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In Parenting Young Children, Dr. Edward R. Christophersen demonstrates his approach to teaching parenting skills within the context of therapy. Dr. Christophersen's behavioral approach is to show parents effective ways for managing children's behavior and to help children learn to change their own behavior.
In this session, Dr. Christophersen works with a young single mother and her toddler son, first assessing their relationship and then teaching good child–parent interaction through modeling and instruction.
This approach uses behavioral psychology to train parents. The goal is to show parents more effective strategies for managing their child's behavior and to teach children skills that reduce the need for discipline.
Some key strategies in this approach include
in vivo demonstration of procedures with the child in the presence of the parent
model of the use of "time-in" and "time-out"
instruction in effective child-rearing strategies
This approach is highly successful with both intact families with concerns about their child's behavior and families experiencing minor to moderate behavior problems with their children.
Initially, a reasonable assessment should be conducted to rule out more serious conditions such as autistic spectrum disorder and developmental delays. This can be accomplished using multiple measures with multiple informants including an interview with the child, a family history, and two forms (parent, teacher, or day care) of a standardized rating scale. The next step is to ascertain what changes the parent(s) would like to see and to discuss and clarify the goals of therapy. Lastly, the therapist and parent(s) agree on a starting point and begin therapy.
In this session, the Rating Scales (BASC) were completed prior to the interview and identified the child as appropriate for this type of intervention. The initial interview further substantiated the appropriateness of this parent–child dyad for this type of therapy. While conducting the interview with the mother, Dr. Christophersen modeled how to implement time-in with her child. He encouraged the mother to use the procedures and feedback provided to continue with the therapy.
Dr. Christophersen phoned the mother twice after the videotaping to identify and discuss any questions she had about his recommendations. The mother indicated considerable satisfaction with the results of her early efforts with her child.
About the Therapist
Edward R. Christophersen, PhD, is a staff psychologist at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City and a professor of pediatrics at the University of Missouri at Kansas City School of Medicine. He received his PhD in developmental and child psychology from the University of Kansas in 1970.
He focuses his research on behavioral pediatrics with an emphasis on documenting empirically supported validated treatment procedures (ESTs); increasing cost efficiency; injury control; training interns and postdoctoral fellows in clinical child psychology, pediatric residents, psychiatry fellows, medical students, and family practice residents.
Dr. Christophersen is certified in clinical psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology. In 1988 he was elected honorary fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for his unique and substantial contributions to child health. In 2001 he received the Dale Richmond Award from the AAP.
Dr. Christophersen is a fellow of Division 12 (Society of Clinical Psychology) of the American Psychological Association (APA).
He is the author of several books, including Treatments That Work With Children: Empirically Supported Strategies for Managing Childhood Problems (with S. L. Mortweet; APA, 2001) and Parenting That Works: Building Skills That Last a Lifetime (with S. L. Mortweet; APA, 2003).
He has appeared on over 300 television and radio interviews, has been quoted in over 180 print interviews, and is an accomplished lecturer throughout most of North America.
Christophersen, E. R. (1994). Pediatric compliance: A guide for the primary care physician. New York: Plenum Press.
Christophersen, E. R., & Mortweet, S. L. (2001). Treatments that work with children: Empirically supported strategies for managing childhood problems. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Christophersen, E. R., & Mortweet, S. L. (2003). Parenting that works: Building skills that last a lifetime. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.