A youth might, initially, be bitterly afraid, resistant, rebellious, and perhaps even outright hostile. What they believe will help can only harm them further. Drugs, violence, and crime of any kind are just some forms in which their belief in their guilt manifests itself. Each manifestation leads to increased isolation and separation and hence additional evidence, and justification, for their view of themselves and their place in society.
It is in the moment that the staff does not judge the youth that healing begins to occur. It is in the freedom experienced by the youths, to discuss and jointly process any fear, explore any belief, without judgment that true release of the past comes about.
Essentially, all healing is release from the past and what the youth has made the past to represent. Having released the past, the youth no longer feels compelled to project the past onto the future.
This psycho-spiritual model does not provide anger management in a traditional sense, but rather a re-interpretation of what anger actually stands for. This allows the youth to examine anger in all its forms without fear of judgment or retaliation.
Each graduating youth has incorporated the follwing principles into their thinking:
- I am responsible for the world I see.
- I chose the feelings I experience.
- I decide the goal I will acheive
- I am the author of my experience.