The compassion program Chemla is a therapeutic-educational intervention program for parents who have difficulties parenting, designed mainly for physically and emotionally abusive parents. The goal of the program is to improve parenting skills and thereby end cases of child abuse.
The program is based on the compassion program founded in the United States by Steven Stosny, a clinical psychologist and domestic violence specialist. In the late 1990’s, A Home for Every Child and the Schusterman Family Foundation introduced this program in Israel as a parents’ treatment tool at the Schusterman Emergency Center in Jerusalem. It later expanded to other emergency centers nationwide and then to the social services departments in local authorities, and has been operating successfully for many years.
The program seeks to help its participants alter their violent and abusive behavior into positive behavior towards their family members, thereby ending cases of maltreatment and abuse of children or other family members. The goal is to improve parent-child bonding and relationships, to empower and rehabilitate parents, to promote benevolent parenting and parental responsibility, to ensure the children’s safety, normal development, and well-being and to prevent the removal of children from their home.
The program is a short-term group workshop operating once a week for three to four months. Each workshop includes a series of 12-16 group sessions guided by a team of skilled and professional instructors. The intervention tools are both educational and therapeutic. To educate – during the meetings, the parents are informed about child raising, child development and parenting. To treat – we practice emotional processing with the parents. This is a training course in essence involving exercises with and without the group; including written assignments given as homework. 30 minutes of each workshop are dedicated to small group practice.