Archives

All posts by Eileen Ryan

Introduction

Situations involving helping children suffering from emotional disturbances as a result of their maladaptive behaviors require thorough evaluation of family interactions, school environment, as well as peer group interactions. As such, a dysfunctional determination in this situation for cause and effect is vital in guiding rehabilitation efforts and guiding effective and appropriate counseling methods that are both age and gender oriented. This particular scenario will entail professional counseling for parents, school personnel and adult mentors given that the dysfunction and problems go beyond the affected children themselves. The behavioral training would have to be eclectic to support counseling efforts in order to receive approval of the family, school, and leadership of community.

Rehabilitation Behavioral Strategies

Behavioral rehabilitation strategies utilize operant conditioning, classical condition, and certain social learning principles. These techniques are helpful for children struggling with social and mental issues. Utilizing classical condition can take any of three forms: in vivo exposure, virtual reality exposure, and imaginal exposure (Bilsen et al., 1995). Each technique is suited for a specific situation based on the situation of the child. However, each technique requires either progressive muscle relaxation, systematic desensitization, or stimulus control. As such, achieving stimulus control and placing the child within the feared situation or near the feared object would help with family relationships and social skills.

Techniques for family relationships as well as peer interactions would be rooted in operant conditioning. By utilizing principles of reinforcement, extinction, and punishment would the children to change the behavior and participate in behavior modification. It would be necessary to set appropriate behaviors or response for children who do not focus on feeling or thoughts, which will in turn gain the child reinforcements. Using observational approach, the children would be helped to observe how other people interact with feared or unknown stimulus while relaxed, and in turn learn to do the same (Bilsen et al., 1995). In solving behavior and mental-related issues, cognitive approaches shall be applied. Utilizing cognitive and behavioral approaches would help the child cope with aggression, peer interaction, family relationships and academic difficulties.

Cognitive Rehabilitation Strategies

Behavioral studies have noted the tendency of children with manipulative behaviors or emotional disturbances to exhibit poor coping strategies. Various cognitive strategies are effective in helping such children cope with aggression, familial relationships, academic difficulties, social skills and peer interactions (Chan, 2015). These include self-talk or inner speech which help develop self-control by internalizing self-statements. Cognitive intervention is effective when used along with behavior therapy. For instance, a child engaging in physical fight when a peer makes fun of him or her would benefit from inner-speech approach that would help think about the situation. The cognitive intervention helps the child learn the art of generalizing and using newly learned behavior as opposed to depending on punishment procedures and eternal rewards. Expert modelling is crucial because children benefit from adults modeling on the use of self-talk through thinking aloud and handing emotions (Chan, 2015).

Socialization Rehabilitation Strategies

Social skills training (SST) is an effective training technique that counselors, instructors and educators use to help children with behavioral problems to relate well with their family, peers and aggression (Wilson, 2009). These children need training in interpersonal skills such as good eye contact, basic social signals, and subtle clues. It would help to train them in a group setting or one-on-one to establish desired cognitive skills linking to individual’s thoughts during decision making in diverse interactive situations. Developing one’s social skills would help them change specific social behaviors to boost their self-esteem, influence good academic performance, encourage positive family relationships, and eliminate aggressive behavior.

References:

Bilsen, H. P. J. G., Kendall, P. C., Slavenburg, J. H., & International Conference on Cognitive Behavior Therapies and Applied Behavior Analysis with Children and Adults: Challenges for the Next Century. (1995). Behavioral approaches for children and adolescents: Challenges for the next century. New York: Plenum Press.
Chan, F. (2015). Counseling theories and techniques for rehabilitation and mental health professionals. New York, NY : Springer Pub. Company

Wilson, B. A. (2009). Neuropsychological rehabilitation: Theory, models, therapy and outcome. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.