“Re-education of Emotionally Disturbed Children,” or Project Re-ED was developed by Dr. Nicholas Hobbs. In this new paradigm for the treatment of children with severe emotional disturbance, Dr. Hobbs and his colleagues identified these twelve principles as the fundamentals of Re-ED:
- 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.
“The principles themselves seem…simple enough: that young people have a tremendous desire to learn and to do well; that their feelings are intrinsically valid and quite as important as their thinking; that destructive and self-defeating behavior must be faced; that young people can help each other sort things out and arrive at good choices; that the world is rich in things to learn; that life is to be savored at each moment; and that decent, caring adults are absolutely essential in the lives of children if those children are to grow up strong in body, quick of mind, generous in spirit”
— Nicholas Hobbs, 1982
The key to the success of the Re-Education approach are the teacher/counselors who are dedicated to supporting at risk youth as they develop new skills for .
“teacher/counselor… a decent adult; educated, well trained; able to give and receive affection, to live relaxed, and to be firm; a person with private resources for the nourishment and refreshment of his own life… a person of hope, quiet confidence, and joy; one who has committed themselves to children and to the proposition that children who are disturbed can be helped by the process of Re-EDucation.”
–Nicholas Hobbs, 1966