In the early 1960s Dr. Nicholas Hobbs was asked by the National Institute of Mental Health to develop a new paradigm for the treatment of children facing mental health challenges. What Hobbs and his colleagues developed was a dynamic, child and family centered approach which came to be known as “Re-education of Emotionally Disturbed Children,” or Project Re-ED.
When asked to capture the essence of Re-ED, Hobbs identified these twelve principles:
- Life is to be lived now, not in the past, and lived in the future only as a present challenge.
- Trust between the child and adult is essential, the foundation on which all other principles rest, the glue that holds teaching and learning together; the beginning point for re-education.
- Time is an ally, working on the side of growth in a period of development when life has a tremendous forward thrust.
- Competence makes a difference; children and adolescents should be helped to be good at something, and especially at schoolwork.
- Self-control can be taught and children and adolescents helped to manage their behavior without the development of psychodynamic insight; symptoms can and should be controlled by direct address, not necessarily by an uncovering therapy.
- The cognitive competence of children and adolescents can be considerably enhanced; they can be taught generic skills in the management of their lives as well as strategies for coping with the complex array of demands placed on them by family, school, community, or job; in other words, intelligence can be taught.
- Feelings should be nurtured, shared spontaneously, controlled when necessary, expressed when too long repressed, and explored with trusted others.
- The group is very important to young people; it can be a major source of instruction in growing up.
- Ceremony and ritual give order, stability, and confidence to troubled children and adolescents, whose lives are often in considerable disarray.
- The body is the armature of the self, the physical self around which the psychological self is constructed.
- Communities are important for young children and youth, but the uses and benefits of community must be experienced to be learned.
- In growing up, a child should know some JOY in each day, and look forward to some joyous event for the morrow.