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Although each model has continued to develop with a separate tradition and literature, these approaches all have become more eclectic over time.  Actually, as each model has become more comprehensive, it has been labeled as “psychoeducational” by at least some of its proponents:


Psychodynamic psychoeducation places major emphasis on resolving inner conflicts of troubled children.  This blending of mental health concepts with education is tied to the early work of a number of outstanding European specialists who emigrated to North America around the time of World War II.  Exemplary of this tradition is Fritz Redl (1902-1988), who was trained by August Aichorn and Anna Freud in Austria.  Redl and Wineman (1957) worked with what they called highly aggressive youth in Detroit, and co-authored the classic book, The Aggressive Child.  Collaborating with William Morse at the University of Michigan Fresh Air Camp for troubled youth, they trained an entire generation of professionals in this model of  psychoeducation.

Redl saw emotional disturbance as an exaggeration of feelings common to all individuals.  What distinguishes the troubled child was the inability to manage those feelings.  Redl also was concerned with behavior, but primarily as a way of understanding the “inner life” of children.  His comprehensive approach includes some 20 techniques for “managing surface behavior,” and a system for de-escalating crisis situations.  He also designed the “life space interview,” a counseling strategy used by front line staff (e.g., teachers, youth workers) to transform naturally occurring problems into opportunities for correcting distorted thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.  Leading psychoeducational theorists include William Morse (1985) and Nicholas Long, who directs the Institute for Psychoeducational Training in Hagerstown, Maryland.

2.  Behavioral psychoeducation uses learning principles to modify the disordered behavior of children.  A prominent spokesperson for this version of psychoeducation is Arnold Goldstein of Syracuse University.  His data-based belief is that disordered behavior has complex causes and thus is treated best with comprehensive interventions.  He contends that powerful and lasting change requires methods that are both multilevel (directed both at the youth and at the system) and multimodal (combining cognitive, affective, and behavioral interventions).

Goldstein (1988) has combined a variety of behavioral skill training methods into The Prepare Curriculum for teaching prosocial competence.  Another widely used example of this merger of methods is Aggression Replacement Training, designed to address the deficits in social skills, anger control, and moral reasoning that characterize aggressive youth (Goldstein & Glick, 1987).

EDMS 512, Hood

Summer 2006

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