What is behavior therapy and parent training exactly?
Behavior therapy is a series of techniques to improve parenting skills and a child’s behavior. It is often recommended to parents with young children who are showing signs of oppositional or disruptive behavior at home. If you feel things at home are out of control and you could use a different approach, this may be the one. It is also a useful intervention for children with ADHD (or suspected ADHD). Behavior therapy receives a lot of praise from professionals, and rightfully so. Research studies continue to support that behavior therapy works better than placebo (and other alternative approaches such as "brain-training", biofeedback). We commonly use techniques from Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT).
Behavior therapy is actually a form of a term called "parent training". We don't mean we are going to "train" parents, but rather provide them with stronger set of tools to handle misbehavior at home. We do this by educating parents about common mistakes or traps they might be falling into and how to reverse them. We discuss positive reinforcement and punishment, how to balance this approach, and regain control. Parents will get concrete strategies to try and then discuss the following session about what did or did not work, and what needs to be addressed further. Temper tantrums, defiance, repeating yourself, yelling...if this all sounds familiar, you may want to call us to discuss if behavior therapy is right for you and your child.
Is my child involved too or just me? Initially, parents attend sessions to get the information needed to start applying the strategies discussed. The child can also be part of later sessions and even individual sessions as well, so that the therapist can get his/her perspective and insight. The child is a big focus, and his/her input is key.
Does my child need a diagnosis to participate in behavior therapy? No. We are working on behaviors that are very common and treatable, if you know how. It is not as important at the moment what we call it, we are concerned with improving his/her behavior. Following the steps by your therapist in behavior therapy will likely yield improvement. If more intervention is needed, we can discuss this as well.
What ages is this for? We can provide assistance for parents of young toddlers to adolescents. Our methods used will vary depending on the age of your child. It is also not limited to children. We conduct behavior therapy and parent training for families with adolescents.
Do you work with teens? We work with parents and teenagers as well. Our approach will differ because your teen is older and a different set of tools is needed to get things back in control, but yes, we commonly work with teens.