My goal for The Oaks Agency is to have one of the highest rates of success for clients in Texas. I have used the term evidence-based to define the type of interventions we will utilize. Evidence-based is an important term in world of social work and psychology but what exactly does that mean and why is it so important? I recently read the article Environments Where Children Thrive: The Circle of Courage Model which gave me a whole new perspective on evidence-based interventions.
A randomized control study is considered the standard by which evidence-based practice relies on. However, such studies only prove that the intervention works in a controlled environment and it may not be significantly more effective than other interventions. I want to use an intervention that works well in actual practice and not just in a controlled environment. The authors of the article cite examples where policy and practice such as the DSM psychiatric manual and juvenile justice programs make decisions that are not based on evidence. If policy makers do not use evidence-based data to make decisions why should we as professionals put such stock in them? I suggest that practice-based evidence (PBE) provides the most valid data for choosing effective interventions.
My professional experience has taught me that integrity, honesty, empathy, and positive relationships are very important for success when working with at-risk youth. The Circle of Courage Model incorporates those characteristics with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The Circle of Courage Model is compared to self-worth, Maslow’s Hierarchy and positive peer cultures in the following table
|Circle of Courage
||Positive Peer Cultures
(Brendtro et al, 2014)
Brendtro et al (2014) posit that Circle of Courage rebuild cultures of respect by “building trusting connections with caring adults and positive peers”, gaining knowledge, competence and capacity to solve problems”, improved self-control and decision making and “developing empathy and engaging youth in caring for others”. I believe that a program such as the Circle of Courage embodies all the things I hope to teach the youth spend time at The Oaks Agency boys home.
Brendtro, L. K., Brokenleg, M., & Bockern, S. V. (2014). Environments where children thrive: The circle of courage model. Reclaiming Children and Youth, 23(3), 10.