A Better Way: Social Responsibility Therapy (SRT)
A Better Way was designed to teach social responsibly skills and anger and conflict management strategies to youth 12 – 18 years of age who are involved in the juvenile justice system. Recently, we have opened our doors to service the Diversion Program and several schools within the Philadelphia region.
Youth who are referred, are assigned to small groups, divided by age. Most trainings are conducted after-school and delivered by instructors who have been trained and certified in effective anger and conflict management. Trainers facilitate from an Evidence Based Curriculum called Social Responsibility Therapy (SRT.) This Evidence Based Curriculum utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as the primary agent of change and utilizes class dynamics to create a positive peer culture that supports each student to develop positive behavior and character. Additionally, A Better Way utilizes the Sanctuary Model of Trauma-Informed Care to help youth with issues of chronic adversity, loss and trauma. An important component of the Sanctuary Model is the problem-solving framework of S.E.L.F., which stands for the four categories; Safety, Emotions, Loss and Future. Each participant receives, and is responsible for completing a workbook entitled Power Source, created by the Lionheart Foundation. The workbook serves as a tangible document that can be shown to probation officers/or Family Court judges to confirm the participants’ competency. Upon successful completion of the training program, a certificate of competency in Social Responsibility Therapy is issued to each participant.
Through group learning principles, positive face-to-face interactions, trust building exercises, role-playing and group discussions, participants will develop skills to help implement alternative ways of dealing with conflict and violence. Participants will also examine the role conflict plays in their lives and the purpose it serves for them. A Better Way will challenge the concept of conflict as a vehicle for anger and present it as a resource for change.
The A Better Way Program started in July of 1999. The original concept was designed to serve 100 students per year, teaching youth conflict management strategies after school hours. The A Better Way Program initially only served youth who had been arrested for minor charges and who had assigned probation officers. Typically, there are ten 1.5 hour long sessions held at various community sites, providing youth with anger and conflict management life skills. Today, the Program continues to serve students throughout the area and the programming has been extended to offer its services to non-probationary youth and community schools.
- Youth do not have to be involved in the Juvenile Justice System
- Referrals can be made by probation officers, Family Court, social service providers, teachers, parents or administrators of programs who also serve this population
- Female and male youth 12-18 years old