Ethical Issues In Residential Treatment

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Before coming to Boston University, I spent four years working in residential treatment. My time working there helped shape my understanding of psychopathology and why people act the way they do. I interacted with teenage girls from different backgrounds and with different emotional and behavior problems. I talked with these girls about their issues to get an understanding of why they think and behave the way they do. I also learned about the residents’ past experiences and started to make connections about how their pasts influenced their current struggles. By watching their progression through treatment, I also learned how people are able to change. Because of my time working in residential treatment, I believe that one develops problems …show more content…
The first decision is whether or not one actually wants to change. If somebody thinks that there is nothing wrong with him or her, then treatment or therapy will not be effective because the person will not put in any effort. I worked with a number of girls who thought they did not need to change because nothing was wrong with them. They liked stealing cars, using illegal drugs, or having sex with inappropriate men. When they discharged, these girls went right back to their old negative behaviors. On the other hand, girls who actually wanted to change and make a better life for themselves had a greater chance of being successful. They stayed away from negative friends, did not use drugs or alcohol, and found jobs or activities to keep themselves busy. The second decision a person has to make is whether or not one actually wants to deal with his or her trauma. Dealing with trauma can be scary because that means a person has to live through the negative experience again. In this case, learning and practicing new behaviors will not make much of a difference because the emotions and thoughts from the trauma are still there. One girl I worked with learned to manage her negative behaviors but did not truly work on having her father be in jail for molestation and having her mother choose drugs over her children. After being discharged, this girl went back to her old behaviors of running away and eventually wound back up in residential treatment. Another girl I worked with actually dealt with the emotions and thoughts of having an emotionally abusive dad as well as other negative family dynamics. Her self-harming behaviors dramatically decreased and she discharged successfully to her mother and continues to do well. By actually wanting to change and being willing to fully deal with trauma, an individual is able to more effectively cope with the

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