Violence prevention, education and intervention for youth, young adults, families and community organizations

Heal a Woman, Heal a Nation

Heal a Woman, Heal a Nation

Thinking for a Change (T4C) is an integrated, cognitive behavior change program for offenders that includes cognitive restructuring, social skills development, and development of problem solving skills. MIC makes available the T4C offender program materials plus a curriculum for training program facilitators. MIC also can assist agencies in training staff to facilitate the program.T4C is designed for delivery to small groups in 22 lessons and can be expanded on to meet the needs of specific participant group. The curriculum was developed by Barry Glick, Ph.D., Jack Bush, Ph.D., and Juliana Taymans, Ph.D., in cooperation with the National Institute of Corrections.The T4C program is used in prisons, jails, community corrections, probation, and parole supervision settings. Participants include adults and juveniles, males and females. More than 6,000 correctional staff has been trained as T4C group facilitators. More than 300 trainers in 30- plus agencies are preparing additional staff to facilitate the program with offenders.  Correctional agencies can consider Thinking for a Change as one option in a continuum of interventions to address the cognitive, social, and emotional needs of their offender populations.

Thinking for A Change is a cognitive-behavioral program, governed by a simple, straightforward principle -thinking (internal behavior) controls actions (external behavior). Therefore, it is necessary to target offenders’ thinking in order to change their actions that lead to criminal conduct. Thinking for A Change is appropriate for a wide range of offenders. Some offenders engage in criminal conduct because they are under socialized, lacking a repertoire of pro-socially acceptable responses to their daily lives. This often takes the form of aggressive acts but can also be manifested in withdrawn behaviors, or other anti-social behaviors such as those associated with drug and alcohol abuse. Other offenders engage in planned and deliberate criminal acts supported by strong antisocial attitudes and beliefs. Their way of thinking supports and justifies the serious offenses they commit. Behavior change cannot take place for these individuals until they become aware of their thinking and see a reason to change.  Cognitive Behavior theories whether they be Cognitive Restructuring (e.g., Ellis, Meichenbaum) or Social Learning (Bandura) view individuals’ maladaptive behaviors as learned. For many offenders these learned antisocial thoughts and actions become the central means by which they cope with life. Strong internal reinforcers such as feelings of excitement, pleasure and power offering immediate gratification maintain these behaviors. Thinking for A Change uses a combination of approaches to increase offenders’ awareness of self and others. This deepened attentiveness to attitudes, beliefs and thinking patterns is combined with explicit teaching of interpersonal skills relevant to offenders’ present and future needs.

The program was developed to be appropriate for a wide range of offender groups. It has been used with juvenile and adult offenders. It has been implemented in all phases of the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems including pre-incarceration (Probation), in prisons and jails, as well as in community (Aftercare and Parole). The format of Thinking for A Change is designed so that sessions are accessible and meaningful for offenders of varying social, emotional and intellectual/academic abilities. The self-insight and interpersonal skills offenders learn in Thinking for A Change are also applicable to other treatment programs, either provided simultaneously or consecutively with Thinking for a

For more information about Thinking for a Change, contact Mothers in Charge.