Psychological Self-Help

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These training materials have been sold to many clinics and schools. So, a
trained person may be in your neighborhood.
(3) Multi-systemic Therapy developed at Medical University of South
Carolina is a tough test of therapy because it takes 12 to 17-year-old referrals
from juvenile courts that are at risk of being jailed or sent to foster care. It is
an intensive treatment program for 3 to 5 months
). The focus is on changing the factors in the delinquent’s life that seem to be
leading to trouble, including their home-life and their friends. Rules governing
the youth’s life are agreed on, they are closely monitored, depending on
behavior rewards and punishments are given out, parents are helped if they
are poorly adjusted, and so on. Multi-systemic Therapy has had 14 clinical
trials published. The results have been good: re-arrests are reduced, fewer
foster care placements were necessary, and the cost to the state is less. So,
even in difficult situations, well researched therapy can be effective. (See
Sources of information: Dealing with problem children
There are, of course, sources of information in books, such as Helfer's (1968,
1999), The Battered Child, which was a "classic" and has been updated. Other
books help us to understand the abused child (Heineman, 1998). Parents
Anonymous ( was
mentioned above; it is the major national organization of peer groups for
abusive parents. Call them at 909-621-6184 or fax 909-625-6304 or email to Parents Anonymous mutual-helping groups are safe
and offer advice and understanding support to parents wanting to gain self-
control. Another confidential source of crisis counseling about abuse and
referrals is Child Help USA Hotline ( (1-800-422-
4453). There are Web sites offering information: Child Abuse Prevention
( and the Child Welfare Information Gateway
( [1.800.394.3366].
Remember, all states have an 800 number to which all professionals,
teachers, and law enforcement officials are required by law to report all actual
and strongly suspected child abuse and neglect. If your child has been treated
by a doctor or taken to an ER following “discipline,” the authorities in your
state "child investigation and protection agency" are likely to already consider
it child abuse. But it is very important that an already abusive parent
seek treatment. Keep in mind, however, that any responsible professional
person will probably feel compelled by law to report any recent serious (e.g. if
the child needed to go to the Emergency Room) abuse you disclose. This is
likely to be true even for a therapist from whom you are seeking help with the
problem. Keep in mind that the law requires that all abuse be reported. If a
therapist does report your offense, this, it does not mean this therapist is not
interested in helping you.
If you are getting irritable with your children and spanking them
occasionally and moderately (moderate spanking is not against the law),
decide to do something NOW about the physical aggression before it is too
late! Spanking is a danger sign…and besides it does no good—in fact, makes
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