To better protect and heal children from trauma and its emotional impact

Our Trainings

Alternatives for Families: A Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (AF-CBT)

Dr. Elissa Brown, Executive Director of Child HELP Partnership, is a co-developer of Alternatives for Families: A Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (AF-CBT), an intervention for children exposed to family violence. AF-CBT (Kolko, Brown, Shaver, Baumann, & Hershell, 2011) is an intervention that began as a treatment for child physical abuse, but has broadened to include a range of verbal and physical aggression, and family conflict. AF-CBT was designed to address both the key risks for (e.g., coercive parenting practices, anger, hyperarousal, negative child attributions, family conflict) and clinical consequences of (for example, child aggression, poor interpersonal skills/functioning, emotional reactivity) exposure to family aggression, conflict, and coercion.

The facts

In a review of treatments for youth exposed to family violence, Vickerman and Margolin (2007) deemed AF-CBT to be “well-supported.” Kolko’s (1996a, 1996b) early clinical trial examined the two main components that have been integrated into AF-CBT (i.e. individual child and parent CBT and family therapy) and demonstrated significant reductions in caregivers’ use of physical force/discipline and anger problems compared to a routine community care up to one-year post-treatment. Compared to routine community care, AF-CBT also was associated with significantly greater improvements in children’s aggression and externalizing behaviors, caregiver’s psychological distress, and family conflict and cohesion. These improvements were maintained at follow-up (Kolko, 1996b). In an effectiveness study with fifty two families presenting with child physical abuse histories, Kolko, Iselin, and Gully (2011) evaluated the sustainability and clinical outcomes associated with AF-CBT components. They found that greater use of AF-CBT components was associated with greater decreases in child symptoms (i.e., externalizing behaviors, anxiety, and anger), and increases in adaptive behaviors and child safety. These findings were replicated by Kolko and colleagues (Kolko, Campo, Kelleher, & Cheng, 2010; Kolko et al., 2009) with behavior disordered youth in community, clinical, and medical settings.

How to schedule a training

Child HELP Partnership provides AF-CBT trainings throughout the year. Dr. Brown and Dr. Komal Sharma-Patel oversee the training process. Training includes: launch activities, a 2-day face-to-face learning session, consultation calls, and audiofile review of sessions. Space is limited; thus, pre-registration is required.

If you are interested in attending or have any questions, please contact us at 718-990-2367.