How Thinking for a Change Course Help Justice-Involved Individuals

Thinking for a Change (T4C) is a cognitive behavioral change program. It uses research from cognitive restructuring theory, social skills development, and learning problem-solving skills.

Improved Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence

Higher self-esteem can help people make better choices and deal with the stresses of being in the justice system. It can also help people build a strong support network and develop healthy relationships with others.

Thinking for a change course is an evidence-based cognitive behavioral change program for offenders. It helps participants identify the thinking patterns that contributed to their involvement with the criminal justice system and then learn pro-social communication skills, emotional regulation strategies, and problem-solving techniques.

To become a Thinking for a Change facilitator, individuals must complete a 32-hour training program. Although completing this training does not qualify someone as a certified Thinking for a Change Facilitator or Licensed Thinking for a Change Facilitator, it does demonstrate that the individual is qualified to lead groups of participants through the T4C curriculum. This includes a variety of settings, including prisons, jails, detention centers, community corrections, and probation/parole supervision offices.

Increased Self-Awareness and Self-Management

For individuals in the justice system, self-awareness involves knowing how their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors affect themselves and others. It also includes noticing and accurately assessing one’s strengths, weaknesses, challenges, values, interests, preferences, and goals. Increasingly, SEL research is focused on teaching self-management skills to help people regulate their emotions, think more objectively, and act more adaptively in challenging situations. For example, the Thinking for a Change (T4C) curriculum teaches participants to recognize and respond to anger and how their thoughts control their actions.

T4C is delivered in small groups over 25 lessons to offenders in prison, jails, community corrections, and probation/parole supervision settings. Professionals to facilitate T4C group programs for juveniles and adults in the justice system. There is no formal credentialing process to become a Thinking for a Change facilitator; however, an individual who completes the 32-hour training program should possess certain characteristics supporting program fidelity and integrity.

Increased Social Skills

Thinking for a Change is an integrated cognitive behavioral change and social skills development program. It is delivered in a group setting, over 25 lessons. Groups of eight to twelve participants meet weekly for one or two hours.

Social skills outcomes show strong correlations with the dimensions of emotional intelligence referring to attention, clarity, and emotion repair. This shows that the program addresses core issues that underlie social competencies. The moderator analysis for offending results indicates that reducing social skills deficits is associated with decreased delinquent behavior. This effect is more pronounced for programs with high intervention quality (e.g., SST). However, the moderator analyses for externalizing problems and social skills are inconsistent, suggesting that they do not directly influence reoffending. For this reason, reducing social skills deficits is unlikely to reduce reoffending. Increasing social skills is an important strategy to help justice-involved people reintegrate into the community.

Improved Decision-Making and Problem-Solving Skills

Developing your problem-solving and decision-making skills can help you improve the quality of your life. This involves assessing the situation, identifying options, evaluating those options, and choosing the best one for you. You can use tools and processes such as pairwise prioritization, multi-criteria decision-making, and analytic hierarchy process (AHP) to develop and evaluate alternatives.

Reflecting on and learning from your decisions can make you a better decision-maker. This is because it helps you recognize thinking patterns that can lead to mistakes, such as confirmation bias, representative heuristics, and availability.

By lexutor

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