Youth Services Agency, (YSA)

MAB: A Trauma-Informed Approach to Behavior Management

Working with highly resistant teens and young adults is hard! Many programs rely on behavioural approaches that are designed to compel, rather than inspire change or  purely physical techniques to control client behavior. But these approaches fail to respect the dignity, individuality, and humanity of young people and don’t lead to lasting change. This kind of change does not last because it depends upon environmental factors that disappear once treatment is over. We seek internally motivated change—the kind that lasts a lifetime. YSA’s ACT program operates from the understanding that healing must come from the inside out, not the outside in.

YSA seeks the kind of internally motivated change that relies upon an alliance between the client and the team of Youth Mentors and other staff professionals. This kind of alliance requires staff that are creative, caring, authentically engaged, and well trained. Each of our Youth Mentors is trained in a trauma informed, strengths based  method of behavioral support called MAB (Managing Aggressive Behavior). Don’t let the name fool you, the MAB program emphasizes PREVENTION and non-physical intervention strategies, and teaches non-pain producing physical intervention techniques to protect youth and staff alike.

MAB heavily emphasizes the importance of maintaining therapeutic interactions while youth are meeting behavioral expectations and during times of crisis. This allows us to assist the youth in the development of life long skills in preventing undesirable behavior. While still possible, the need for physical intervention is reduced based on MAB’s methods of prevention and de-escalation, blending. With a goal of eliminating restraints, we currently have multiple full time on site staff members who are NCRYS certified MAB trainers, allowing continual reinforcement of all MAB philosophies.