Behavioural Issues in Children: Past Treatment Practices and the Advantage of Incorporating Adventure and Challenge in Treatment Initiatves
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This thesis presents a discussion of children who do not follow societal expectations and social contracts and in turn do not meet society’s pre-established behavioural standards. This thesis illustrates common diagnoses and past popular treatment practices of children with extreme behaviour (CEB). Furthermore, this thesis explores the application of Adventure therapy (AT) (Ferguson, 1999; Schoel et al., 1989; Santostefano, 2004; Second International Adventure Therapy Conference, 2003) in the treatment of CEB. Popular psychological references (Brems, 2002; Breggin 2002; Paul 2000; Steiner, 1996, Maxmen & Ward 1995; DSM IV, 2000) offer a variety of current treatment methods for CEB. By exploring the main three childhood diagnoses (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder) and the wide spectrum of the various treatments of CEB, an analysis can be given to how to date CEB has been approached. This analytical look will then lead to possible explanations of CEB (Wade, 1997) and how potentially influential a harmful environment or lack of safety is to explaining childhood behaviour. AT will then be offered as a viable addition to approaching CEB, based on its focus of self-concept and social skills development. AT will be examined through a cognitive, behavioural and affective lens, to demonstrate its value as an approach when working with CEB. A detailed analysis of how AT can be applied to the development of self -concept and behavioural modification in children will be enhanced. This thesis will conclude by examining the limitations and obstacles that therapists practicing AT may face, as well as AT’s prospects for future development.