Individuals may refer themselves. Social Services may refer individuals and also solicitors and the courts. It is usually best if the individual emerges at the latest about two weeks before the start of a course although we will, of course attempt to fit people in as quickly as possible.
Whenever possible a face-to-face interview is conducted. When feasible this takes place in the client’s own home, or nearby or at a mutually convenient place. A partner may be present or not, depending upon circumstances. This first meeting usually takes about one hour. If it is not possible to meet in the client’s home then “near the client” or at an interception point is arranged. When the face-to-face meeting is not possible then a telephone interview via Skype, Face-time Whats Ap etc is the next choice or the telephone. The interview goes through an application form.
Attendance at a course
Two facilitators lead each course. The group size is never more than 8 participants although there may additionally be facilitators present learning how to deliver the work.
The work is largely experiential i.e. it contains elements from which people learn by experience, and the development of their insight rather than by “absorbing verbal information”. In the vast majority of cases individuals are absolutely intrigued / fascinated by the work and become so involved in it, and with one another, that they rarely think of leaving. On occasions when someone cannot complete the second half of the work, mainly because of illness or sudden work commitments, virtually all will start again so that they can complete it. (This in in direct contrast to the Duluth work where upwards of 75% of men do not complete the work, either getting “pissed off” with the content or chucked off for “minimising and or denying their behaviours or blaming their female partners!)
We work in an intensive format. All of a 9 hour day. It provides a format that people can complete and take maximum learning from it. A minimum of time is wasted on transport to and from the venue, minimal time lost in work (and earning) potential, minimal costs and maximum opportunity for completion and minimum potential for facilitator non-availability. It is for these reasons that people have traveled the length and breadth of England Scotland and Wales to attend and people have also flown in from central European countries and indeed from Asia.
The intensive format also means that there is “no hiding place” – not that the vast majority of clients want to hide anyway. Our experience is that virtually all those that become engaged give the work their best shot.
Bringing about behaviour changes does not necessarily happen slowly. Despite the addictive elements of cigarettes and drugs and to some extent alcohol just think of the variety of ways that people change even their addiction supported behaviours! Once the right emotion is “touched” the changes can happen very quickly!
(Duluth style – “Respect accredited” projects – an alternative work to ours is really focused on “interruption” and “intervention” – i.e. coming between and separating. They seek to bring about change mainly via a “supervision” model. That model failed as IDAP, a Probation service accredited model; it has very little chance of succeeding as a community based model, as can be witnessed by the sheer lack of currently accredited projects! Where there have been 24,26,28 accredited projects in the past there are no 10 or 12. )
Upon completing the work we will write an individual a certificate of completion. We will also write detailed reports of what has been learnt and of the individual’s engagement. The cost of a report lies between £75 and £175 depending upon the complexity. We charge Social Services £380 for such a report.
An outline of the process we are following:
We describe them as “threads”. Whenever possible the 3 threads are presented together. If “understanding” equals cognition and “behaviour” equals “behaviour” and out work is therapeutically informed you could say that we are delivering CBT (Cogntive Behavioural Therapy). We aren’t! Because the major component is the “emotional thread”, and that thread is very largely still missing from CBT. Although practitioners are trying to improve their practice by including “emotions” and some are no doubt succeeding – for all too many they are focussed on thoughts (cognitions) driving behaviours without having digested LeDoux’s 1996 research which says that emotion drives behaviours and also provides the lense on which thoughts are based.
The Development of empathy
From the 3 strands in the above diagram the development of empathy is assessed as the high point of emotional developments. The psychologist Paul Ekman broke down the concept of empathy into the three categories:
1 Cognitive empathy the ability to understand how a person feels and what they might be thinking. – we could describe this as communicating effectively .
2 Emotional empathy which could be described as affective – i.e. affecting the emotions (of both people involved in the communication.)
3 Compassionate empathy (aka. empathic concern) which would “move” us to take action, to help however we can.