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The eclectic behavioral approach known as the “Boys Town Teaching Family Model” (Coughlin & Shannana, 1991) also qualifies for our definition of psychoeducational.  This approach systematically integrates methods including social skills training, relationship building, non-aversive crisis intervention, and structured verbal interventions called “teaching interactions.”  The Boys Town model is used widely in both residential and public school settings.  This model has been subjected to extensive research, and The Boys Town National Training Center in Boys Town, Nebraska, offers professional certification programs (Tierney, Dowd, & O’Kane, 1993).

3.  Sociological psychoeducation utilizes peer groups as a primary agent of change in values and behavior of troubled youth.  These programs grew from research showing that delinquent behavior develops through association with peers who support antisocial beliefs and behavior.  The impact of peers is strong, particularly among youth with weak parental attachments and controls.  Unlike traditional group therapy, which treats individuals within a group, the aim of guided group interaction (GGI) is to win over the entire group to prosocial values and behavior, thereby encouraging change in individuals.  (Empey & Rabow, 1961).

Harry Vorrath extended the original GGI model into a comprehensive system for reeducation known as PPC, or positive peer culture (Vorrath & Brendtro, 1985).  Peer group models are used most widely in residential treatment (Brendtro & Wasmund, 1989) and alternative schools and classes for troubled youth (Carducci & Carducci, 1984; Garner, 1982).  PPC also has been proposed as an alternative approach to school discipline (Duke & Mecxel, 1980).  Positive peer culture groups identify problems and develop strategies to solve them.  The goal is to create a prosocial ethos by making caring fashionable, demanding greatness instead of obedience, and challenging youth to assume responsibility for their lives.  Brendtro and Ness (1983) described a “psychoeducation” approach using peer group strategies with other methods, which has been developed at the Starr Commonwealth Schools for troubled youth in Michigan and Ohio.  The National Association of Peer Group Agencies provides research and training on this treatment model (Kern & Quigley, 1994).

4.  Ecological psychoeducation has been the most actively eclectic approach, borrowing freely from the more traditional models.  The leading author of this approach was Nicholas Hobbs (1918-1983) who created the Re-ED model at Vanderbilt University.  (Re-ED is an acronym for Reeducation for Emotionally Disturbed Children.)  The most recent model to develop, Re-ED borrows generously from each of the foregoing models and is described as both ecological and psychoeducation (Lewis & Lewis, 1989).  Hobbs was influenced strongly by European and French-Canadian psychoeducation, and he blended education, child care, and treatment into the role of “teacher-counselor.”

A past president of the American Psychological Association, Hobbs was a powerful advocate for focusing on strength, health, and joy, rather than deviance and pathology.  In The Troubled and Troubling Child, Hobbs (1982) argued that most emotional

EDMS 512, Hood

Summer 2006

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