Breaking the Cycle of Violence

Breaking the Cycle of Violence

Violence, while it often demands our attention in the immediate, begins much earlier than it actually transpires. Often, it is the chain reaction of several incidents, each pushing the person closer to the edge of anger – and further from the very support systems than could possibly intervene.

Let me give you an example. Sam, a fifth grade student, whose parents have just divorced, begins having trouble in recess. He often seems irritable, fights easily with other children, and displays rigid and inflexible behavior. When his teacher attempts to intervene, Sam is inconsolable. Eventually he begins disrupting the class. After speaking with Sam’s parents – who both state that the “other parent” should have to deal with Sam’s behavior – Sam’s teacher decides to send him to a remedial class.

In the remedial class, Sam is exposed to many other angry kids, several who are more violent than he is. In an attempt to fit in, Sam begins to act like the other kids in his class and his behavior grows more aggressive. When he threatens a teacher, Sam is sent to the principal who decides to remove him from school altogether.

Now in an alternative school, Sam is labeled “dangerous,” and removed from many of the school’s extra-curricular activities. As time has progressed, Sam’s home life has gotten worse. Each time he gets in trouble, his parent sends him to the “other parent’s house,” telling him that unless he “shapes up” he won’t be allowed to return. Sam soon begins leaving home for long periods of time and starts hanging out with a gang. After a few months, he no longer attends school, and has had two brushes with the authorities.

For kids like Sam, the emergence of violence is only a matter of time. Yet Sam is not a violent kid, rather, he is caught in a cycle of violence. Through a collection of events, Sam’s needs went unnoticed, and as he felt more unheard, and less important, his behavior worsened. Instead of being offered support to manage his feelings and behavior, Sam was sent away, and even worse, exposed to more violence – the very thing he was sent away for. Reaching Sam now seems almost impossible.

Changing the behavior of kids like Sam would be much easier if the cycle that helped create it was identified when it first started. When trained clinicians can recognize the signs of violence early on, intervene to identify kids at risk, and reach out to help them through effective strategies to express their feelings and advocate for their needs – as oppose to sending them away – the cycle of violence could be broken. Kids like Sam would no longer be labeled violent and dangerous.

Related Online Continuing Education (CE) Courses:

How Children Become Violent is a 6-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that examines the cycle of youth violence and sexual offending and how this cycle can be broken. This course was written for professionals working in the mental health, child welfare, juvenile justice/criminal justice, and research fields, as well as students studying these fields. The authors’ goal is to make a case for the fact that juvenile and adult violence begins very early in life, and it is both preventable and treatable. The author draws on her 30 years of experience working in and researching violence to demonstrate that society must intervene early in the lives of children living in violent, neglectful, criminal, and substance-dependent families. This course provides information about the problems of violence — in its various forms of abuse, neglect, and just plain senseless killing — that takes place in this country. These are problems that are seldom handled well by governmental agencies of child welfare, juvenile justice, education, and mental health. This results in more problems, turning into a cycle of youth violence and sexual offending that will potentially continue for generations. However, with the correct intervention, this cycle can be broken, which creates a safer environment for all of society. Closeout Course #60-68 | 2006 | 136 pages | 36 posttest questions

Domestic Violence: Child Abuse and Intimate Partner Violence is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE) course intended to help healthcare professionals maintain a high state of vigilance and to be well prepared with immediate and appropriate responses when abuse is disclosed. Domestic violence, in the form of child abuse and intimate partner violence, remains a pervasive part of contemporary life in the U.S. Its effects are deep and far-reaching. This course will teach clinicians to detect abuse when they see it, screen for the particulars, and respond with definitive assistance in safety planning, community referrals, and individualized treatment plans. There is a special section on the complexity of an abuse victim’s decision about if and when to leave an abuser. This course meets the Domestic Violence license renewal requirement of all Florida licensees. Course #21-12 | 2016 | 42 pages | 15 posttest questions

Suicide Prevention: Evidence-Based Strategies is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course that reviews evidence-based research and offers strategies for screening, assessment, treatment, and prevention of suicide in both adolescents and adults. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. In 2015, 44,193 people killed themselves. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes, “Suicide is a serious but preventable public health problem that can have lasting harmful effects on individuals, families, and communities.” People who attempt suicide but do not die face potentially serious injury or disability, depending on the method used in the attempt. Depression and other mental health issues follow the suicide attempt. Family, friends, and coworkers are negatively affected by suicide. Shock, anger, guilt, and depression arise in the wake of this violent event. Even the community as a whole is affected by the loss of a productive member of society, lost wages not spent at local businesses, and medical costs. The CDC estimates that suicides result in over 44 billion dollars in work loss and medical costs. Prevention is key: reducing risk factors and promoting resilience. This course will provide a review of evidence-based studies so that healthcare professionals are informed on this complex subject. Information from the suicide prevention technical package from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be provided. Included also are strategies for screening and assessment, prevention considerations, methods of treatment, and resources for choosing evidence-based suicide prevention programs. Course #30-97 | 2017 | 60 pages | 20 posttest questions

Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Target Audience: PsychologistsCounselorsSocial WorkersMarriage & Family Therapist (MFTs)Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)Occupational Therapists (OTs)Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)School Psychologists, and Teachers

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