Thinking For A Change
An Integrated Cognitive-Behavioral Intervention Curriculum
Charla Suggs
Thinking For A Change – T4C
Cognitive-Behavioral Intervention Curriculum
Product of the National Institute of Corrections
• Comprised of 25 lessons
• 5th Grade academic level
• Suitable for youthful & adult offenders
• Designed for small group formats
• Delivered via Team Facilitation
• Available in multiple languages
Cognitive-Behavioral Interventions
Primarily Educational
• Non-clinical
• Evidenced-Based
• Group or Individual
• Considered a viable option on a
continuum of interventions to
address the cognitive and
emotional needs of the offender
People do what makes sense to them based on their cognitive
structure & the habits they have developed
By taking charge of our thinking we can
take control of our lives.
T4C: A Cognitive-Behavioral Program
Psycho-Social-Educational Approach
Cognitive Restructuring
Cognitive Skills Training
Thinking Controls Behavior
Behavior Influences Thinking
To change a behavior, the
thinking behind that
behavior must change first
By practicing new behavior,
new thinking will eventually
align to support it
Aaron Beck
Albert Ellis
Stanton Samenow
Samuel Yochelson
Albert Bandura
Donald Meichenbaum
George Spivak
Myrna Shure
T4C Strategies to Build Cognitive & Behavioral
Didactic Instruction
• Group Discussions
• Thinking Reports
• Modeling
• Role Playing
• Varied Stimuli
• Repetition
• Conceptual Overlap
• Homework / Transfer of Training
• Appropriate Self Disclosure
• Pre & Post Testing
In a Group Context
Cognitive-behavioral group work combines the best of
behavioral therapy and cognitive therapy into one
broad-based, group intervention strategy
T4C operates on a learning principle that states: A
person’s behavior is comprised of his external AND
internal responses, and behavior is learned
*Furthermore, this principle maintains that
behaviors and cognitions alike can be
T4C is Integrated …
T4C is a skills-based, problem solving curriculum
embellished with cognitive restructuring and
cognitive skills development
T4C utilizes a group setting to equip participants
with the internal & external skills
necessary for change
Benefits of T4C’s Group Format
Group cohesion allows members to give
& receive feedback
Relationships formed in the group lend
support for positive change in thoughts
& behaviors
New behaviors can be effectively
Group members can “try on” new
behaviors before trying them
in the real world
New behaviors & new
cognitions can be
coached to make them
fully functional for
each participant
Thinking For A Change: 3 Components
Pay Attention to Our
Recognize the Risk
Use New Thinking
Social Skills
Problem Solving
Asking Questions
Giving Feedback
Knowing Your Feelings
Understanding Others’ Feelings
Making A Complaint
Responding to Anger
6 skills
Delivered in 9 lessons
Practical Application of T4C
Lessons are scripted & easy
to understand
The manual is easily
downloaded along with
accompanying slides
NIC allows reproduction of
the materials in whole or part
Facilitator Training, T4C
materials, and a pre-selected
group are the only
requirements to begin
A credentialing process is
underway to certify T4C
What does the research say?
One marker of effective interventions is their inclusion
of techniques that foster an offender’s thinking and
reasoning skills, their social comprehension, and
problem-solving skills. (Ross, Fabiano, & Ross, 1988)
all because…
A well-known risk factor for criminal behavior
is the lack of adequate interpersonal &
social problem-solving skills.
(Andrews & Bonta, 1994; Ross & Fabiano, 1985)
Research Findings
Over 500 validated research studies point to the
fact that CBI reduces recidivism by an average
of 15%. (Andrews, et. al., 1989)
CBI can be an extremely effective component of
relapse prevention strategies for substance
abusing offenders. (Carroll, 1996)
The empirical framework used in CBT & CBI is
ideal for developing more effective treatments
for co-occurring depression and substance use,
as these models can be easily combined with
other psychological treatments.
Research continued…
Principles of effective intervention suggest delivering
behaviorally based programs to offenders with a
higher likelihood of recidivism while focusing on
relevant criminogenic needs like antisocial attitudes,
values, and beliefs
Probation agencies that follow these aspects
report lower rates of recidivism
(Lowenkamp, Latessa, & Smith, 2006;
Taxman et al., 2006)
A Probe into T4C
100 male and 42 female probationers were examined
using a quasi-experimental design. Probationers who
completed T4C were matched with comparison groups
that either dropped out or were never assigned to T4C.
In this study, 33% fewer probationers who completed T4C
committed new offenses up to a year later; they had
significantly fewer probation violations as
well thus indicating a trend toward lower
recidivism for T4C completers.
(Golden, Gatchel, & Cahill, 2006)
A Subsequent Probe into T4C
In Tippecanoe County, Indiana another statistical difference
substantiated the benefits of T4C concerning treatment &
control groups.
Just more than 2 years following T4C, the treatment group
recidivated at a rate of 23% compared with 36% for the control
This supports the notion that a specific cognitive
behavioral curriculum that is readily available
to correctional agencies can work to reduce
T4C in North Carolina
For Corrections, it began with the CBI Task Force in 1997
Department of Corrections; Parole
Commission; TASC; Administrative
Office of the Courts
Through the Governor’s Crime
Commission funding was secured
to support education for staff as
well as technical assistance for
implementation sites
Various CBI curricula
have been used, but
T4C has been
utilized the
Community College HRD’s
T4C in North Carolina Now
Initiative not a strong as it once was …
Cumberland County Day Reporting Center utilizes T4C
with probationers and Adult Drug Treatment Court
20 Division of Prisons staff and 20 NC Community
College System Staff were trained to facilitate T4C
earlier this year; the status of these groups is
DART has opted for A NEW DIRECTION instead of T4C
There remains interest in T4C, &
a new buzz has been created by
the credentialing process
Local programs like Operation
Ceasefire in Fayetteville, NC
utilizes T4C individually and in
group formats
Coastal Horizons has expressed
interest in T4C
Thinking For A Change
This curriculum can fit most anywhere, and has built-in
pre/post testing for measurable results
For more information visit:
Andrews, D.A., & Bonta, J. (1994). The psychology of criminal conduct. Cincinatti, Ohio: Anderson Publishing Company.
Bush, J., Glick, B.,&Taymans, J. (1997). Thinking for a change. Longmont, Colorado: National Institute of Corrections, United States
Department of Justice.
Golden, L., Gatchel, R. J., & Cahill, M. (2006). Evaluating the effectiveness of the National Institute of Corrections' "Thinking for a
Change" program among probationers. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 43(2), 55-73. doi:10.1300/J076v43n0203
Hides, L., Samet, S., & Lubman, D. I. (2010). Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for the treatment of co-occurring depression and
substance use: Current evidence and directions for future research. Drug & Alcohol Review, 29(5), 508-517. doi:10.1111/j.14653362.2010.00207
Lowenkamp, C. T., Hubbard, D., Makarios, M. D., & Latessa, E. J. (2009). A quasi-experimental evaluation of Thinking For A Change:
A "real-world" application. Criminal Justice & Behavior, 36(2), 137-146. doi:10.1177/0093854808328230
Ross, R.R.,& Fabiano, E.A. (1985). Time to Think: A Cognitive Model of Delinquency prevention and offender rehabilitation. Ottawa:
Institute of Social Sciences and Arts.
Ross, R.R., Fabiano, E.A., & Ross, R.D. (1988). Rehabilitation through education: A
cognitive model for corrections. Journal of Correctional Education, 39 (2), 44-47.

Thinking For A Change An Integrated Cognitive …