Date: January 3, 2002 "For Immediate Release"
To: News Media
From: Sheriff Lawrence W. Crow, Jr.
Media Contact:

Aaron Flint, (863) 534-6377 or 502-8262 pager

PCSO Jail Program Teaches Inmates to Think About Their Thinking

The Polk County Sheriff's Office Department of Detention allows inmates to take part in a therapy that teaches them how to think rationally. 

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is a cognitive based therapeutic intervention that focuses on how a person thinks about a particular situation. If a person, in this case an inmate, has a rational view of a situation, then he is more likely to behave in an appropriate manner. However, if an inmate views things negatively, inaccurately, and irrationally about a situation, his behavior will likely be consistent with his thinking. 

While in REBT, inmates are taught to challenge their own thoughts and beliefs about situations or events. By challenging their thoughts, inmates may actually lead themselves to have new thoughts or beliefs, which in turn alters their behavior for the better. The therapy teaches inmates to consider the situation or event, the thinking or irrational beliefs about the experience, the behavior or unsettling consequences, disputing or challenging irrational ideas, and new emotional consequences and behaviors. 

According to Correctional Medical Services Mental Health Counselor Ed Samaro, REBT instructor, “Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy is basically thinking about your thinking.” Inmates that learn REBT are taught to identify their irrational beliefs, dispute these beliefs, and move on to rational beliefs that will typically allow them to change their behavior. Inmates who take part in the voluntary program are given literature and discuss situations in weekly meetings. During the weekly meetings, Samaro discusses REBT and goes over various scenarios and how a person thinking rationally would handle a particular situation. 

The REBT group meets at the South County Jail every Thursday at 1:30 p.m. Sessions usually last until 3 p.m. 

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