To be a healer not a jailer: Implications for therapists in moving beyond punishment— Kenneth V. Hardy


I initially began to think critically about the issue of punishment when working with young children. The first thing I noticed was that in families where children received frequent and excessive punishment there were vivid effects on the child’s development. When I saw a child in therapy who I was told was sneaky, or manipulative, or lying in relation to routine matters, upon asking various questions what came to the fore was that often these children had very good reason to fear punishment, either from their parents or from others outside the family. I came to see how these children had developed coping strategies in response to the fear of punishment. Time and again, I saw how an over-reliance on punishment had created more problems than it had effectively addressed. I particularly noticed how the legacies of punishment became problematic for families as children reached adolescence.