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The EQUIP Program: Helping Youth To See-Really See-The Other Person

NCJ Number
Reclaiming Children and Youth Issue: 17 Dated: 2008 Pages: 35-38
John C. Gibbs; Granville Bud Potter; Ann-Marie DiBiase; Renee S. Devlin
Date Published
4 pages
This article reviews the history and updates of the EQUIP Program, a Positive Peer Culture (PPC) cognitive behavioral intervention program for behaviorally at-risk Youth.
EQUIP uses a combined approach. The first goal is the cultivation of a positive peer culture through the mutual help meetings in which group members are guided in helping one another. The mutual help session do not stand alone, however. The youth need cognitive behavioral skills or tool to help one another and themselves in developing responsible thought and behavior. After a few weeks, EQUIP groups begin "equipment" meetings, through which they become not only motivated but also equipped to help others by cultivating maturity in moral judgment, anger management, and skills in social interaction. Since its introduction in the early 1990s, the EQUIP Program has been adapted and implemented at various facilities and institutions in North America, Europe, and Australia. EQUIP can be strengthened by integration with programs that emphasize even more intensive and extensive modes of social analysis and development. One technique used with violent offenders involves a youth re-enacting his/her crime, first as perpetrator and then as the victim. Efforts are designed to erode a participant's psychological defenses, so as to have an empathetic perspective toward emotional and physical injuries to others. Variations of EQUIP have achieved substantial recidivism reductions. Youths who present anti-social behavior require such group programs that guide youth in both examining how their behaviors and attitudes affect others and experience the satisfaction of helping instead of hurting others. 15 references