For a long time society has been at odds with disaffected young people and troublesome teenagers. Although many critics of modern life say that teenage rebellion is strictly a post-war phenomenon, the reality is that there seems to be a rising tide of violence, drug use and petty crime amongst our adolescent generations.
A new study in the US looks alternative ways to treat troubled teens. It suggests that the traditional hard edge techniques employed by the authorities simply do not work when it comes to solving long term behavioural problems and criminality are nothing short of ineffective and at worst counter-positive.
The trouble with many of these initiatives is that they end up as political vehicles for change in a society. Policy is delivered as part of a wider agenda that promises a shockingly brutal retaliation to a problem that is perhaps inherent in society and that no member wishes to acknowledge. Hence we see the short, sharp shock of the Thatcher administration delivered to reckless juveniles and the so-called tough love campaigns that ran through the 1990s. The question left to ask ourselves is whether these schemes had any longer lasting effects than those gained during periods of incarceration?
There is the behavioural stand point. If an individual comes from a social background where criminal activity is tolerated or even lauded, then this becomes a normal situation. They may begin to view criminal acts as rewarding and successful. It therefore becomes difficult to change this kind of intrinsic viewpoint that is shaped around a culture rather than a personal choice.
In institutions it is possible to use force to crush criminal behaviour for the duration of any individuals stay. However when they leave more often than not they resurface with the same culture and people that were part of their social environment before any administrative intervention. This causes them to rapidly return to old patterns of behaviour. Studies show that the only way to create alternatives is through the exploration of new types of activity and response.
Therapy will give young people the opportunity to examine their behaviours and possibly make changes in the way the react to different situations in a positive and controlled environment. With CBT they can examine the responses both on an actual and emotional scale to their own actions and use this feedback to further modify their responses in the future.
There will always be those who simply want to fit in with the crowd and will try to fight against the authorities and the precepts of modern society. Often these individuals turn out to be the most giving and gifting agencies when they have managed to turn a corner in their lives. More often than not however this realisation comes from within, rather than having hard life lessons imposed upon them.
If you are having difficulties with troublesome teenagers, or if you would like to understand problems that perhaps you have felt have plagued you since your adolescent years then CBT can help. By looking at the persistent patterns of behaviour that you have adopted over this time and analysing their outcomes it is possible to affect major changes even after prolonged periods of time.
To find out how CBT could help you. Please call our main office number for a brief discussion of the options available to you.