Why Use AF-CBT?
The diversity of individual problems and family circumstances associated with behavior disorders and exposure to ongoing physical discipline/punishment or a history of child physical abuse may, at times, warrant the use of a comprehensive treatment approach that targets both the contributors to behavior and children’s subsequent behavioral and emotional adjustment. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) methods have effectively targeted these two general domains. Many of the initial methods incorporated in AF-CBT have been found efficacious in outcome studies conducted with various populations of parents, children, and families over the past three decades (see Chalk & King, 1998; Kolko, 2002).
The techniques that make up AF-CBT aim to:
- Strengthen positive parenting practices
- Improve family cohesion/communication
- Enhance children’s coping and social skills
- Promote healthy family functioning
- Prevent further instances of coercion and aggression
Families involved in AF-CBT have participated with high attendance rates and reported high consumer satisfaction with this approach. For example, weekly ratings of parents’ use of physical discipline, force, and anger problems decreased significantly faster among families receiving CBT as compared with families receiving routine community services. In addition, children who received essential components of AF-CBT have shown significant reductions in aggression toward their parents and fewer behavior problems, while parents decreased their child abuse potential, psychological distress, and drug use. Families participating in AF-CBT together have reported significant increases in family cohesion.