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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 70317 Find in a Library
Title: Ten Commandments - Or How the Therapist Can Avoid Delinquency
Journal: Journal of Adolescence  Volume:2  Dated:(1979)  Pages:297-306
Author(s): R Berry
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 10
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: Having treated delinquent females in a closed borstal in England for 12 years, the author has derived rules of therapeutic behavior which he expresses as the Ten Commandments.
Abstract: During his tenure at a correctional facility for delinquent females the author has interviewed 300 inmates and estimates that over 50 percent were eventually self-referred to the psychotherapeutic unit for therapy or informal counseling. The juveniles are committed to the borstal for crimes ranging from murder and manslaughter to assault and minor theft. In an atmosphere of abuse, defiance, hostility, self-injury, assault, and homosexuality, 'borstal thinking' becomes the chief mode of interpersonal transaction. It is a provocative and self-destructive response to humiliating situations, designed to show that the girl hasn't lost face, when in fact she has. This escalation of inappropriate and hostile behavior is due to a girl's lack of foresight and judgment and a need to show she doesn't care. Often the deprivation of parental care (real or imagined) results in unmet dependency needs, an underlying etiological factor in delinquency and personality disturbance. The commandments establish the therapists' duty to treat their patients in part by allowing their patients' dependency needs to be satisfied. The commandments require that the therapists be truthful even when truth may not be reassuring, to be attentive to attention-seekers at the right time and in the right way, and to be appropriate authority figures earning their patient's respect by acting as responsible adults willing to establish parameters for both physical and emotional security. Therapists can best help their patients by punishing them when appropriate and loving them at all times.
Index Term(s): Borstal; Counseling in correctional settings; England; Female status offenders; Juvenile correctional facilities; Juvenile counseling; Juvenile dependency and neglect; Juvenile status offenders
Note: Based on a lecture given at the 14th conference of APSA (Association for the Psychiatric Study of Adolescents), Southampton, England, July 1979
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