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Introduction to Non Violent Resistance a new psychological approach to problem behaviour


Violent behaviour in young people is characterised by repetitive cycles of ... Parents challenge the child's behaviour by raising presence. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Introduction to Non Violent Resistance a new psychological approach to problem behaviour

Introduction to Non Violent Resistance a new
psychological approach to problem behaviour
  • Brighthelm Centre, Brighton
  • Wednesday, 11th February 2009

Dr Peter Jakob, Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Changing our Underlying Beliefs
  • By trying to control, care-givers operate within
    the same logic of control as the child control
    or be controlled. Most violent young people
    refuse to be controlled. The result is
    symmetrical escalation.

  • Symmetrical escalation parent and child each
    attempt to win the upper hand by countering the
    move of the other.
  • Complementary escalation the young person
    becomes more and more aggressive, while the adult
    feels increasingly helpless.
  • Violent behaviour in young people is
    characterised by repetitive cycles of symmetrical
    escalation and complementary escalation following
    each other.

Why is he so violent?
  • Three necessary, but not sufficient conditions
    for controlling, aggressive and self-destructive
  • Temperament
  • Reduced parental or care-giver presence
  • Having an environment to practice control

De-escalation and Deferred Response
  • Parents and other care-givers do not aim to
    change the child during an aggressive incident.
    All action aims to minimize risk and lower
    psycho-physiological arousal of adults and child.
  • Deferring the response instead of re(!)-acting
    to provocation, care-givers act at a time of
    their own choosing, and in a way they themselves
    determine. They aim to raise presence

Raising Care-giver Presence
  • The three cornerstones of Ghandis and Martin
    Luther-Kings campaigns
  • Disobedience Parents, carers and teachers break
  • Solidarity Adults support each other
    in taking action
  • Nonviolence Parents raise their presence, do
    not control
  • Parents challenge the childs behaviour by
    raising presence. Raising presence replaces
    control of the child with self-control of the
    parents. This creates a stronger and more
    positive internal representation of the
    significant adults in a young persons life. The
    young person is more likely to develop

Presence-raising Methods
  • Announcement
  • Sit-in
  • Message campaign
  • Tailing
  • Such actions create a dramatic environment, in
    which a young person becomes unable to control
    the adults. While the child acts to regain
    control, care-givers learn to persevere, without
    attempting to control the child. These actions
    are taken with the support of other adults.

Support Networks
  • Aggressive behaviour creates schisms between
    parents, among teachers, between parents and
    teachers, between foster carers and teachers.
  • Young people maximise their power through such
  • In NVR, alliances are strengthened between
    significant adults.
  • Networks are developed around parents, carers and
    teachers to actively support their resistance
    against controlling behaviour.

Supporter Roles
  • witness
  • protector
  • messenger
  • logistic supporter
  • parent mentor
  • parent-sibling intermediary
  • mediator between parents and aggressive child

Unmet Needs
  • Normal life-cycle stage needs
  • Overcoming the effects of trauma
  • Developing a helpful narrative of family history
  • Secure attachment
  • Emotional containment
  • Inclusion and a sense of belonging
  • Unconditional positive regard, love, care and
  • Special needs developmental, disabilities,
    anxiety disorders
  • Support in overcoming anxiety arising from
    controlling behaviour

Controlling behaviour and anxiety
Reconciliation Work
  • Gestures of reconciliation are acts of
    unconditional positive regard. They are made
    after any presence-raising challenge, regardless
    of the childs behaviour.
  • Reconciliation gestures can signal that adults
    recognize a young persons unmet need. Devising
    such gestures focuses them on the childs needs.
  • Parents can respond to an internalized image of a
    child in need, instead of an internalized image
    of a threatening other.
  • Adults return to a caring position vis a vis the
  • Improves attachment.

Efficacy and Effectiveness
  • Brief intervention up to 3 months 1 therapy
    session two telephone support contacts/week.
  • Weinblatt Omer, 2008
  • No significant difference in outcomes between
    families with children and families with
  • No significant difference in drop-out rates for
    families of children and adolescents over 90
  • Improvement in
  • Child externalising behaviour (CBCL)
  • parent mental health
  • reduction in parental helplessness
  • improved social support for families.

  • Jakob, P. (2006a). Bringing non-violent
    resistance to Britain. Context, 84, pp.36-38.
  • Omer, H. (2001). Helping parents deal with
    childrens acute disciplinary problems without
    escalation The principle of non-violent
    resistance. Family Process, 40, pp.53-66.
  • Omer, H. (2004). Nonviolent resistance A new
    approach to violent and self-destructive
    children. Cambridge Cambridge University Press.
  • Weinblatt, U. Omer, H. (2008). Non-violent
    resistance A treatment for parents of children
    with acute behaviour problems. Journal of
    Marriage and Family Therapy, January