psychiatrist, Michael Rutter – this time his work on resilience. The last blog post defined ‘resilience’ and identified the underlying factors that give rise to resilience. Today, we will investigate how resilience might develop – especially in young people in OoHC and YJ settings. Firstly, Rutter notes that the research findings…

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Mix results in preventing truancy in the US

School refusal is a significant problem for young people in out-of-home care and the Juvenile Justice program. This study evaluates an anti-truancy program called the Truancy Assessment and Service Centre (TASC) which operates in the ‘deep south’ region of the USA (e.g. Louisiana). It is worth noting that in Australia, we tend to use the more neutral term of ‘school…

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Why Alternative Schools Should Provide Parenting Skills Programs

This study argues that special schools should provide  parenting skills programs to parents of students in an effort to reduce behaviour problems at the school. Behaviour problems are a key reason why children/young people are excluded from school. This is especially true for those in residential care and the youth justice systems. To be excluded from school then reduces their…

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A powerful beat: Using drumming to treat complex trauma

Practitioners working with traumatised young people are well aware of the importance of patterned repetitive activity (PRA) in treating complex trauma. Two recent publications have focused on the role of drumming or ‘drum therapy’ as a form of PRA: a podcast by Radio National’s ‘All in the Mind’ program called Healing Rhythms a book by Simon Faulkner called Rhythm to…

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Practitioners who work with high-risk adolescents (HRA) often wonder who such adolescents turn to for help in times of crisis. A recent Israeli study looked at the differing reasons HRAs seek help from youth workers versus others, e.g. parents, peers and teachers. Youth workers are defined as workers in non-mainstream educational settings, which specialise in dealing with adolescents at risk.…

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