Non Violent Resistance (NVR) is an innovative systemic therapy, which has been developed to target aggressive, controlling, harmful and self-destructive behaviour in young people (Omer, 2001, 2004). We have been the first to use this approach in Britain (Jakob, 2006), and have adapted it to families involved with Social Services (Jakob, 2013) and for looked after children (Jakob, 2011).
In most cases, this intensive intervention lasts for approximately three to four months, though it may be necessary to provide longer interventions for multi-stressed families, looked-after children, and/or where there have been histories of child abuse and complex attachment insecurity. High efficacy and very low drop-out rates make this an efficient and cost-saving approach, which can prevent family breakdown or facilitate the rehabilitation of looked after children back into their families.
NVR is increasingly being used for anxiety disorders in hard to reach young people (Lebowitz & Omer, 2013). Approximately 30% of children and young people with avoidant problems do not engage sufficiently or cooperate in therapy. This group is especially at risk of serious self-harm over their life span; by working with the family environment and developing a support network around the family, it becomes possible to help these young people, even if they do not physically attend CAMHS.
A variety of other difficulties involving harmful behaviour, whether directed at others or oneself, are now being responded to effectively with methods drawn from NVR, including internet addiction, eating disorders, adult entitled dependency (often in conjunction with severe and enduring mental health problems), gang involvement, and domestic violence.
The work using nonviolent principles and methods spans family, community and school. Increasingly, projects support New Authority work in schools and in the community (Omer 2011).
Though this is an innovative approach which has been developed in the course of the past 15 years, NVR already has a growing evidence base, with 3 RCTs demonstrating its efficacy (Weinblatt & Omer, 2008; Ollefs et.al., 2009; Lavi-Levavi, 2010). A fourth RCT on NVR with looked after children is just been completed, showing very good results (van Holen, in preparation).