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Introducing Cognitive Skill-Building and Interactive Change Journals

Cass County Court & Pretrial Services, using funds awarded by the IOCS JPAR SIM Grant, along with Cass/ Pulaski Community Corrections, began using the Change Companies’ Interactive Change Journals as a way to expand cognitive restructuring interventions and implementation of core correctional practice. Interactive Journaling® is an evidence-based practice for motivating and guiding individuals toward positive life change.

This goal-directed, client-centered model helps participants modify their behavior as they progress through the stages of change (Prochaska & Prochaska, 2016).The focus of Interactive Journaling® is the participant Journal, which includes nonconfrontational questions intended to help participants think and then write about their behaviors. Questions guide participants in considering their motivations for change, exploring their options and developing a plan with target behavior-related goals and a timeline for achieving these goals.


Both agencies also began training staff on core correctional practices and implementing cognitive skill building interventions into routine supervision practices. Both programs' goals are to use skill-building to continue to shift supervision strategies from compliance-oriented to a focus on promoting and supporting behavior change utilizing a coaching model. Cognitive Interventions are “structured teaching opportunities to help clients recognize situations that may put them at high-risk for engaging in antisocial or undesirable behavior and develop skills to avoid and manage those situations in a prosocial way. (ICJIA).”

Utilizing Change Sheets from the Change Companies and BITS (Brief Intervention Tools) from the Carey Group, both agencies have a wide range of tools that including: Cost-Benefit Analysis, Thinking Reports, Behavior Checks, Decision Making, Overcoming Automatic Responses, Problem Solving, Thinking Traps, Overcoming Thinking Traps, Who I Spend Time With, Values Check,  Decisional Balance Exercises and more.

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