By Dylan Matthews
Originally published May 1, 2014
The program in question is called Becoming a Man (BAM), and was developed by the nonprofits Youth Guidance and World Sport Chicago for use in Chicago schools. BAM consists of weekly hour-long sessions with groups of no more than 15 high school boys (the average instructor-student ratio is 1 to 8). It's not therapy in the strictest of senses, but the overall approach is borrowed from cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which has overtaken more Freudian approaches in recent decades among practitioners and has a large research base demonstrating its effectiveness:
CBT is all about teaching meta-cognition: thinking about thinking. In a pure therapy setting, that means teaching patients to identify thought patterns that contribute to depression, anxiety, and so forth, so that they can work to replace them with healthier patterns. For example, a common negative thought pattern is catastrophizing, or exaggerating the importance of a short-term negative event in a way that causes undue distress and overreaction; if you've ever gotten a small piece of negative feedback from your boss and within a few minutes started worrying that you're about to get fired, that's catastrophizing in action.
The entire article is here.