Change Behavior; Change a Life

Change Behavior; Change a Life

Creating and sustaining positive change


James D. Sutton, EdD, Consulting Psychologist

(830) 569-3586

Program Focus:

This program is designed to assist educators, counselors, social workers, foster parents and caregivers to work more effectively with the child or teen whose serious behaviors are so resistant to change as to seem unstoppable. This training will focus on the circumstances and issues behind troubling behavior, and it will offer doable, best-practice strategies for redirection and intervention.


Participant Benefits:

–A deeper understanding of behaviors that can be so puzzling and frustrating

–The ability to develop an approach that can address serious behaviors effectively

–The satisfaction of experiencing the growth of happier, healthier youngsters as troubling behaviors are redirected


Needs Addressed by this Program:

Jimmy is about to set a new record for discipline referrals, as his latest victim heads to the school nurse with bruises and a chipped tooth. So much for his understanding of the consequences should he hit or shove anyone ever again. In this case, “ever again” barely made it through the morning.

It’s not that Jimmy doesn’tunderstand the rules and consequences; he can quote them chapter and verse. He operates from a position that trumps rules and consequences: SURVIVAL.

Jimmy seems stuck in an emotionally dark basement. He can’t see a way out. In moments of perceived threat and panic, Jimmy, and others like him, switch from thinking in words to thinking in images, and the pictures aren’t good ones. Since images move so much more quickly than words, Jimmy is way ahead of us durning the most challenging moments.

Program Description:

Intervention and change with children and teens like Jimmy involve a proactive and systematic plan for bringing them out of the basement and into fresher air. How we accomplish this matters a great deal. It means helping them feel  safe enough that their bad pictures slow down and fade as we help them take baby steps toward mastery of frustration and feelings in ways we can understand, validate and support. This program of training accomplishes this.

Good, effective intervention is critical, but the most important thing we can accomplish in creating change in youngsters like Jimmy is to see it gets started first in us, the adults.

The Presenter:

Dr. James Sutton, a nationally recognized psychologist and former Special Education teacher, has been studying and researching oppositional and defiant behavior and best-practice interventions since before we had the term “Oppositional Defiant Disorder.” His books on the subject include, If My Kid’s So Nice, Why’s He Driving ME Crazy?, What Parents Need to Know About ODD, 60 Ways to Reach a Difficult and Defiant Child, 101 Ways to Make Your Classroom Special (a bestseller written for teachers), and his newest book, The Changing Behavior Book: A Fresh Approach to the Difficult Child.

As an accomplished speaker and trainer, Dr. Sutton keeps his audiences engaged as he helps them become better informed and more empowered.

His credentials include:

Texas Psychologist License # 2790

Texas Professional Counselor License # 06979

Texas Licensed Specialist in School Psychology # 6154

Texas Education Agency certifications–see vita

Certified Speaking Professional

Program Objectives:

Through this workshop and materials, participants will be able to:

1. Understand how authentic change in a youngster’s behavior ALWAYS begins in the adults involved.

2. Consider how difficulties in the development of a child’s emotional “hardware” seriously can affect all areas of behavioral functioning.

3. Grasp the critical concept of Desperate Behavior that challenges conventional thought regarding intervention.

4. Distinguish the four characteristics that make difficult behavior tough to change.

5. Identify issues of dependency and expectations that can drain a youngster’s attempts at personal empowerment, thus fostering poor behavior.

6. Explore and Address twelve specific areas of skill deficiencies of the emotionally-challenged child or teen.

7. Realize why proactive intervention to difficult behavior is so effective, but a difficult “sell”.

8. Understand and Engage the relationship between perceiving and behaving as they combine to create the change of “becoming”.

9. Help a youngster understand, assess and internalize ways to better manage the most powerful of emotions: anger and fear.

10. Teach a simple but powerful and permanent skill for resolving conflict quickly and successfully.

11. Enable the youngster to better express his or her needs and concerns.

12. Encourage growth in the “self” skills of self-soothing, self-evaluation and self-correction.

Time-frame Formats:

This program is adaptable to either a breakout or half-day format. For maximum benefit and cost effectiveness, Dr. Sutton can combine this program with a keynote address such as “Don’t Lose Your Marbles; Give ‘Em Away!”