Forensic psychology student Londyn Swann launches innovative program at practicum site

Alternatives to Criminal Thinking provides mental healing to young jail inmates

My name is Londyn Swann. I am a PsyD student in the Clinical Psychology program here at Spalding University. Throughout my education I started to learn that there’s another way to view corrections. You can view it from more of a rehabilitative side.

So how Alternatives to Criminal Thinking (ACT) developed actually started in the classroom. We were given a project to do a group proposal. Basically like, “What would you do if you had your own career or your own practicum?” and I came up with this idea of a criminal thinking and relapse prevention program designed for young adults. Basically what that means is, we’re taking folks who are typically at a high risk of reoffending, and we’re trying to stop that in its tracks by bringing them therapy services, cognitive behavioral therapy treatment, in a group setting. It’s really a holistic program. We’re really trying to just do this wrap around service so that way they don’t come back, and we mean that in the nicest way possible.

It went from a project that was on paper and then it finally came to life when I went to my practicum site. I emailed it to my supervisor and said hey you know this is something I came up with in the classroom what do you think, and things started unfolding really rapidly. She has an entire dorm dedicated to my guys. Correctional staff are referring to the dorm as the ACT dorm, and it just seemed to kind of unfold overnight.

How I felt when I first started the program, I felt anxious a bit over my head I guess you could say, but now I walk in and that sense of imposter syndrome is more on the back burner. I am starting to feel more and more like a professional field.

It’s so rewarding. I don’t think that many of us as students get to truly see like our hard work come to fruition until we’re doctors in the field. Even then wins are rare especially in forensics, but being able to walk in and just see the gradual growth and development of these young men… It’s huge. It’s moving.

What I brought back to the classroom I think is this really cool story to share with my cohort. It has inspired a lot of people, in a lot of ways, to kind of pursue these projects a little bit differently, that they can be a springboard for really awesome opportunities in their future careers, as well.

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