For much of the Book of Mormon, the Nephites were a people who were
followers of God and believed in the coming of Christ. The Zoramites
however had separated themselves from the Nephites and formed their own
city and their own religion that denied Christ. To further complicate
things, the Nephites worried that the Zoramites might join forces with
their enemies, the Lamanites. There may have been those who wanted to
use military might to ensure such an alliance never happened. However,
Alma decided to "try the virtue of the word of God."
Elder Boyd K. Packer taught that "True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior," and again, "The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior." (Little Children, Ensign, November 1986)
Behavioral therapy, discipline, goal setting, etc. all have their place. But the most important thing is to apply the word of God.