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01-12-2014 | Uitgave 4/2014

Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review 4/2014

Extending Parent–Child Interaction Therapy for Early Childhood Internalizing Problems: New Advances for an Overlooked Population

Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review > Uitgave 4/2014
Aubrey L. Carpenter, Anthony C. Puliafico, Steven M. S. Kurtz, Donna B. Pincus, Jonathan S. Comer


Although efficacious psychological treatments for internalizing disorders are now well established for school-aged children, until recently there have regrettably been limited empirical efforts to clarify indicated psychological intervention methods for the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders presenting in early childhood. Young children lack many of the developmental capacities required to effectively participate in established treatments for mood and anxiety problems presenting in older children, making simple downward extensions of these treatments for the management of preschool internalizing problems misguided. In recent years, a number of research groups have successfully adapted and modified parent–child interaction therapy (PCIT), originally developed to treat externalizing problems in young children, to treat various early internalizing problems with a set of neighboring protocols. As in traditional PCIT, these extensions target child symptoms by directly reshaping parent–child interaction patterns associated with the maintenance of symptoms. The present review outlines this emerging set of novel PCIT adaptations and modifications for mood and anxiety problems in young children and reviews preliminary evidence supporting their use. Specifically, we cover (a) PCIT for early separation anxiety disorder; (b) the PCIT-CALM (Coaching Approach behavior and Leading by Modeling) Program for the full range of early anxiety disorders; (c) the group Turtle Program for behavioral inhibition; and (d) the PCIT-ED (Emotional Development) Program for preschool depression. In addition, emerging PCIT-related protocols in need of empirical attention—such as the PCIT-SM (selective mutism) Program for young children with SM—are also considered. Implications of these protocols are discussed with regard to their unique potential to address the clinical needs of young children with internalizing problems. Obstacles to broad dissemination are addressed, and we consider potential solutions, including modular treatment formats and innovative applications of technology.

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