Behavioral Parent Training (BPT)

BPT (sometimes called parent management training  [PMT] or behavior therapy) is an evidence-based treatment approach for children engaging in significant disruptive, noncompliant, and/or aggressive behaviors. BPT is the only treatment considered to be “well established” and is recommended to be the first line of treatment for these situations due to its high levels of effectiveness. BPT is intended to help parents modify their own behaviors to evoke behavioral changes in their children. According to the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT), “Parent training represents a therapeutic approach in which parents are taught how to increase desirable child behavior, reduce children’s misbehavior, improve parent-child interactions, and bring about a positive family atmosphere.”

We’re often asked why parents are heavily involved in treatment for these presenting issues. It is very uncommon for misbehaving children to attend his or her own therapy session, understand and remember suggestions for more prosocial, adaptive behaviors, and then maintain motivation to utilize these strategies when feeling intense negative emotions outside of the office setting. Because children often don’t have their own internal motivation for making long-lasting, positive behavioral changes, parents are a necessary part of treatment to motivate their children to make better behavioral choices. Other forms of therapy that only require the child’s presence have much less scientific support and are often much less effective.

BPT is highly effective for the following concerns:

  • ADHD
  • Aggression
  • Anger
  • Attentional issues
  • Behavior issues
  • Defiance
  • Hyperactivity
  • Impulsive behaviors
  • Irritability
  • Noncompliance
  • Parent-child conflict
  • Parenting struggles
  • School refusal

Here is a link describing evidence-based treatments for different mental health issues (you can also search by diagnosis to learn about specific recommended treatments):