Research-Based Model for Coercive Admissions

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IECA Conference Presentation: Alleviating the Perception of Coercion and Eliciting Autonomous Motivation During the Admission Process

On Friday, May 8th, 2015, our founder–Clinton J. Hardy–and Dr. Neal Christensen had the opportunity to present, Alleviating the Perception of Coercion and Eliciting Autonomous Motivation During the Admission Process, at the IECA (Independent Educational Consultants Association) Conference in Baltimore, MD.

We would especially like to express our gratitude to the educational consultants and program representatives who attended the presentation in Baltimore.  For those who were unable to attend, we have included a summary of it for your reference.

Drawing on research and well-established psychological theory, Clinton Hardy and Dr. Christensen addressed the following questions: (a) How do adolescents experience coercion during admission and what effect does this impose on the adolescent and therapeutic process? (b) What can IECs (independent educational consultants), programs, and transport do to alleviate the experience of coercion and foster autonomy (vs. control) during a coerced admission? Read More »

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Research Update: Recent Inquiry into Adolescents’ Perception of Negative Admission Pressures in Wilderness Therapy

Recent Inquiry into Adolescents’ Perception of Negative Admission Pressures in Wilderness Therapy

In April 2014, I concluded a one-year data collection project of 76 adolescents entering a wilderness therapy program in Utah. In order to increase the access of my findings, I have included the most…

Access and read full linkedin article here:

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A key underlying factor to an adolescent’s experience of the transport & admission process

As briefly discussed in this clip, the intentions of the parents and/or family members or rather how the adolescent perceives these intentions can impact an adolescent’s experience of the transport and admission process.  Some research has found that when individuals or adolescents believe parents and family members are making the decision for involuntary or coercive treatment out of love, or genuine concern for their child, the coerced adolescent, in turn, reports an overall better admission experience and reduced levels of perceived coercion…

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A couple key aspects of an adolescent transport…

The approach of an adolescent transport can either facilitate or obstruct the therapeutic or treatment process. Adolescent/teen transport techniques that employ respect and empathy tend to be conducive towards treatment whereas those tactics which include low levels of respect and reduced empathy tend to obstruct the overall therapeutic process.

Equally, the benefit of an adolescent transport for a troubled teen/adolescent and his or her family is contingent on the treatment program being both clinically appropriate for the adolescent and his or her specific issues and being reputable…

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Adolescent Transport Services also support community-based treatment programs

Although adolescent transport services are often associated with out-of-home therapeutic contexts, such as residential or wilderness therapy settings, adolescent transport services can also collaborate and work closely with community treatment resources and programs as well.  New Start Transports works with both community-based and residential treatment programs.


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An Adolescent Transport Should Better Prepare the Adolescent/Teen for Treatment

If an Adolescent is transported into a treatment settings, such as a wilderness program, therapeutic boarding school, or residential treatment center, he/she should arrive better prepared than when the transport first commenced.  In essence, even if an adolescent and his/her parents are in conflict regarding treatment, by the time the adolescent arrives at the treatment program–e.g., wilderness therapy, residential, or therapeutic boarding school or program–they should be better prepared and hopefully more open to the treatment process.   Most importantly, the adolescent/teen should feel that they were treated with respect during the entire transport process!  How the adolescent perceives they were treated during the admission process, which includes the transport, is essential to their subjective experience of the admission/transport process and likely their cooperativeness and openness to the treatment program…

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Differentiating Adolescent Transport Approaches from false stigmas

Per the advice and assessment of a licensed and experienced mental health clinician, such as a psychologist, youth advocate, or educational consultant, an adolescent transport can facilitate a safe and therapeutically conducive context for transitioning, between the home and treatment program–e.g., wilderness program, residential treatment center, therapeutic boarding school.  If the transport staff or mediators use a therapeutic approach, an adolescent transport can in many cases help to alleviate the anxiety and even perceptions of coercion and negative emotions that are embedded in the family context, both during and before the transport.  It is important to recognize that the parent-child or adolescent dynamic is already volatile and escalated well-before the transport begins or is even arranged.  Therefore, in many cases and under the proper advice of a qualified mental health professional or consultant an adolescent transport service arrives to intervene and mediate in a family context that is already extremely volatile or even in crisis.  By taking a therapeutic approach, properly trained and experienced staff can facilitate a safer and more therapeutically conducive transition to the program.

In essence, whether or not an adolescent transport is appropriate for a troubled teen or teen being placed in a treatment program should be determined by the mental health professional who is working directly with the family–parents and teen–and preferably residing in the same community or nearby.  If an adolescent transport is deemed appropriate for the teen, then the transport service should implement crisis intervention and therapeutic techniques that (according to research) are most conducive to the therapeutic process…

Please feel free to express your thoughts–positive or negative.

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The Coercive Myth of Adolescent Transports and Teen Treatment

In reality almost all adolescent treatment entails some degree of coercion—meaning adolescent is not choosing it on his/her own volition. The developmental research supports this and in fact has underscored that adolescence is a period where teens may overtly resist parental and other authority, even when they know or believe their parents may be right, or in the case of treatment that help is necessary. In sum, it may not be practical to expect adolescents, especially those beleaguered with behavioral and psychological problems, to enter treatment on their own or without outside sources of pressure, such as parents or other family members. Therefore, the issue isn’t so much of whether or not adolescents should be coerced into treatment but what approaches and tactics are ethical and conducive to the treatment process.

Perhaps of more importance, is a process of thorough assessment and evaluation, which can help to ensure the best approach and modalities are used for the particular adolescent and his/her presenting issues…

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Research Awareness Among Adolescent Transport & Youth Treatment Services is Essential

It is essential that any adolescent treatment service, especially an adolescent or youth transport service, to be aware of the research that pertains to the populations of adolescents, teens, and in some cases adults, they are providing therapeutic services. Transport and treatment services should also be familiar with the research as it pertains directly to the modality or approach they use during the admission process. For example, different approaches engender different emotional and perceptual reactions from those being coerced into treatment. If an adolescent perceives the process as fair and respectful they are much less likely to perceive coercion and experience negative emotions, even if the adolescent is entering the program involuntarily…

Please respond with any questions or comments.

Posted in Research, Residential Programs, Therapeutic Transport, Treatment Coercion, Video Blog, Wilderness Programs | Leave a comment
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