Parents, Teachers, and Therapists Using Child-Directed Play Therapy and Coaching Skills to Promote Children's Social and Emotional Competence and Build Positive Relationships

If left untreated, early-onset conduct problems (e.g., high rates of aggression, noncompliance, oppositional behaviors, emotional dysregulation) place children at high risk of recurring social and emotional problems, underachievement, school dropout, and eventual delinquency. The development of emotional self-regulation and social competence in the early years plays a critical role in shaping the ways in which children think, learn, react to challenges, and develop relationships throughout their lives. Thus, early intervention efforts designed to assist parent, teachers, and child therapists to promote children's optimal social and emotional competencies and reduce behavior problems can help lay a positive foundation and put children on a trajectory for future success.

The Incredible Years (IY): Parents, Teachers, and Children Training Series is a set of three separate but interlocking evidence-based programs designed to prevent and treat conduct problems and promote social and emotional competence in young children.

In this chapter, we focus on describing the child-directed play interaction and coaching sections of each of the three IY programs, describing their rationale, theories, and practical uses and how we adjust our approaches to meet the particular developmental needs of each child and family.

Read the chapter (PDF)

Webster-Stratton, C., & Reid, J. M. (2009). Parents, teachers and therapists using the child-directed play therapy and coaching skills to promote children's social and emotional competence and to build positive relationships.  In C. E. Schaefer (Ed.), Play Therapy for Preschool Children (pp. 245-273). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.